Weddings are special events, so it’s only natural that the bride and groom will want some pictures to remind them of their wonderful day many years later. They might have the wedding dress sorted and some pretty long sleeve maxi dresses for the bridesmaids, but if there is no photographer, there will be no mementoes of the day.
The problem is that professional wedding photographers charge a fortune for their services, and if the happy couple have blown their budget on a designer dress and fancy venue, there won’t be much left to pay someone to take the photos.
It isn’t usual for amateur photographers to be asked to take photos of a friend’s wedding. On the one hand you will probably feel immensely flattered, but on the other, the thought of being responsible for a couple’s wedding photos is probably terrifying. But don’t panic: with the aid of the following tips, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
Find out well in advance what type of photos the couple are expecting. Do they have a theme in mind? Who needs to be in the group shots? Make a list of the main photos you need to take and tick them off the list as the day goes on. It is also helpful to have a frank conversation about the happy couple’s expectations before the big day, and to remind them you are only an amateur and therefore you can’t guarantee the final results.
Know Your Equipment
There is nothing worse than a photographer who doesn’t have a clue how to use his expensive camera. By all means buy a new camera for the gig, but make sure you practice lots before you have to set up group shots under pressure or it will all go horribly wrong.
Scout the Venue
There is nothing wrong with informal, spontaneous wedding photos, but it is sensible to check out the venue in advance of the big day, so you know where to stand and have a good idea what the lighting is going to be like.
Take Hundreds of Photos
Take far more photos than you actually need. The more photos you shoot, the more likely you are to end up with some decent shots to hand over to the bride and groom after the event.
Since you are not getting paid for your services, don’t forget to have fun on the day. Make a point of talking to people. The more involved in the celebrations you are, the easier it will be to capture the best shots.
You should also carry backup equipment, just in case your main camera dies or you run out of storage space on your memory card. And once you get home, back up your photos into the cloud or on to an external hard-drive, just to ensure you don’t lose everything if you suffer a hardware failure.
Capturing a friend or relatives wedding memories is a magical opportunity, but if it all goes wrong and you don’t end up with many decent photos, don’t lose heart. After all, you are not a professional!