Wedding Photography - The Ultimate Guide

Wedding Photography - the Ultimate Guide

Wedding photography is a specialised form of photography that encompasses many different factors that surround a wedding day. Occasionally, photographers will be hired to capture photographs of the couple before marriage such as engagement sessions as well as the coverage of the wedding day and wedding reception.

Photographers have their own styles and own ways of working. Two approaches to wedding photography are the traditional (posed and formal) and photojournalistic approach (natural and candid, capture the moment as they happen) Many wedding photographers will fall somewhere in between the two.

Traditional wedding photography wedding party posed photograph.

Traditional wedding photography wedding party posed photograph.

Traditional wedding photography provides for more classically posed images and a great deal of photographer control during the ceremony.

A Photojournalist style of wedding photography focuses more on candid images with minimal photographer interaction, most couples prefer this approach. A wedding photojournalist typically shoots images quickly capturing the moment as it happens using available light or on-camera flash rather than using traditional, formal posing techniques and studio/speed lights.

Documentary/Candid style of wedding photography, crying bride during her wedding ceremony.

Documentary/Candid style of wedding photography, crying bride during her wedding ceremony.

There is a third style, based on a fashion/editorial based approach. In contemporary/fashion-based wedding photography, a photographer will combine candid images of the events of the day with posed images that are inspired by editorial style photos. This style often involves more innovative and dramatic editing of the images. For example, a photo of the groom and his groomsmen playing cards or smoking a cigar, posed with a lighting set up to create a dramatic look to the overall image.

As a wedding is a once in a lifetime event, the photographer must be prepared and experienced enough to deal with and manage the unexpected. Shooting a wedding is both exhausting and invigorating as the photographer is constantly on the go, looking for good angles and opportunities for candid shots and if the client want posed shots they need to pose the couple, get the perfect lighting and settings before they even take the shot. Communication, experience and planning time-lines before the wedding will help reduce many of the stresses associated with photographing a wedding. The ability to tactfully take charge also helps, particularly when photographing large groups or families (traditional approach). Having a list with all of the expected shots is also a useful tool especially if its important to you to have specific shots. A photographer may work with an assistant who can carry and hold equipment, arrange guests, and assist with clothing adjustments should they need to.

Wedding Albums, prints, other products, types of photos

A wedding photographer will offer packages on the products and services they provide, there is no rule or standard of what they need to offer, however most photographers will provide some or all of the following:

Engagement Photography:

Couple photography in the studio or on location.

Digital Services:

Candid wedding photography, capturing the moment as it happens

Candid wedding photography, capturing the moment as it happens

Most photographers allow clients to purchase additional prints for themselves or their families. Many photographers now provide online sales either through galleries located on their own websites or through partnerships with other vendors.

Some photographers also include high resolution photograph files in their packages. These photographers allow their clients limited rights to reproduce the images for their personal use, while retaining the copyright. Not all photographers release files and those who do will most likely charge a premium for them, since releasing files sometimes means giving up any after wedding print or album sales for the most part. In the cases where photographers release the high resolution images they are usually supplied on CD, DVD or USB Stick however, this depends on the individual companies and it's recommended the client(s) checks what is included with the photographers wedding photography package before signing any contracts.

Wedding Albums:

There are a wide variety of albums and print manufacturers available, and photographers may provide traditional matted albums, digitally designed "coffee table" albums, contemporary flush mount albums, hardbound books, scrapbook style albums, or a combination of any of the above. Albums may be included as part of a pre-purchased package, or they may be added as an after-wedding purchase. Editing and producing wedding albums takes a lot of time and money, therefore to keep costs down photographers may choose not to offer albums.

List of essential formal photographs (Traditional Approach)

This list gives you an idea of the type of photos you could have for your formal photos. You choose what you want from the list, as a rule i tell my clients to choose a maximum of 15-20 as guests do get frustrated especially if they end up standing around for hours having photos taken, choose the most important ones and stick to them.

PARENTS WEDDING PHOTO LIST

1. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents
2. Bride + Bride’s Parents
3. Bride + Bride’s Mom
4. Bride + Bride’s Dad
5. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents 
6. Groom + Groom’s Parents
7. Groom + Groom’s Mom
8. Groom + Groom’s Dad

SIBLINGS WEDDING PHOTO LIST

9. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Siblings
10. Bride + Bride’s Sister(s)
11. Bride + Bride’s Brother(s)
12. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings
13. Bride + Bride’s Mom + Bride’s Sister(s)
14. Groom + Bride’s Dad + Bride’s Brother(s)
15. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Siblings
16. Groom + Groom’s Sister(s)
17. Groom + Groom’s Brother(s)
18. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings
19. Bride + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Sister(s)
20. Groom + Groom’s Dad + Groom’s Brother(s)
21. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings

GRANDPARENTS WEDDING PHOTO LIST

Traditional Wedding Photography portrait

Traditional Wedding Photography portrait

22. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents
23. Bride + Bride’s Grandma(s)
24. Bride + Bride’s Grandpa(s)
25. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Grandparents
26. Groom + Groom’s Grandma(s)
27. Groom + Groom’s Grandpa(s)
28. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents + Groom’s Grandparents
29. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Bride’s Grandparents
30. Bride + Bride’s Mom + Bride’s Sister(s) + Bride’s Grandma(s)
31. Groom + Bride’s Dad + Bride’s Brother(s) + Bride’s Grandpa(s)
32. Bride + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Sister(s) + Groom’s Grandma(s)
33. Groom + Groom’s Dad + Groom’s Brother(s) + Groom’s Grandpa(s)
34. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings + Groom’s Grandparents 
35. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Bride’s Grandparents + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings + Groom’s Grandparents 

WEDDING PARTY PHOTO LIST

36. Wedding Guest Group
37. Bride + Groom + Bride’s Family
38. Bride + Groom + Groom’s Family
39. Bride + Bride’s Family
40. Groom + Groom’s Family
41. Groom + Groomsmen
42. Bride + Groom + Groomsmen
43. Bride + Groomsmen
44. Groom + Bestman
45. Groom + Bride + Bridesmaids
46. Bride + Bridesmaids
47. Groom + Bridesmaids
48. Bride + Maid Of Honour
49. Bride + Groom + Wedding Party