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How to Photograph Professionally at a Wedding

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    • 1). Provide the couple with an engagement shoot to practice photographing them. An engagement shoot will help you figure out which angles and what kind of lighting work well and will allow you to experiment with new techniques using the couple you will be photographing at the wedding. Do not hesitate to take many shots.

    • 2). Sit down with the couple to sort through their engagement session photos. Pay attention and make a list of which angles and styles they like. Ask them to give you feedback on what kind of photos to avoid. For example, the couple may not enjoy overposed photos and prefer more candid shots. Make a list with the couple of must-have shots for their wedding day. These could include photos of the bride getting ready, the wedding party after the ceremony and the bride and groom leaving the reception.

    • 3). Photograph as many pre-wedding parties as possible. Engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners are prime places to practice taking unposed shots of the couple's friends and family. Candid shots are essential when photographing a reception, and you will need to practice getting them.

    • 4). Review the candid shots you took at pre-wedding parties and take note of what worked best. A couple talking discreetly at a table, a group of friends laughing over drinks and the bride's grandparents dancing at the engagement party are all examples of photo opportunities you will want to capture on the big day.

    • 5). Photograph the wedding rehearsal in high-speed mode. Because the wedding rehearsal is an exact copy of the real ceremony, it will allow you to see and time exactly when each bridal party member will make her entrance and when the bride and groom will kiss. Move around and experiment with different angles for capturing each person's entrance. Review these photos and note what worked and what didn't.

    • 6). Use your notes for photographing the real ceremony. Do not be afraid to move around, but avoid blocking the altar and the aisle runner.

    • 7). Photograph the reception. Consult with the band leader or master of ceremonies to get a timeline of the reception events. This way you will know when the first dance, the cake cutting and the bouquet toss will take place. Use high-speed shooting to capture as many frames as possible during these events. Do not be afraid to take hundreds of shots during the reception. The more photos you have to choose from, the happier the bride and groom will be.

    • 8). Review the wedding photos and make necessary changes using a computer program such as Adobe Photo Shop. Cropping photos is often essential. Experiment with which photos look best in color and which look best in black and white. Throw out the photos that don't work.

    • 9). Put all of the wedding photos on a CD for the couple to sort through and choose their favorites.

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