Tips and tutorials

Essential Wedding Photography Tips For Beginners

Wedding photography can be quite stressful, yet an important job for many photographers. Wedding photography can be fun, exciting and challenging. A wedding photographer has to capture the entire proceedings without making any unnecessary or too much noise. Moreover, they should not be in anyone’s way. It is very important to get exposure settings right, focus in the right place at the right time and not miss any important event. In this article, there are some tips for a standard church wedding photography. However, these tips can also be applied to garden weddings, beach weddings, and almost every other wedding shoot.

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Photo Credits: Doug Levy/500px

The key to success in almost every task is good preparation. The same goes for wedding photography. Before you attend the wedding, it is recommended to attend the trial with the bride, groom, and perhaps the wedding party. This will allow the photographer and others to practice. This way, you will be able to capture everything. You need to understand that there is no re-shoot at a wedding. Therefore, you should not halt the proceedings for anything.

Recommended Equipment and Settings for Wedding Photography

If you are attending an indoor wedding, you will need a speedlight with more than enough battery power for the actual ceremony. You will also need fast lenses for natural light shots in some dark places. One of the better options on the market is Canon’s “L” glass. Use it with F2.8 maximum aperture. Sometimes, it is preferred to use EF50mm 1.4 for dark places. However, you need to understand that such lenses give a shallow depth of field at maximum aperture. Some of the recommended equipment and settings are as follows:


Lenses – Usually, there is enough time to practice a couple of shoots during the actual service. Make it a point to try different lenses for all kinds of shots. Most of the time, mid-range zoom like 24-70 or 24-105 is the most flexible and versatile. They are even better with some full-frame cameras like 24mm. They can help take a wide shot for entire church interiors. When needing to take a shot in a dark place without flash, try 50mm at 1.4. This lens offers superb quality.

For candid shots or when you don’t want to get too close, use a 70-200mm lens or one in that focal length range. These lenses come in very handy for times when couples want to move right in the front of the church or there are some interesting people around the altar. Other interesting incidents in the congregation can also be clicked with these lenses. With these lenses, there is no need to go near anyone, but allows you to catch all the action.

Last but not the least, use an extreme wide angle like 16-35mm. This helps get the complete scene from above the choir area or back of the church.

Speedlights and Flashguns – If the venue does not have a low and bright ceiling, you will need direct flash. It’s a good idea to use a soft box or diffuser for such shots. They tend to soften the effect a bit. Similarly, if you have problems regarding bright sunlight, you can use speedlight. It’s practical and useful to have a small diffuser on the speedlight for best results.

Settings – When there’s a bright sun outside the church, you should keep ISO down to 100. On the other hand, when you are inside the church, ISO should be 800 or 1000. This way, if there is any noise, it can be reduced later with a good editing software. When shooting in a dynamic environment, where things change and people move quickly, you should switch to Shutter or TV priority. The shutter speed should also match the lens’ standard minimum needs.

For instance, a 50mm hand-held camera will need minimum shutter speed of 50th/sec. In the same way, 100mm lens will need 100th/sec and so on. This way, camera shake will not be a problem. You will be assured of superior quality even when the light changes or depth of field and aperture fluctuate.

In case light gets extremely bad aperture or light blinks and you are unable to shoot, you should slow the shutter speed. This will allow more light to pass through to the lens. You can also increase the ISO for the same purpose. This is one of the most important tips to use when you are shooting inside the church. You need to choose an optimum shutter speed and let the aperture set itself.

These simple steps and tips are just some starting and basic guidelines to wedding photography. The main key points remain which include being prepared, knowing the wishes of the bride and groom (specifically what kind of photographs they wish to have), being aware of the ceremony and the processes that follow. All these little things, when added, will ensure that you get the job done and get it done right.

About the Author

Nada Ljubinovic is both a content writer and amateur photographer based in Brisbane, Australia. Nada continues to develop and share her knowledge and understanding of photography elements, theory and equipment and enjoys sharing her interesting knowledge with others. Nada is often encouraged in her learning by a Darin Collison Photography, based in Melbourne Australia.

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One Comment

  1. My sister is going to be getting married in March, and she still needs to find a wedding photographer. I liked that you pointed out that we should check the type of equipment they are using. I didn’t realize that a 50mm lens might not take the best photos. So that is a good thing to be aware of.

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