Weddings are expensive. The average cost of a wedding in the UK is now a whopping £31,974, which is considerably more than the median after-tax income for an entire year.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that soon-to-be-weds regularly ask their photography-savvy friend to take over the role of a wedding photographer. You’ve got a DSLR, they say to you. How hard can it be?
The reality is that taking quality wedding photos is hugely challenging. It’s not something that you need to leave solely to the professionals, but there’s a reason that most couples go down that route. Creating great wedding photographs is difficult to do.
Let’s say that you’ve been roped into taking the photos on the day because you’re not going to charge the couple any money for your services. How can you avoid messing it up? Here’s what you need to do.
Check That You Have The Right Exposure
Too much exposure and your shots of the bride’s wedding dress will be a sea of dazzling white. Too little, and her dress will look dull and grey. Getting the balance right can be tricky.
It’s best to calibrate your camera before the ceremony begins so that there aren’t any nasty surprises afterward.
First, activate your DSLR’s histogram view. What you want are images that peak towards the right-hand side of the scale, but don’t have massive peaks at the very end. This will ensure that your exposure is good, allowing you to take rapid shots, but not too high so that you end up with saturated images.
The other thing that you can do is to switch on your DSLR’s highlight warning. This allows you to quickly correct snaps where the flash has made certain parts over-saturated.
Hire A Booth
You can avoid many of the problems with lighting and saturation by hiring a photo booth. Photo booths calibrate things like exposure and saturation for you, producing images of consistent quality. The advantage of an enclosure is that you can set them up at practically any venue. They act as a kind of insurance, just in case the rest of your photos don’t come out as planned.
Don’t Use Messy Backgrounds
Professional photographers know that a messy background can seriously ruin a good shot. Most, therefore, will go to the venue the day before on a scouting mission to find the best spots for photos.
Ideally, you want clean, uncluttered backgrounds, especially for shots of the bride and groom. In addition, you want your subjects in the foreground and for the details of the environment to be minimal. Trees, walls, and bushes should be out of focus.
Instruct Your Subjects To Make Eye Contact
Professional photographers will often bark instructions to “look at the camera.” People must make eye contact for photos to have power.
If you’re a novice tasked with the job, remember to ask people to look directly at the lens. If they don’t, then the photos will come out disappointingly.