The first wedding shoot. What to do and where to start?

wedding shoot

Wishing to find a photographer for their wedding, newlyweds often give preference to experienced masters with a rich portfolio. In this case, the quality of photos from this portfolio is of secondary importance. It is much more difficult for novice photographers to get an opportunity to shoot at a wedding, although it is often these masters who are full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas.


There is a stereotype that to shoot at a wedding is very honorable, and the photographer himself is considered, almost a professional after his first wedding shooting. In fact, there is nothing complicated and supernatural in this kind of shooting. And if you, a beginner photographer, have the opportunity to take pictures at the wedding do not be frightened and be sure that following simple recommendations will help you to make beautiful and high-quality photos that your customers will be pleased to see even in 10-20 years. In our article today, we will mention the main stages of preparing and implementing a wedding shoot.


The photos in this article were taken by a group of photographers whose average age is less than 16 years old. It was their first wedding shoot and one of their first serious photo shoots in general.


Meeting with the client and discussing the main points


The first meeting with the people who booked the wedding shoot is extremely important, and it’s not even that you have to make the best impression and show the best photos from your portfolio. At a meeting you have a chance to discuss all the important moments of the ceremony, get to know the young people and understand what exactly they expect from the shooting. What is important to pay attention to when meeting with the young people:

  • Pay attention to the features of the bride and groom’s appearance. Try to notice the advantages and disadvantages of the young people to prepare and think hard about the angles and possible shots that can present the bride and groom at their best. The bride can be advised that there are many models of wedding dresses and she will definitely choose the variant for herself;
  • Find out the exact time and place of the ceremony, if possible go there to assess the terrain and look at the places you will photograph at the wedding.
  • Ask the young couple for a rough scenario of the celebration. If, at the time of the first meeting with the photographer, the newlyweds are not yet completely sure of the sequence of the event, revisit the question of the scenario a few weeks before the marriage;
  • Find out the number and approximate placement of guests. This way, the novice photographer will be able to visualize as accurately as possible the sequence and scope of the future wedding.


Wedding Photography. Preparation and planning


Professional photographers almost never go to a wedding shoot alone. More often than not, it is a group of 2-5 people photographing the wedding. Only not very expensive photographers photograph a wedding alone. One photographer can also handle shooting a small ceremony. When it comes to photographing an event with more than 25-30 people, it will be incredibly difficult to work alone. Even if you usually work alone and charge little for shooting a wedding, find an assistant to feed the necessary lenses, carry a tripod and lighting equipment.


Group photography when photographing a wedding is not something that is necessary, but it makes each individual photographer’s job much easier. It is important that all photographers clearly know what they are photographing and when. This will help to avoid repetition in photos and give the opportunity to show the wedding in photos from different angles.

Wedding Photography. Photographic equipment


Going to the wedding photo shoot is not necessary to take with you all the existing equipment in your arsenal. On the photo should take only the most necessary. Speaking of the minimum photographic equipment includes the following equipment:

  • Your main lens, it’s a good idea to bring a lens with a long focal length range. Even if you have only a kit lens it would be better to have a 18-105 mm model;
  • A portrait lens will come in handy for pre-wedding photos of young people when you want to make beautiful portraits with a picturesque blurred background;
  • Flash. No matter how bright and well-lit would be the restaurant where the festive banquet will take place, an external flash is necessary. Without it, photos will either be fuzzy or ugly in terms of lighting;
  • Tripod or monopod. Despite the fact that a wedding is a very dynamic action that requires maximum mobility and activity from the photographer, a tripod or monopod will be essential in some moments of shooting and its absence can lead to undesirable results of the shooting;
  • Spare battery. More often than not, you have to take photos for 8-12 hours at intervals during a wedding. Not every camera will last under these conditions on a single battery charge. Even if you have an extra battery, take your charger with you and allow 20-30 minutes for recharging if necessary at times when guests will be busy eating and no unexpected photos are expected;
  • Extra memory card. When you’re photographing your wedding and taking shots one after another without having time to review them, it’s easy to get carried away in the process of shooting and not notice that the 8-16GB memory card is already full. For this purpose, it is better to bring a spare card, or better still, two or three. They do not take up much space, but may be needed at the most crucial moment;
  • Tools for cleaning the lens and sensor. You should clean the optics from dust and dirt a day before the ceremony, but you should still take a lens-cleaning pencil. One accidental touch on the lens will leave a print on it, which will later spoil the photographs you take;
  • Camera. It would be very funny and, at the same time, annoying if, having prepared everything, you forget about the camera. That is why it is also included in our list of “must have” for wedding photography.


What to photograph in a wedding shoot


Despite the obvious answer to this question, the problem of what to pay special attention to during a shoot and what moments can be missed bothers many aspiring photographers going to their first wedding shoot.


And so, let’s try to make a list of things that should definitely be photographed at the wedding:

  • A photo of the newlyweds during the ceremony;
  • The moment of the signing and putting on the rings;
  • The first kiss;
  • The moment the young couple is blessed by their parents;
  • A photo with their parents. The bride and groom can be photographed separately with their families;
  • Photos with grandparents;
  • A photo of the bride with her witness and her girlfriends. A similar photo of the groom with his friends;
  • The first bitterness at the table;
  • The first dance.


These are the main points to pay attention to and frame. In addition, you can add to the list a general photo with all the guests. Such shots used to be traditional, but have recently been ignored by many photographers, although over time the young ones will surely be interested to see this photo. If there will be an opportunity to organize guests, do so. It is better to offer such a shot to the young in advance.


Optional, but desirable photos from the wedding can include the following:

  • Portraits of the young people during the pre-wedding shoot, taken from all kinds of angles. Roast portraits and classic portraits are also desirable;
  • Photos of the bride and groom. Brides usually want to have several beautiful wedding photos;
  • Moments of preparation for the ceremony;
  • Accessories, bouquet, hall decorations and cake;
  • Frames from the buyout;
  • Photos taken during the bouquet toss;
  • Pictures taken during guest speeches and toasts.

wedding shoot

What else do you need to know about wedding photography?


If you review the portfolios of the so-called successful photographers, you will notice that absolutely all of them work according to the same, their own, pattern. Photographers shoot the same scenes, but with different people. This is neither bad nor good – it gives you a chance to look at how others work. You can see from this kind of footage what people like and what they pay money for. Before you go to your first wedding shoot, study the work of other photographers and pay attention to the quality of photos, the aesthetic beauty of the frames, the cost of the camera and the cost of the master.


Be confident in yourself, and know that even schoolchildren can shoot weddings.