Top Wedding Photography Mistakes


Wedding Photography Mistakes

This list of wedding photography mistakes was compiled with the help of several wedding photographers to help you avoid making them too.

Not Hiring a Professional Photographer

With advancements in camera technology and the ease of creating a website  shopping on price only has become a classic wedding photography mistake. Choose someone who is a professional and not just anyone with a nice camera and a website. Make sure the photographer you choose has an education as a photographer, has apprenticed or interned with other photographers and paid their dues, and has the experience and ability to consistently capture the moments of your wedding no matter what situations may arise. You should expect to spend between £1,500 and £4,000 for any decent wedding photography.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Book Your Photographer

“If you find a great photographer, book them there and then! Good photographers book a year or more out and won’t be available forever. Nothing is more frustrating than choosing a wedding photographer and then finding out that they booked out your date a week prior.”

Not Finalising the Wedding Day plan.

“Talk to your photographer before finalising the schedule for your wedding day. There is a lot to consider in terms of photographing and natural light. Certain times of day are more photogenic than others (midday sun casts harsh, unflattering shadows on the face while late day sun casts a beautifying warm glow on everyone).”

Not Sticking to the plan.

“Pay attention and respect the schedule you and your photographer discuss prior to your wedding. Being an hour late can make or break your images. Don’t just assume it only takes 10 minutes!”

Letting Relatives Get in the Way.

“We have a name in the industry for a guest who shows up with pro photo equipment and takes ‘unofficial wedding photos’ — we call him Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob may think he’s doing you a favour by taking more shots for the couple, but usually he just gets in the way and makes us miss our shots. Tell Bob to leave the camera at home and just enjoy his time at the wedding without working.”

Not Explaining How You Like to Look in Photos.

“Beauty is really very subjective. I ask my clients to send a photo of themselves before the wedding that they like and one that they don’t.”

Focusing Too Much on Taking Photos

“A good photojournalist can capture the story of their day and capture some artistic portraits while keeping the time away from loved ones to a minimum.”

Not Getting a Second shooter

Sometimes brides want to save a little money or feel that it is too obtrusive for more than one photographer to be present on the wedding day. But consider this: The second photographer offers another unique point of view throughout the entire day that you would not have had photographed. They generally assist the main photographer and will make setting up for shots quicker, will assist in arranging people and will be the one running back to the car to get equipment so your main photographer can keep shooting and not miss that key moment.

Not Getting Help Organising Your Guests

“Designate someone that you trust and who knows your family and friends to be in charge of organising people for portraits. That person can gather the people needed, direct them on what shots they will be in, and then release them when they are done. It keeps things moving quickly, smoothly, and enjoyably.”

Trying to Make Things “Perfect”

“Just have fun — whether it’s getting a little cake on your face or some little detail that didn’t turn out 100 percent like you had hoped, go with it, have fun, and keep smiling. The photos will be so different if the bride is scowling at her new hubby, don’t you think?”

Trying to Pose

“A good photographer gives direction for a reason: to get the best moments and shots from the day. The best thing to do is relax and act naturally. Be in the moment. Be hopelessly in love with each other — the pictures will turn out smashingly!”

Looking at the Camera All the Time

“Some couples want candid photographs, but they always feel like they need to look up at the camera and stop what they are doing. It could be an instinct, but remember — unless the photographer asks you, try to act natural for the best journalistic shots.”

Not Providing a List of “Don’t Takes”

“Let the photographer know before the wedding if there are certain photos you don’t like. It can be anything such as ‘I don’t like the photos you took of us not smiling’ or ‘I don’t like wide-angle close-ups; they make us look weird and fat.’ It totally throws off a photographer’s creative approach when a bride spills her feelings while you are in the zone.”

Asking for Too Many Shots

“If clients have done their homework and have chosen an experienced and reputable wedding photographer, then chances are that photographer does not need to be provided with a two-page spreadsheet of every combination for family portraits.”

Not Choosing a Photographer You Connect With

“Make sure that we get along. I work with clients for sometimes two years or more. If we don’t get along, it’s going to be a very long and very bumpy ride.”

Skipping the Engagement Session

“Engagement sessions increase the confidence and comfort level of the bride and groom in front of the camera and allow the bride and groom to practice having their photo taken in a fun, no-stakes atmosphere. Ultimately, an engagement session will let the bride and groom see why the photographer might tell them to do something funny, and this leads to wedding day comfort and trust in the photographer.”

Falling for Photography Trends

“Too many times, brides fall for something trendy in photography. It is critical that these images stand the test of time and are valued for each following generation. Trends are fun but rarely last! Look for a photographer with a classic shooting style, and be wary of too much Photoshop and digital ‘tricks’ and manipulations.”

Forgetting the Details

“Think about spending a few minutes to decide what other elements are important to photograph — did your sister make special wedding favours? Are you carrying important heirlooms with you? Bring an extra invitation, and try to keep those special elements easily accessible for photos.”

Not smiling – All the Time

“Tell all of the individuals walking down the aisle to look up and smile. If they are too nervous to smile, they should at least keep their head up and stare down the aisle. This helps keep the face from forming the ‘evil double chin’ look that happens when you stare at the floor while walking!”


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4 Replies to “Top Wedding Photography Mistakes”

  1. Shooting a wedding is one of the toughest assignments that a photographer can take on, there are lots of potential issues and the stakes are incredibly high. To help out, our head of testing, Angela Nicholson, has compiled a list of the most common wedding photography mistakes that photographers make when starting out shooting weddings, along with some of her best wedding photography tips for how to avoid them.

  2. Beginner Wedding Photography Mistakes: 01 Inexperience

    If your family and friends know that you own a DSLR or advanced compact system camera, the chances are pretty high that at some point you will be asked to photograph a wedding.

    It’s important to be realistic about your capabilities and experience before you commit to shooting a wedding – especially if you are to be paid to do so.

    Be honest with the couple about your experience and don’t allow anyone to bully you into taking on the job to save money if you are not confident.

    It’s also important to have the right kit. Ideally you’ll need two decent cameras and a selection of lenses along with a couple of flashguns.

    What’s more, it’s absolutely crucial that you know your equipment inside out and are confident in using it. A wedding is not the time to be trying a setting for the first time.

    If you decide that being the main photographer at the wedding is too big a step, you could always offer to take on the second photographer duties, shooting from alternative angles, getting background shots and duplicating some of the pro’s shots, it’s all good experience.

    If you decide to get serious about shooting weddings the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (www.swpp.co.uk) and the Guild of Photographers (www.photoguild.co.uk) have lots of information to offer and it’s worth considering joining.

    These organisations’ websites have forums that are a great way of getting to know other photographers, including professionals who maybe looking for a second photographer for a wedding.

    Beginner Wedding Photography Mistakes: 02 Poor exposure

    The bride’s white dress is one of the most important aspects of many weddings and it can be a real headache to photograph correctly.

    Every wedding photographer’s worst nightmare is overexposing it so that it’s turned into a uniform mass of bright white with no detail, but the opposite (underexposure) makes it look grubby and grey.

    Fortunately, a little underexposure can be corrected post capture, but it needs to be just a little underexposure to avoid loosing detail in the groom’s dark suit and bringing out noise in the shadows.

    Ideally you want to use an exposure that produces an image that has detail throughout the tonal range.

    This is one area where digital cameras offer a huge advantage over film cameras, because you can check the exposure immediately after taking a shot and adjust accordingly.

    You can also use the camera’s auto exposure bracketing facility to take a sequence of images with different exposures in quick succession without incurring any extra cost.

    Activate your camera’s histogram view and aim to produce images that have a peak towards the right end of the scale, but without a huge peak at the very end.

    It can also be helpful to turn on your camera’s highlight warning so that burned out areas flash at you once the shot is taken and you can shoot again.

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