How to become a wedding photographer

Wedding photography can be a rewarding and even lucrative career choice. Indeed, good masters make a high income from their work. In addition, shooting weddings allows you to be there all the time, where the air is filled with happiness, positive emotions and celebration. But not every beginner photographer understands how difficult and responsible this work is, because the problems of photo equipment or poorly made pictures can spoil the most important celebration for the newlyweds and their loved ones. So you should at least strive to improve your skills, be prepared for different customer requests, and be ready to spend money on the best equipment. And always learn both from your own mistakes and from real professionals.

Specifics of wedding photography

Wedding photography is very dynamic, and you need to be able to capture the emotions of the couple in love and guests. You need to have time to shoot both staged shots and reportage, catch the emotions of the couple and guests in love, be ready to shoot in any light, in any weather, and in general be prepared for surprises and rapid changes in the environment, and all this for 10-12 hours.

Before you start shooting weddings, you need to:

  • Fully master your camera, know how to shoot in all shooting modes (especially “A” – aperture priority)
  • Get a knack for and build up a portfolio in set up and love-story photography.

An immersion in theory

Theoretical knowledge is the foundation of professionalism, and the art of wedding photography is no exception. The more information you can gather, the better. Before becoming a wedding photographer, you need to fully master the most important knowledge in the field of photography, to be able to conduct different in theme and genre shooting. Especially important is the ability to “catch” interesting shots, moods, emotions, facial expressions. With more experience and practice, learning a narrower specialisation will be much easier.

There is a short and easy way to become a wedding photographer – take an online photographer course, for example here

You’ll get lots of practice and can find your first clients straight away. The advantages of these programmes are:

  • Mastering the profession in a few weeks – classes are held at a convenient time and you choose the pace of the programme yourself.
  • Clearly structured information – instead of searching for materials on the Internet you study already selected information in a comfortable format.
  • A portfolio is something that employers often ask for. Homework helps you learn the material in practice, and your thesis will become your portfolio.
  • Convenient learning – the format allows you to get information anywhere, anytime and on any gadget.

Equipment for the wedding photographer


Good photographic equipment will help to develop a photographer’s skills, but it won’t help at all if they don’t have any. The important point is that beginner photographers are not always ready to invest a lot of money in photographic equipment for weddings, especially if they do not yet have the experience and are not sure whether they will seriously engage in wedding photography. In this case, photo rentals come to the rescue. Why are photo rentals a lifesaver for beginners? Because with an entry level DSLR camera, it is often impossible to get good results in difficult lighting conditions.

And if we are talking about commercial photography of weddings, the cost of rental is built into the cost of shooting and a novice photographer kills several birds with one stone: provides high-quality photos to the couple, which is the most important thing in this whole process, and gets high-quality pictures for the portfolio. It is also important to mention the impression that a photographer with professional equipment and entry level snapshot camera, which now has every 4th person, will make on the guests. In the first case other orders are likely to come from those who have seen such a photographer in work, in the second it is very unlikely. But the main thing is of course the result of the shooting.


Choosing a camera for your wedding photographer


For shooting a wedding, it is best to use a camera with a full-frame sensor, a company you are already familiar with (the same as your current camera, if it is an entry level). Of course, using a full-frame or full-frame camera is a recommendation, and that doesn’t mean you can’t shoot your wedding cropped. Simply, a camera with a full-frame sensor has a number of advantages – higher ISO, which will allow you to take high quality photos with low noise, high sensor resolution, which is useful for framing, and others. Read more about camera models for wedding photographers in future articles, I plan to write an in-depth review of wedding photography equipment. Sign up for updates so you don’t miss out.

Lenses for capturing weddings

Lenses for shooting weddings should meet the following criteria:

  • Be sharp at all focal lengths
  • Be fast, and preferably at a constant aperture of 2.8 (for zoom lenses).
  • Be universal. You might miss the most important thing when you change your lenses, so it’s best to choose 2 quality lenses which cover the most useful focal lengths (for example, 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8) and choose other lenses of your choice. There will also be a separate article about lenses for shooting weddings.

Other equipment

Also good to have:

  • A handy photobag, or backpack, to take all your gear with you.
  • An external flash
  • A reflector to take pictures in sunny weather.
  • Extra batteries for your flash and camera.
  • An extra camera. A wedding is a moment that cannot be reshot, and an indication of good service is being prepared for the unexpected.

This is a basic set of photographic equipment for weddings; everyone adds to it in their own way.

Get some practice

In fact, one of the most important parts of online photography courses is taking pictures of a staged walk, and this is nothing less than taking a love story, which consists to a large extent of staged photographs. You can start with familiar couples, but it is better to practice on strangers, thus developing skills of communication, maintaining a mood and working in conditions close to the battle.

Learn to work with an external flash, in rooms with poor lighting.

An external flash is an essential part of a wedding photographer’s arsenal of techniques, what to do if you don’t have one, you’ll learn next.

Get a knack for reportage photography, shooting celebrations and other events, ideally it is better to practice at feasts to learn how to properly capture people at the table. These skills will be indispensable at a wedding banquet.

Communication, communication and communication again.

The photographer is not a ghost at the wedding. Most of all, during a wedding shooting, young people communicate with the photographer; they expect confidence and hints on what to do and how to do it, often it is necessary to encourage, to calm, to relax, and to make them laugh with a good joke. A wedding is first and foremost a celebration, and a good wedding photographer is a photographer who can keep the festive mood, or even multiply it, and convey it with his photos!

Train yourself to only shoot in Raw – format and learn how to process it.

Make some useful contacts

The experience of other wedding photographers who have the authority of true masters is an effective aid. You can find out about their work on special websites, and from photographs in books and magazines. It is also possible to learn from one or more specialists. Usually, talented people are happy to share the secrets of the profession, and will not necessarily see you as their potential competitors. In return, you will become an assistant for the duration of the wedding shoot and learn along the way.

If you can, start shooting weddings as a second photographer.

So, when you have a “practiced hand” and have successful experience shooting love-stories, reportage shoots in different conditions, experience of communication and shooting strangers, and the more such experience the better, the percentage of failed shoots tends to “0”, then you can move on to shooting in combat conditions and building up your wedding portfolio.

How to put together a portfolio for an inexperienced wedding photographer

Before you make money photographing weddings, offer your services for free as a second photographer. Such an offer can be made to friends, family. During the shooting you get invaluable experience of owning a camera, the choice of lighting and exposure, the use of flash. In addition, you’ll need a wedding photographer who is already paying for his or her services to prove his or her suitability for the job. Choose your most successful photos for your portfolio, which show your style. Your portfolio may be in the form of an album or a professionally created website, but the most important thing is that a high standard of work should be visible.

Order of photography at a wedding

A wedding has a definite order of events. There are standard steps as well as unique, previously invented moments. The photographer should know the order of the events. It will help to plan the shooting and not to miss any important moments.

The main characters of the wedding are the bride and groom. It is to them that most of the photographs should be devoted. Dressing up, the groom’s arrival, the marriage ceremony, the young family’s first dance, a beautiful photo of the bride, kisses under the shouts of “Bitter!”, congratulations, tossing a bouquet – these frames should be in every reportage from the wedding. It is very important that the newlyweds are clearly visible on them, but you should not forget about relatives, friends – for them, this day is also a celebration, many will want to order a photo for themselves as well.

Since weddings often end with a celebratory feast, the photographer should continue filming in the restaurant as well. Ask your clients up to what point your services are needed, usually asking to capture the first dance, the first toasts and some traditional rituals.


The photographer always becomes part of the wedding event and should therefore be proactive and creative in creating a colourful and stylish photo reportage. Know how to play with situations, tell the bride and groom which pose is more natural.

Conducting a wedding shoot is a responsible job, do not rush to offer your services if you are not completely confident in an excellent result.

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