If you are a photographer, it may not matter if you are an amateur, aspiring, or already a professional. Sooner or later, you’re going to be asked (or volunteer) to shoot a wedding. Maybe it’s a paying gig to get your nascent resume going, or maybe it’s something you’ve done so many times you get asked by people you don’t even know. Whatever the case, you need to be ready to give them great photos, which can sometimes prove challenging given the growth in destination weddings held at very specific and picturesque locations.
No matter how experienced or talented you are with a camera, success in destination wedding photography often comes down to preparation. Keep reading to learn five steps you can take in being prepared to capture awesome pictures of a couple’s magical day.
1) Have some idea what the couple is looking for. At least once, sit down with the couple, and possibly anyone else that might be paying for your services. Get specific ideas on a to-do list of photos they want to be taken. You might have ideas of your own, but it might be better to prioritize their needs and wants and then sneak in your shots when you can on the big day to show to them later.
2) Look at other pictures already taken by other photographers at that location. If the wedding destination is one that has been used before, it should not be hard to find images taken at this place previously through Internet search engines. Look at the photos for ideas on the subject matter, framing, lighting, angles, and where to stand for great shots. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here. If you see splendid shots, try to replicate them yourself when you are there. Do leave room for your intuition and creativity, but make sure you also go with what already is known to work.
3) Contact the previous photographers if you can. As you look over photos already taken at a place, see if you can find contact information for those photographers. You never know when you can establish a social media or email connection with a fellow photographer and possibly get some pointers. If they are actual competitors, these queries might get a cold response or none at all from some, but if you send out ten feelers and two photographers respond back, you not only have advice but some possible networking connections within your field of work.
4) Know what the weather is like that time of year. Most wedding events have at least some kind of outdoor component, even if they’re not held outside. Even indoor weddings are going to have the visuals through the windows affected by the weather outside. Know what the possibilities are for that day on the calendar, and be ready to adjust your shots accordingly.
5) Talk to the staff. Most wedding venues are going to have some employees that work the facility. If you get a moment with any of them away from the guests, just check real quick and see if they have any advice or pointers for what photographers at previous weddings have done at that location. Even event workers not employed at the venue, like caterers or musicians, might have done weddings at that locale before and had a few ideas. You also never know when networking with wedding workers will result in potential gigs in the future.
Now that you know these five steps in preparing for destination wedding photography, you can get great pictures that the lucky couple loves, and hopefully a solid reference or two to build your portfolio and professional future with.