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Shooting Your First Wedding: Do’s and Don’ts

You feel that you have qualified as a photographer, and you now have the skills and the equipment to shoot weddings.

It is good to have such a degree of confidence, but you have to remember that weddings are a special genre of photography – given the emotional and financial investments couples devote to their special day, you have no room to do a rushed or inferior job.

To help you get going on the right footing, here are some helpful do’s and don'ts for wedding photography.

The Do’s

Start as a second shooter

The fact that you can point, focus and click does not make you qualified to become a successful wedding photographer. As mentioned earlier, this is a special genre of photography, and there are certain details you must know how to get right before you start accepting people’s money to shoot their weddings.

The best way to get your feet wet with wedding photography is to begin by being an assistant or a second shooter to an experienced wedding photographer. As an experienced professional, they will know various venues that create magical and memorable photographs such as Vines of the Yarra Valley and Vogue Ballroom. By becoming a second shooter you will not only have the opportunity to learn the craft of wedding photography without the pressure, but you will also discover beautiful venues with gorgeous backdrops to help shape your wedding day photos.

Always have an assistant

Once you become comfortable with your ability to cover weddings successfully, its a great idea to consider hiring an assistant or a second shooter. Wedding photography is usually a big gig, and you will appreciate it if you have extra hands to help you cover multiple angles and bring more perspective to the shots. Second shooters are also great scouters, and they will help recognise great photo opportunities or backdrops to give your images the winning edge.

Meet with the couple before the wedding day and create a shoot list

It is vital for you to understand the couple’s desires for their wedding photos and the best way to know about this is to meet them before the wedding day. It will give you a chance to understand their expectations, learn more about them, and most importantly, create a “shoot list.”

A shoot list is simply a list of the photos or the segments during the wedding which must be captured. They may include the entry of the bride into the venue, exchanging of the vows, the first dance, the cutting of the cake; and any other memorable moment the couple might find important.

Have a contract with the couple

Wedding photography is a business and you must approach it as such, especially if you are going to shoot your very first wedding. A signed contract between you and the couple will spell out the nature of your engagement so that every party knows what is expected of them on the wedding day. It is a good way to avoid disputes in the future.


Don’t shoot when you are not ready - there are no do-overs

Don’t accept the responsibility of shooting a wedding when you are not ready. Not only must you be confident to shoot a wedding, but you must have professional quality equipment, be ready for all lighting and weather situations and you must have an understanding on how the day will unfold. For example, if the ceremony is to be held in a church it's a good idea to approach the minister and ask them what is acceptable in respect to where you can stand to take photographs in their church, each church and minister is different - so do your homework, don't get caught out.

Don’t take only posed photos

Whilst everybody loves the traditional posed wedding photos, sometimes the

best photos aren't posed. When in the reception venue for instance, scan for opportunities from the crowd and try to get great shots when no one is expecting.

Don’t rely on one camera

For success in wedding photography, it is imperative to have at least 2 cameras and it's recommended that you have multiple shooters. One camera is never enough, it is difficult to cover everything happening a wedding as a single photographer. Strive to work with assistants and multiple cameras.


Did you enjoy our do’s and don’ts for your first wedding photo shoot? It is really important that you know exactly what is expected from you from such and assignment and that is why you need to know what you should do and what you should avoid. If you found this article interesting, kindly share it with your friends online. Also let us know your comments in the section below.

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Bacchus Marsh Victoria, AUSTRALIA