Tag Archives: wedding

Tips & Ideas for Wedding Photography

About The Author: This article has been contributed by Nick Smith from Digital Wedding Secrets. Digital Wedding Secrets is a guide focused on the wedding photography. If you are passionate about wedding photography then Sign Up to its RSS or FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive more wedding photography tips.

пора к плите и кастрюлям!! 2/2
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pelipe

[tweetmeme]Nobody strives to be boring and mundane, and yet countless weddings and wedding photographs achieve that goal with flying colors. To raise the stakes as a wedding photographer (and therefore your prices and reputation), you need to offer a dual personality as wedding photography — one side that will ensure/guarantee the Bride & Groom that they’ll get all the “standard” (read: blah) photographs for a wedding photo package. And the other side that will enthusiastically suggest box-breaking, creative and imaginative ideas that might raise an eyebrow, but will guarantee a smile and/or a laugh (or a gasp) when you submit your final photos to the Bride & Groom. Dynamic photography is all about finding those definitive moments and framing them with evocative lighting… that’s your mantra; I’ll give it to you for free!

Wedding imagery on a grass roots level is just formalized party photography, so that being said, what makes party photography even remotely interesting to look at? That’s right, the spontaneous, unexpected, intimate and candid photographs that details the B-Story Moments of an event. The sterile portraits that most people expect and therefore get won’t get you rave reviews or make the job compelling for you, so push the envelope.

Planning Makes Perfect

The Shoot in photo parlance is actually a production, and for any production to be successful a plan must made, rehearsed and carried out to perfection (or as near as perfection as possible). This is doubly important with wedding photography, because the “event” isn’t staged, it’s happening live… in real-time. Therefore the preproduction planning stages are crucial. During this stage, scouting the location for lighting issues, potential backgrounds and event staging can be determined and discussed with the Bride & Groom. You can take test photos during the preproduction stage, and determine what additional equipment (like a third camera; a second one is mandatory) you might want to acquire the best images on the day of the Big Event. You can also establish a photo coordinator from someone close to the wedding party to help you corral the various groups during the day of the shoot. Sure you’ll have some authority, but not enough to get all that you need make the most of the day.

During the planning stage, you can make your production checklist, so there’s memory slips on the day of; you’ll have it all mapped out and handled by the night before, so that all you have to do on the day of the Wedding is get up, get dressed and drive to the venue.

Here’s another free mantra for you; If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Inspired Images: The Photo Essay

A photo-journalistic style is top among the techniques and tricks that can enhance any wedding photo package, but in reality you want to create a photo essay of the wedding, not just document what happened with a journalist’s flair and/or a creative eye. A photo essay has a more impressionistic slant to it; the images need to feel as poetic as possible. This will enable you to take chances with lighting, composition and subject matter that stretches the limits of photo journalism.

Remember, the photo-essayist looks to find singular lyrical moments and combine those moments such that they deliver more emotional impact than typical compelling photo journalistic/reportage imagery. Of course this technique/skill requires a most creative eye, and the ability to find the moments that might not be the center of the “action” but are more poignant and potent for the final outcome.

Build Rapport

Successful photographers build a rapport with their subjects prior to doing any meaningful shooting, just ask any National Geographic photographer how they get those stand-out images. So you need to follow that lead when it comes to Wedding Photography and establish a rapport with the Bride & Groom. The ideal time for this is during the walk-thru when the full wedding party is all there, and any pre-wedding day photographs (like engagement photography session) that the Bride & Groom want (suggest this if they haven’t thought of it). Be sure to be as engaging as possible; cracking jokes might be a bit much, but be as jovial and open as possible. All these people need to trust you in intimate moments, when most of them are probably going to be a little drunk (or maybe a lot drunk) and be emotional in rare ways. You have to be an insider, not an interloper.

Brutal Editorial Review

While it’s most important to shoot (perhaps too) many photographs, the purpose of this is to have the broadest possible selection possible to present to the Bride & Groom; not to mention that memory storage cards is notorious cheap these days, so bring enough cards and fill them up. And when doing this presentation, make sure that you are showing the absolute best “selects” of the 100s, if not 1000s, of photos that you took. Only your best work needs to be seen by the Bride & Groom. If you don’t have a great editorial eye, then find someone who does and whose opinion you trust. This most critical to having a happy Bride & Groom, because when they return from their honeymoon and want to see the photos they need to re-create the emotional highs of the wedding day. Even if the Bride & Groom aren’t expects at examining photos (and who expects them to be?), they will instinctively know when a photo is good or if a photo is great.

Takes these tips for what they’re worth, maybe you already do all these things. So this is just confirmation that you’re on the right track. Remember, you are a professional, and there is a specific pattern of behavior that is required of a professional; keep that in mind at all times and you’ll be successful. Professionals are prepared, open-minded and have boundless energy for the current project when it’s “go time.”

About The Author: This article has been contributed by Nick Smith from Digital Wedding Secrets. Digital Wedding Secrets is a guide focused on the wedding photography. If you are passionate about wedding photography then Sign Up to its RSS or FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive more wedding photography tips.

Must-Bring Cameras for Wedding Photography

[tweetmeme]Guest post from Nick Smith, author of Digital Wedding Secrets – a guide solely focused on the wedding photography and its business. If wedding photography is your passion too then Sign Up to its RSS or the FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive wedding photography tips in your email.

For many, Wedding Photography is the “pays the bills” aspect of photography, and therefore it might get short shrift on the respect meter because of the seemingly lack of “excitement”, but as my friend in the movie business says, “if you take the job, you do the job” and that means no griping. And honestly, there is a compelling aspect to wedding photography, let’s take a look, shall we?

The truly interesting thing about Wedding Photography is that it has an editorial aspect to it as well as a photo-journalistic aspect to it (or at least you should position yourself as a photographer who offers a blend of both). This dual nature enables you to provide a premium product… with a premium price.

While it goes without saying bringing two cameras to a wedding is the minimum ideal way to go. However, the true question is what two cameras to bring? I’m going to suggest a dSLR and a Rangefinder.


A wedding
Creative Commons License photo credit: yaili

Canon and Nikon make some extraordinary dSLRs and the higher end Prosumer models can easily handle nearly every situation conceivable for wedding photography. Obviously Pentax and Olympus make quality product, too, but Canon and Nikon are the two heavy weights. dSLRs provide you with so much versatility in lens choice and other accessories. But there are few specifications that you might want to consider (either when renting a second or third camera, or buying a second camera, and possibly trading in one of the cameras that you do have) to ensure that you don’t miss a shot. The camera’s recycle time and burst fps are important factors to weigh, as well as what type of flash units the camera can accommodate (i.e., a High Sync Flash unit). It’s important to use a full-frame dSLR, this is pure an aesthetic bias on my part, but you want to be able to use as many lenses as are available in your camera manufacturer of choice’s line. Sure you could miss out of the fully computer-controlled lenses, but you might have a favorite lens that was for a film camera.

Most people will do well with two dSLRs, one fitted with a wide angle zoom (perhaps a 17mm-35mm), and the other with a telephoto zoom (probably a 85mm-200mm). This combination will enable you to quickly jump back-n-forth for group shots and tighter more intimate shots… without having to swap lenses, and perhaps miss a crucial shot.

A Rangefinder

Leica addict
Creative Commons License photo credit: c-reel.com

Why a rangefinder?, you ask. Simple, these most innocuous of cameras allow you to get extraordinarily candid and intimate shots that you might not otherwise be able to get with a dSLR. The level of intrusion that an dSLR causes can ruin the spontaneity of precious moments; not to mention that some people act a fool when they see a camera in active position.

Now I wouldn’t say that these cameras really fallen out of favor, more like they have become the ultimate niche photographic item. And the granddaddy of them is the Leica M7 or its digital cousin the M9 (Leica’s newest, most state-of-the-art digital camera). The unparalleled image quality that these cameras provide are worth taking the time to learn the unorthodox focusing method.

Leica’s new M9 is an AWESOME digital camera with a full-frame (24mm x 36mm) image sensor and captures images in a high-density RAW format. And because of the full-frame image sensor,you can effectively use any of the Leica lenses from the past 30 years… and those are perhaps the lenses on the planet. Known for their sharpness, incredibly speed, and lack of chromatic aberration, you’ll be awe-struck at the quality of the photos.

Creative Commons License photo credit: zamario

I had mentioned earlier the photo-journalistic aspect of Wedding Photography, well with a Leica (or any rangefinder for that matter) you can take on the role of photo-essayist. Rangefinders, and the Leica in particular, have supremely quiet shutter releases, so hardly anyone will know that you’ve actually taken the photo. Plus you can focus and fire from the hip so easily that you’ll have an unprecedented ability to grab photos with practically no one noticing. This gives you a lot of creative power as a photography, because you can concentrate on getting the Wedding Party and the guests to behave as naturally as possible.

You might think the Leica is overkill (due to its price), but the images will be well-worth it (and if you rent it, the actual expense is minimal).

So the camera configuration of two dSLRs and a rangefinder can yield you a wider variety of more compelling photographs with different feelings and emotions captured. That’s what the clients ultimately want, images that define the moment, that will spark memories in the future and will stand-out from the standard wedding photography fare (not that you won’t offer those as well, but it’s always about offering more than the standard these days).

About The Author: Nick Smith is author of Digital Wedding Secrets – a guide solely focused on the wedding photography and its business. If wedding photography is your passion too then Sign Up to its RSS or the FREE Digital wedding newsletter to receive wedding photography tips in your email.

115+ Wedding Photography Tips

Creative Commons License photo credit: X.u.k.i

[tweetmeme]After reviewing David Ziser’s wedding photography book, Captured by the Light, I decided to dig into my collection of bookmarked articles in search of even more wedding tips. I came up with quite a few, and supplemented the list with a quick search around the web.

I’m sure this isn’t a comprehensive list of all wedding photography tips out there, but it’s not a bad start. In these 13 articles, there are over 115 tips covering many aspects of wedding photography from lighting to composition to planning to the business end, and many more. So if you’re getting into wedding photography, check out these resources and take some notes!















If you know of any other good wedding photography tips, tutorials, and/or resources, feel free to leave the links in the comments below. And if you have any good wedding shots of your own, show them off!

Book Review: Captured by the Light

[tweetmeme]I’m a bit delayed with this book review, but better late than never I suppose! My pal, David Ziser, recently published a great book that shares a lot of his knowledge in the field of wedding photography. This guy is a master at what he does, and the content in the book is quite unique.

Captured by the Light, by David Ziser, is an instructional book focused on wedding photography and effective lighting techniques. But the book is a bit more than that since it covers some general photography techniques, composition, and natural light. David lets out a lot of the tricks and techniques he uses for shooting high-end weddings, and he does so in a way that’s easy to comprehend.

Captured by the Light (ISBN 978-0321646873) can be purchased directly from David Ziser or through Amazon.com. The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.


Captured by the Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography is a softcover book containing 312 pages of text, photos, and diagrams. It’s a medium sized book with a squarish format measuring in at 9×8.9 inches and .9 inches thick. Much of the book is laid out in a two column format with lots of supporting graphics, making it easy to read and understand.

There are 11 chapters, each with several sections. The book starts off with some basic portrait lighting and tips for using your camera. Then it gets right into a few chapters of intermediate/advanced lighting techniques (all with very little equipment and scattered with lots of neat tricks along the way). The technical stuff wraps up with natural lighting, composition, and other equipment needed for the job. The end of the book focuses on how to actually manage a wedding shoot, from planning to final presentation.

This is not a quick read… it’s also not a slow read. You can definitely get through big chunks of it in one setting, but a lot of the material aims to teach you a technique and it will require some practice and experimentation on your part. The book is a good resource worth hanging on to so that you can refer back to it as needed.


David Ziser is an internationally renowned portrait and wedding photographer. He’s also a top-notch educator and shares his knowledge via the Digital Pro Talk Blog, the Digital Wakeup Call tour, and as a lecturer for events such as the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), and Imaging USA/Professional Photographers of America. He also provides training classes on DVD and online through Kelby Training, writes for Professional Photographer magazine, and posts his artistic works at the Fine Art Photoblog. And I thought I had too many things going on!

Really though, he’s a great guy and he’s very knowledgeable about what he does. I’ve known David for a few years and he always has such an upbeat personality. His enthusiasm for photography is contagious — so be careful.


Hands-down 100% awesome resource for wedding photographers — especially those just getting into it, though I’m sure still useful for the seasoned pros (just check the Amazon.com reviews).

The wedding photography gig is fairly involved and I would be completely lost to the inner workings without a book like this. For the photographers wanting to do weddings, and for those who have done a few already, this book is an essential item to have. I would even say that it’s quite useful for photographers in the field of portraits because there is a lot of lighting and posing information throughout.

Again, Captured by the Light (ISBN 978-0321646873) can be purchased directly from David Ziser or through Amazon.com.

Link Roundup 04-10-2010

New Partner: Proud Photography

Online Photography Courses

Please join me in welcoming Proud Photography as a sponsor to Epic Edits. You can see their banner (shown here) filling a sidebar position for the month of November.

Proud Photography is an online photography school currently offering two courses: General Photography and The Expert Wedding Photographer. Additional courses and resources will become available in the near future.

The General Photography course is organized into 13 interactive units developed by professional photographers and prize-winning enthusiasts. But this is more than just a collection of lessons to consume — you’ll have homework and quizzes along the way to supplement your course and gauge your progress. Some of your work will be graded by the tutors, and you have the opportunity to receive photo critiques. And though you can’t move on to the next lesson until you’ve completed each previous lesson, you can work at your own pace.

Here’s a quick overview of the 13 units in the course:

1. Introduction to Photography — Overview of cameras, lenses, and other gadgets, and what you’ll need to achieve certain types of photos.

2. Digital Photography — Film vs digital, technical aspects of digital images, and working with digital files.

3 & 4. Exposure: Shutter Speed & Aperture — Detailed explanations of these two very important exposure controls and how to use them effectively.

5. Composition — Rules of good composition, perspective, and viewpoint.

6. Light — Working with natural, artificial, and mixed lighting in various situations.

7. Shooting Black and White — Comparison of film vs digital, black and white films, and lens filters.

8 & 9. Travel Photography I & II — Sunrise, sunset, filters, landscapes, extreme weather, seascapes, reflections, capturing local people, architecture, still life, and more.

10. Portraits — Formal, informal, backgrounds, viewpoints, makeup, and lighting.

11. People and Their Environment — Utilizing natural light, working in weather, candids, close-ups, young folks, and old folks.

12. Insiders’ Tricks and Techniques — High ISO, fisheyes, macros, filters, flash tricks, panoramas, and lots more.

13. Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them — How to avoid improper exposure, flare, bad framing, poor focus, camera shake, reflections, sensor dust, and more.

While I haven’t been through the course myself, I’ve seen multiple reviews from photographers who have and they’ve all been quite positive. I think the main attraction to a program like this lies in the organization of content in addition to the content itself. Having one-on-one interaction with the tutors, doing homework, and taking quizzes are all icing on the cake.

I would recommend this online photography course from Proud Photography to beginner/intermediate enthusiasts. If you’re still a bit rusty on the technical details of photography, wanting to learn more about the many facets and styles of photography, or if you just don’t know where to start, this course might just be for you. And while it isn’t free, it’s much cheaper than most camera equipment — plus, this is one tool in your camera bag that won’t break or wear out with use.

The Expert Wedding Photographer course is aimed more at those looking to get into the wedding photography business. It covers the topics of setting up and running your business, equipment needed, how to capture formal and informal shots, post production work, and presenting photos to your clients.

If these courses sound at all interesting to you, I encourage you to visit their website to learn more: www.proudphotography.com

Build Your Portfolio With Local Gigs

Love triangle
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pensiero

As a short extension to Christine Howell’s guest post, How to Become a Sports Photographer, I’d like to rehash a very important point she made. As she was talking about the importance of gaining experience, she stated “… you will be better off on the sidelines of your local high school baseball game than in the stands at the World Series.

But this concept of working local gigs to build a portfolio and work your way up is applicable to just about any type of assignment photography (and other types of paid photography). Here are just a few examples of using local and amateur events/jobs to get some experience.

SPORTS — As Christine mentioned, start shooting local games just for the experience. There are all sorts of local leagues just about everywhere you go.

CONCERTS — Similar to sporting events, there are a lot of local concerts and shows in most cities and urban areas. A show might cost you $10 or $15 to get into, but you’ll probably be able to get shots from any spot you choose (just make sure the venue is cool with cameras).

WEDDINGS — If you want to get into wedding photography, start off by hooking up with a wedding photographer and tagging along on a couple jobs as a backup photographer. As your comfort level rises, start taking on lower-budget weddings and working your way up as you become more sought after.

FINE ART — Start participating in local art shows, fairs, and contests. The most important thing is to get your work in front of people’s eyes, and you’ll be familiarizing yourself with the standards of the industry at the same time.

And as a comment in Christine’s article, Kevin Winzeler gave a great piece of advice for becoming a better sports photographer: “… getting experience in the sport you’re shooting; even at a small level.” Absolutely! This applies to other sides of photography too — shoot the things you enjoy doing yourself and it will show in your photos.

What are some other photography examples of working your way up from local/amateur to global/professional? (I suppose this applies to just about everything in photography, but let’s share some specific examples)

Digital WakeUp Call… Is AWESOME!

Digital WakeUp Call

So I finally got the chance to meet with David Ziser in-person last night. His Digital WakeUp Call tour was here in San Diego for the evening, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go hang out with him and learn a few things from a true professional.

Some time ago, I mentioned David’s upcoming tour and offered a discount code (which is still ok to use). At that point, I hadn’t experienced the seminar first-hand, but I knew it would be very good based on David’s level of experience.

Well now I can say for sure that this is an event 100% worth going to. David managed to pack probably 15 hours of lessons into a 4 or 5 hour session — he’s very high energy. The main focus of his discussion is on-location lighting and wedding/portrait photography, but much of what he speaks about can be applied to any type of photography and photography business (LOTS of business ideas and tips). He also touches on some software and workflow tips, giving great insight to how he gets his work done.

At any rate, I just wanted to let everybody know that you still have a chance to register and attend the seminar if it hasn’t happened yet in your town. Highly recommended. Have any of you attended yet? What did you guys think?


And a big thanks to David for taking the time to chat with me and have a beer after the event! And thanks for the mentions at the event and on the blog today (see here)!

Link Roundup 02-14-2009

Here’s what’s happening out there this week.

Calling the Shots at Weddings – Tips for Amateur Photographers

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Photojournalism programs. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.

Endless love
Creative Commons License photo credit: millzero.com

Getting married is one of the most significant events in our lives, and we’re all looking to cement memories of that special day for posterity through videos and photographs. This makes wedding pictures exceptional, as the occasion does not repeat itself for most of us. While professional photographers are likely to do a great job of capturing the event, there are times when the bride and groom prefer a close friend or relative to step up to the occasion. If you’ve been designated as the photographer for the day because you own a pretty good camera and are known for your amateur photography skills, here’s how you can make sure you do a pretty decent job that earns you more than a pat on the back:

  • Make sure your equipment’s up to scratch
    You cannot afford to be caught unaware with a camera that refuses to bow to your wishes while the ceremony’s taking place. Make sure your gear is in working condition and that you have an equally good backup camera. Besides this, you’ll need memory cards, batteries and chargers (I’m assuming you’re going digital) to back you up in your efforts. You’ll need between 8 and 10 megapixels in strength on a digital SLR camera in order to get the best pictures. If possible, find yourself an assistant who can help with your equipment and also take a few candid shots while you handle the more formal ones.
  • Case out the location before the actual day
    You need to be familiar with the location well before the actual event so that you can decide on the vantage positions from where you can get the best shots. Besides this, if you’re supposed to get pictures of the bride and groom and their parties on the way to the venue of the wedding and the reception, you need to know where you can position yourself along the way so that you can get some good shots.
  • Talk to the bride and groom to discuss the kind of pictures they want
    Some couples prefer a minimum amount of pictures while others want to go the whole hog and get everything that’s happening on camera. Discuss the needs of the bride and groom and make plans accordingly.
  • Make sure you get all the formal shots needed
    You don’t want to be the one responsible for the displeasure of disgruntled relatives who find they’ve been left out of the photo album. So make sure you get everyone who counts on camera. To ensure that you don’t mess up, get someone from the groom’s side and someone from the bride’s side to help you out with the arrangement and preparation for the shots.

  • Be ready and prepared
    There are no chances for action replays or reshoots at weddings, so make sure you’re prepared with a fast camera and faster fingers. Also, don’t delete any pictures from your digital cache until you’re sure you don’t want to print them as part of the final album.

Make sure your efforts make the day even more memorable, no matter how many years go by.

Kelley & Elkins TTD - Explored!!!  Yippie!
Creative Commons License photo credit: kel niemann

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Photojournalism programs. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com.