For a successfulphotoshoot it is imperative to start out with a positive attitude. Faith that whatever happens it’s going to be a great photoshoot. I could get out of bet on the wrong side and just be pissed off before my feet hit the floor, but I always revert myself back to “It’s going to be a great shoot” and “they’re going to love their photos.” Your attitude toward the day is going to play one of the largest roles when shooting a wedding. Part of the reason for this is because the bride, groom and guests have a certain expectation that they believe a wedding photographer should live up to. Another part is because you truly want to give them the best possible photos you are capable of giving. So keep it in mind to start with a positive attitude.
When it comes to what to bring to a wedding photoshoot, your first thought is of course a camera. Yup.. A reliable camera is, of course, essential. Today the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera is the weapon of choice but mirrorless cameras are slowly emerging. The leading camera manufacturers have recently released a new line of mirrorless camera bodies; Sony with the A7 and Nikon with the Z7. I prefer to shoot on a full frame DSLR (Nikon D610) for my primary camera body and a cropped frame (Nikon D3200) as a backup camera.
But something just as important as the camera body is the lens; or in the best case, lenses. If you want to have great shots, make sure you bring the right lens. Different lenses server different purposes. For example, you wouldn’t want to shoot a church ceremony with a 35mm prime lens. It will not only make for static photos, you will not be able to change lenses without making too much of a commotion. Since you’re going to want to get as many angles as possible you will likely be quietly moving around and getting farther from your subjects. For this reason you’re going to want a zoom lens. For starting out an 18-200mm would suite wonderfully. As you get a handle on how the lens works for different scenarios, you’ll start to better understand the effects of different focal lengths. For a group photo I’ve found that it was best to shoot at 35mm with groups of about 120. This is because at, and for a bridal pair shooting, I’ve found a 50mm prime lens suites my style best. This is why I say, in a ‘best case’ you will be working with multiple lenses, and using known intermissions to switch a lens out when needed.
One thing that I over looked in the beginning was a collapsible light diffuser. This is important because it helps to control the quality of light during the bridal shoot (particularly on sunny days). They come in various sizes, but 110cm is usually large enough to even out hard shadows on their faces. However, keep in mind, to use this; you’re going to want an assistant. They would hold the diffuser while you’re making the photo. Running through some practice shots with family member or friend would also be extremely beneficial. This would give you the opportunity to get a feel for how the photos will be affected by the different positions and quality of light.
Another important thing to consider is wedding and photo booth props. Have you offered the couple the use of props? Usually they’re quite enthusiastic when you bring them up in the preliminary meeting, sometimes they pass, but they’re always appreciative when you pitch new and unique ideas. This idea is quite popular when considering thank you cards. The bridal pair usually has so much on their minds, that it’s a relief when they have one less thing to worry about such as creating thank you cards for their guests.
As a final tip, remember that this is an extremely special day for these two people and they trust you to make it as memorable as possible. To the bride and groom, the day will fly by as a festive blur, but for you, the photographer, it is your responsibility that the memories that you helping to make are full of good ones. If the bride is stressing offer her a helping hand. Let them know that they’re not alone and everything is running smooth. Sometimes there can be ‘hick-ups’ during the wedding. Someone didn’t show up when they were supposed to, a wrong order was placed etc., but it’s at these times it is absolutely essential that you maintain a professional and calm composure. If it’s a rainy day (e.g. high stress in the air), it’s time to sing and dance in the rain. Your enthusiasm will rub off and the atmosphere will surely brighten up. Keep these things in mind and you’ll surely be called back for more events.