A Few Tips for the Aspiring Wedding Photographer

Every photographer gets first wedding jitters. I still get excited being able to capture two people celebrating their love. Here are just a few tips to guide your success and professionalism as a wedding photographer.

* If you have never shot a wedding, I highly suggest assisting an experienced photographer or interning as a second shooter a few times before venturing to shoot one solo.

* Make sure you get any special shot requests in writing – do not trust your memory. I have a shot list I print after I add the bridal party’s names, as well.

* Dress professionally in dark dress slacks and dress shirt. No skirts, no matter the length, and no cleavage – and it amazes me that some female photographers disregard this advise. Wear comfortable shoes.

* Make sure you have a signed contract detailing the services and products you are providing, pricing and payment, and terms and conditions such as cancellations, exclusivity, image rights, etc.

* Bring backup equipment: camera body, lenses, memory cards, batteries.

* Make sure you are insured to cover any “ifs”. If a bride trips and breaks something or rips her dress because you told her to stand somewhere, if a guest trips over your bag, if something is stolen or lost or damaged, if you are in any way incapable of completing your job… you will be covered.

* Stay hydrated. Politely decline any beer or alcohol. I prefer to drink only water since juice stains if it’s spilled and soda makes me burp.

* If you shoot 5+ hours, take your break when the bride and groom are eating. They aren’t going to want photos of themselves chewing anyway. Don’t pile your plate – catered food is expensive. Many caterers offer “vendor plates” but be sure to bring this up before the big day. Another option is to pack a couple granola or protein bars. Eat quickly and quietly. Do not take a meal break if you are only shooting four hours or less.

* Eat breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day. And no one wants to hear your stomach growl during the first kiss.

Most importantly, be confident in your abilities, and that nervousness you feel will fade away.

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