Cover photo by Anesha Collins (@unashamedimaging)
The difference between being a good photographer and a great photographer is GROWTH — being intentional about taking lessons learned along your photography journey and applying them to become the best you can be! In the first article of our series, “Advice From the Pro Photogs,” we asked eight photographers to share one piece of advice they would give to a beginner wedding photographer in regard to shooting wedding day portraits. Then, we asked why they would choose to share that piece of advice. We also included one of their favorite wedding day portraits they have ever taken in the article! We hope hearing the lessons they have learned throughout their photography careers inspire you and offer helpful insight!
“If I could give one piece of advice about shooting wedding day portraits, I would say to be a person before being a photographer. To produce great results, it’s important to have a relationship built on trust with your clients!” —Kenny Kim
Kenny says he would share this advice because he has seen how it makes a big difference on the wedding day. He even goes as far as to memorize the names of immediate family and bridal party members! Getting to know your clients makes a tremendous difference on how you are perceived as a photographer.
“Make sure you photograph your couple’s personality. Shooting only posed photos are great for parents and grandparents, but couples fall in love with images that show their love and personality!”
— Liz Courtney
Liz says she would share this advice because couples will want to look back years from now and be reminded of how their marriage got started and why they got married!
“My advice to beginner wedding photographers would be to come prepared and have a few poses in mind for the shoot! You have a limited amount of time to capture the couple’s photos, so learn to shoot quickly, make decisions and stick with them. Have someone critique your images so you can get better and grow, as well!” — Chip Dizard
Chip chose to share this advice because the wedding portraits will be in the couple’s home, on thank you cards and in other various places; therefore you want to be sure they are of high quality!
“I would tell any beginner shooting wedding portraits to remember that YOU — the photographer — control the locations, timing and lighting; the client does not!” — Ashley Fisher
Ashley chose this as her piece of advice because it’s important for your clients to remember that you are the expert! The human eye sees differently than what photographs well, so what your couple sees will differ than what you — the expert! — sees.
“One must learn to become a master shooting in as many different lighting situations as possible! Noon, bright sun, low sun, shadows…all of it. You never know what light will look like on any certain wedding day. Do not get caught in any situation you do not know how to handle!” — Chris J. Evans
Chris shared this advice because it is important to understand that, as the photographer, you are getting paid to understand all aspects of photography! There may be periods of harsh light, low light, rain, wind, etc…but there are no excuses for delivering bad photos based on bad lighting! Master your craft, be worth it to your clients and always remain kind.
“Communicating with your clients in advance goes a LONG way. The couple will be more comfortable with you when they have clearly communicated with you!”
— Anesha Collins
Anesha chose this piece of advice because most business owners under-communicate. Communication is a major key to ensuring you and your clients are on the same page when the big day arrives!
“I would advise a photographer to make time for engagement portraits BEFORE the wedding day! Doing so will help your couple be more relaxed in front of the camera ON the wedding day.” — Nathan Holritz
Nathan says he has learned that when clients are comfortable in front of the camera, and with the photographer, the level of comfortability will translate to more natural-looking portraits when the wedding day arrives!
“I would definitely tell a newbie portrait photographer to take their time and have fun with the couple! The more calm you are, the more at ease the couples will be, which translates to the photos themselves!” — Kate Spencer
Kate says she shared this piece of advice because she used to get so nervous photographing couples on wedding days. When she learned to relax, and enjoy being in the moment with her couples, she produced her best work! She found her stress was coming from psyching herself out, and that when she chose to let go of stress and have fun, photographing the couple was much easier!
We hope the advice our photographer friends shared inspires you! If you have any advice you would like to give in regard to shooting wedding day portraits, drop it in the comments below!