Wedding pictures: 10 tips for photographing a friend's wedding

Wedding pictures: 10 tips for photographing a friend's wedding

Author: Canadian Living


Wedding pictures: 10 tips for photographing a friend's wedding

Being asked to photograph a friend's wedding can be a great honour, but it comes with some caveats. James Reid, a Toronto-based magazine and wedding photographer and owner of Expose Yourself Event Photography, offers advice on what you should consider before saying yes to your friend's request. Plus, find his expert tips on how to take great wedding photos.

Here are 10 secrets to better shots.

Before you say yes:
1. "Don't underestimate the pressure that's on you
and decide honestly if you want to photograph the wedding. If the photos aren't great, your friend will never forget it," says Reid.

If you're worried you may not be able to deliver the bridal-magazine shots the couple seems to expect, bow out politely.

2. "Remind the bride and groom that you get what you pay for," says Reid. Tell your friend that even if you take great amateur shots, you're not a professional. It's important to tell the bride and groom that you don't have high-end equipment, technical lighting and an assistant that a professional photographer has at his or her disposal – not to mention their experience with Photoshop, which can make almost any so-so shot look great.

They may want to consider hiring a pro for the "official" shots, and rely on you for candid, behind-the-scenes images. That way they'll get a good mix.

If you've said yes:
3. Find an assistant.
"It's always great to have an assistant to carry gear or help wrangle people together [for group shots]," says Reid. Enlist someone you can rely on in advance.

4. "Dress as nicely as you can, but in a way that you can still stand on a ladder or chair. So if you're a woman: no gowns," says Reid. You'll want to think twice about wearing those sky-high heels, too.

Page 1 of 2 – Discover six more expert tips for capturing amazing amateur wedding photographs on page 2.
5. Bring enough memory! "Even if you have to borrow them, bring as many memory cards as you can," advises Reid. You're going to be taking hundreds of shots – maybe even more. You can edit the digital images down later and show the couple the best shots.

Also, shoot in RAW format if your camera can. It may use more memory, but the shots will be better quality, says Reid.

6. Get the shot. And then shoot it again. "The most important thing is to shoot way more than you think you need. You will have a group of people in their nicest outfits that may never be together again for another 20 years," says Reid.

"Be confident that you got a shot with no one blinking. Shoot and shoot. Overshoot, and edit later," he adds.

7. Take similar shots. Captured a great image like the bride's mother arranging her daughter's veil? "Shoot it three more times in three different ways," says Reid.

Try a different angle. Zoom in or out. Change your setting. That way you can guarantee you've captured a perfect moment.

8. "Shoot items the bride and groom spent a lot of money on," advises Reid. Think still life images of the wedding cake, place settings, floral arrangements and the bride's shoes.

"They've spent a lot of time planning all the details, so it would be a shame not to capture them," says Reid.

9. Avoid direct sun when shooting outdoors. "If you're out on a bright day, try to find an area of open shade where the subject isn't in direct sun, but is still brightly lit by the sky. This prevents harsh shadows on their face," says Reid.

"If direct sun is unavoidable, try using a flash. It fills in the dark circles under eyes," he adds.

10. Always take group shots. "Sometimes the bride will say she doesn't want group shots. But she will," says Reid. For great group images:

• Scan the faces in the group to make sure everyone's visible.

• Get everyone to stand closer, even if they're already close.

• Tell them if they can't see the camera, it can't see them.

• "Shoot a minimum of six frames per group shot. Shoot it all now because you won't have the chance again," warns Reid.

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Wedding pictures: 10 tips for photographing a friend's wedding