If ever there’s a time and place to not screw up behind the lens, it’s at a wedding. After all, it’s not like there’s a do-over.
It’s a lot of pressure to be a wedding photographer, but like anything else, with time and practice, your knowledge, skills, and confidence will grow. To help you in that endeavor, here are a few wedding photography mistakes you need to avoid.
Wedding Photography Mistake #1: Bad Exposures
One of the most common rookie wedding photography mistakes is simply not getting a well-exposed image. There’s a lot of factors involved in this, not the least of which is that you’re often dealing with a bride that’s wearing a white dress.
On the one hand, if you overexpose the image, her dress will turn into a bright white blob without any detail. On the other hand, if you underexpose the image, it’ll look like she’s wearing a dirty grey dress, as shown above. Either way, the result isn’t good, but if anything, you want to slightly underexpose wedding dress photos because that can be easily corrected in post-processing.
There’s simple fixes to exposure problems.
Use your camera’s auto exposure bracketing feature to bracket each exposure you take.
Essentially, this means instead of taking one photo, you take multiple photos at different exposure levels so you have a range of possibilities. You can even stack the images together to get good detail throughout the image from highlights to shadows and everything in between.
Get more details on bracketing in the video above by ZY Productions.
Another trick is to check your camera’s histogram to ensure you’ve got a well-exposed image throughout.
Unlike your camera’s LCD, the histogram actually gives you a very accurate representation of the level of highlights, midtones, and shadows in the shot.
If you see a huge spike on the left side of the histogram, you know that the image is underexposed. If there’s a huge spike on the right side, it’s overexposed.
Wedding Photography Mistake #2: Making People Look into the Sun
Sure, you want your subjects’ faces to be illuminated, but you don’t want their faces to be crinkled up because they’re blinded by the sun, either. On top of squinting and watery eyes, making the wedding party look into the sun means there will be harsh highlights and shadows on their face. That’s not a good look.
Instead, find some shade so everyone in the photo can actually open their eyes comfortably. Being in the shade also allows you to take advantage of softer, more diffused lighting that will get you better results in your images. If shade isn’t available, make your own – just have someone hold a reflector above the person you’re photographing to diffuse the light. Alternatively, get behind the couple and take a photo looking toward the sun, too, as seen above.
Wedding Photography Mistake #3: Neglecting the Shot List
In your pre-consultation with your clients, you should go over the shot list with them from top to bottom. You’ll have an idea of the images you’d like to take, and they will as well. The resulting list should guide every move you make on the big day, from pre-ceremony festivities all the way through to the end of the reception.
Print it out. Have it in your pocket or camera bag. Share it with your second shooter. Check it over and over again.
The last thing you want to do is forget to photograph a special moment, especially if that moment was specifically mentioned by your clients as something they’d like to document!
Bonus Wedding Photography Tip: Don’t Skimp on the Prints
It doesn’t make sense to work your tail off to take great photos and spend hours processing them to perfection, only to provide your clients with cut-rate prints. Success in this business is all about the presentation of your work, so you can imagine how unimpressive it is to hand your clients a cheaply made print that you got at the local big box store.
Instead, partnering with an experienced fine art printer like CanvasHQ is the way to go.
That’s because CanvasHQ is dedicated to creating gorgeous prints each and every time. They use the finest materials, including fine art canvases, water-resistant and UV-resistant inks, and kiln-dried wood for ultra-strong, straight, and true frames.
Instead, these guys treat you like a good friend that deserves the highest-quality prints possible. I’ve experienced this dedication to quality firsthand, and I can tell you that the prints I’ve gotten from CanvasHQ are second to none.
And when it comes to your business, you want to be sure that your money is spent well, and with CanvasHQ, that’s definitely the case. They offer a money-back guarantee, so if you don’t like your print, just send it back within 30 days and a full refund will be on its way. What’s more, there’s a lifetime guarantee against fading, cracking, and bubbling, so you have peace of mind that the prints you order for your clients will be around for a good, long while.
Being a great wedding photographer takes a lot of talent and skill, to be sure, but it also requires that you partner up with people that can help you achieve your goals.