Being an excellent wedding photographer requires more than just a knowledge of camera equipment and lighting. There are a lot of unique skills and tricks that a wedding photographer must learn and possess in order to create consistent high quality photos.
There are a lot of things happening on weddings days and lot of different subjects and moments that you are trying to capture. The bride stepping into her wedding dress, the rings on the invitation suite, the reception tablescapes and more! Photographing all these elements well while racing against the clock can be tricky and take some getting used to!
During my 6+ years as a wedding photography, I have picked up a few tricks that I find myself doing at every wedding I shoot. These adjustments are minor, but yield big results! It’s these kind of tweaks and attention to detail that can set you apart from the rest! Your brides (and her vendors!) will really appreciate this attention to detail in your photos!
So I thought I’d share a few of the tweaks and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years! These are really easy to apply and make a big different in the photos! Just keep reading and see for yourself!
The engagement ring is obviously an important detail to capture. The bride has been dreaming of the ring she’ll wear on her left hand for the rest of her life and the groom probably spent a few restless nights trying to pick the perfect one for his bride! Of course, you’ll want to capture it well and thoroughly when you’re photographing bridal details, but you should also take opportunities to highlight it in other photos throughout the day!
One way you can do that is by simply having the bride rotate her left hand toward you as she is putting on her earrings. This simple adjustment highlights her ring as well as the last moments before becoming a wife and adding a band to that finger! So as the bride is putting on her earrings, I’ll just say “Now rotate your left hand toward me so that your ring is staring right at me!” My brides always appreciate this attention to detail!
Couples normally put a lot of effort into designing the tables for their reception. The flatware, the centerpiece, the table numbers, etc. And when they envision how this comes together in their head, they’re probably not including things like salt and pepper shakers and sugar packets with the vision! So when you’re photographing the reception tables, take the time to remove those kind of items (salt and pepper shakers, sugar packets, butter, salad dressing, etc) and make sure everything is arranged and lined up properly (straighten silverware, fill gaps, etc).
This creates clean and professional photos that both your bride AND vendors will love! I actually had a wedding planner approach me as I was arranging and removing items on the table to tell me how much she appreciated that I took the time to do that!
Shooting a flat lay of the bouquet can be tricky. When you lay it down on the ground, sometimes it doesn’t lay nicely and the angle doesn’t do the bouquet justice. But this shot is an essential piece of a strong bridal details gallery.
When a florist designs a bouquet, they anticipate it being viewed at a 45 degree angle from above. Just envision the angle at which you would be viewing the bouquet when the bride is holding it. So when you photograph it on its own, you want to try to replicate that angle.
And you can do that by simply elevating the head of the bouquet so that it is rotated toward you. When I lay a bouquet flat on the ground like this, I’ll take an item like a jewelry box or bunched up towel and place it under the head of the bouquet. As you can see in the pictures below, the photo on the left shows more of the stems and less of the flowers as the bouquet is laying flat on the ground. But in the right photo, I put a perfume bottle under the head of the bouquet which rotated the flowers towards me creating a much more appealing photo!
I explain and demonstrate this trick (along with countless others like this!) in my bridal details course, The Bridal Details Photography System. If you struggle with bridal detail photos, you’ll definitely want to check it out and get on the waitlist for when the course is open for enrollment!
When photographing reception details, you’ll need both wide and tight shots. Wide shots of the space and tables will capture the setting and surroundings. But for important focal items, like the cake, it’s best to do tight shots with a long lens. This will highlight the cake by compressing and softening the background.
These cake photos where shot with an 85 and 1.8 which really makes the cake pop off the background! If these were shot with a 50 or 35, the cake might blend into the background and not be highlighted as well.
Mirrors are a very popular decor item at weddings. They are used for welcome signs, table assignments and more. They are lovely to look at, but sometimes tricky to photograph. Shooting these mirrors without seeing yourself in the mirror and keeping the writing legible requires some effort.
A good rule of thumb to follow when photographing mirrors is to stand to the side to keep yourself out of the shot (duh) and adjust your angle so that the mirror is filled with a solid and dark background. In the photos below, the left photo has both sky and grass in the mirror. The text that sits on top of the sky isn’t very legible since there isn’t much contrast between the text and the sky. In the photo on the right, I simply adjusted my angle so that the grass filled the mirror, making the text more legible!
So I hope you found these 5 tricks for better wedding day photos helpful! These kind of tweaks will impress both your brides and your vendors!
And be sure to check out my bridal details course, The Bridal Details Photography System, to see how you can take your bridal detail photos to the next level!
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