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Top Ten Tips for Wedding Photographers

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 2/18/2009

Shooting wedding photographs takes a little practice and a lot of organization. But, you may ask how to you start taking your first wedding photographs. Well, learn the art and the science of great big day shots.

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    You've been picked to be the wedding photographer for your friend's big day, or you've been hired to capture those perfect moments. Whatever the case, the art of wedding photography needs to be learned before you miss or mess up those memorable shots. So, here are the top ten tips that you should know as a wedding photographer.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #1: Coordinate With the Family

    First of all, you need to coordinate with the family and the couple to see who will be in charge of gathering up everyone for those necessary group shots and above all which shots should be taken. A shot list can be very helpful when trying to navigate the big day. This way you don't miss any of the necessary shots. You can simply check them off as you go.

    But, having a designated family member to help you set up the shots on your shot list is a must. Have one or two family members wrangle everyone together when it is time to take a picture from the list.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #2: Scope Out the Locations


    Secondly, it may be helpful to check out the location with the bride and groom. You can see what the lighting is like and whether or not you have permission to use flash photography. Plus, you can get some candid shots before the big day.

    Scope out what would make for good backgrounds. Find places where there's not going to be a lot of activity or debris.

    (Click on images to enlarge)

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    Wedding Photography Tip #3: Come Prepared

    Always come prepared with everything that you need. If you have to, invest in an additional memory cards and batteries. You want to take pictures on the highest resolution and compression as possible. You can always crop pictures later, but you cannot go back and blow up shots that were too small.Chris 

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    Wedding Photography Tip #4: Tripods Can Be A Life Saver

    Bringing a tripod will ensure that your pictures are not blurry, and you can even take some self-timer pictures this way. If you have a camera with image stabilization technology, this can also help keep your pictures from being fuzzy.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #5: Experiment With Camera Modes

    Use the flash-on mode. This is probably the greatest secret that most every wedding photographer knows. This will expose your background first and highlight your subject. It's great for those scenes in the garden or during outside weddings.

    You can also try to use diffused light. Either learn to reflect the flash, or decrease the light with a flash diffuser. You should definitely keep your flash with you, especially when taking shots with a lot of shadows. You need to add some fill flash to the shot.

    Try shooting in the RAW. It gives you shots that you can manipulate later.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #6: Bring Help

    Bring either an additional camera or an assistant. You can't be everywhere at once, and you don't want to disturb the guests. An assistant can help you with this. You can obtain more candid shots. While you're taking a group shot, your assistant could be shooting the dance floor. But, if you only can obtain another camera, put a wide-angle lens on one and a long-angle lens on the other.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #7: The Little Things Count


    Try to capture everything that you can. Be sure to take pictures of the flowers, the dress and the cake. These will be very memorable to the couple later.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #8: Be Like the Shadow

    Try to be unobtrusive. Turn off the sound on your camera. Try to move as little as possible. You want to get your shots, but you also don't want to ruin the event for the couple and their families.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #9: Group Shots


    Take plenty of group shots. You want to make sure that everyone is included in the photos. Take shots from high up to better see the faces of everyone. Your volunteers can help you gather the group together.

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    Wedding Photography Tip #10: Have Fun

    Finally, have fun. Weddings are supposed to be fun. A doughty photographer is not needed to dampen the mood. Smile.

    To make the night even more exciting, bring your laptop, download the shots that you have and display them for everyone to see. It will add a bit more excitement to the evening.

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    Further reading...

    If you'd like to learn more on how to take the best wedding photos, click here. This article series will provide you with tips on what to consider before the wedding, during the wedding and after the wedding. Also, you'll be provided with helpful ideas, advice and additional information to better your wedding photography skills.