wedding-photography-101As one of the most important day in a couple’s journey, the wedding day is a gigantic feat entrusted on to the official photographer to be captured and immortalized to last a lifetime. Imagine a day as big as it is – with all the teeny tiny details waiting to be shot, with all the running back and forth from breakfast to make up, and with all the key people to capture, how can a single photographer manage to cover every single moment?

First off, tackle the problem bit by bit and take down the entire wedding day into several manageable parts. The good thing about events like this is that the flow is systematic and expected. The entire day is organized from one venue to another, with the scheduled itinerary on hand. Always anticipate the next move of the bride, the groom and whoever is with them, be it the minister or the master of ceremonies.In getting down to the gist of the wedding day, shot lists may differ from one photographer to another. Some prefer to take on a more traditional approach on the classic wedding shots, while others simply shoot moments as it unfolds naturally. Here is a basic wedding photography checklist of what clients may expect out of the day’s coverage and the important moments which are not to be missed.

During the preparation, highlight the tense emotions of nervousness, excitement and bliss as the bride and the groom dress up for the most awaited I do’s. The key shots are as follows:

  • The bride and the bridesmaids without make up and during make up. Throw in the mirror shots and capture moments as the girls get all giddy with excitement.
  • The sparkling white dress. This will be the only time that the dress is perfectly clean and luxuriously wrinkle-free, so snap away and let the gown’s glory be celebrated before it is donned.
  • The bridal accessories. As with the gown, a lot of money and effort were given to orchestrate the most amazing outfit for the bride. Shine the limelight on the little details, like the bouquet, shoes, veil, earrings, and other accessories.
  • The groom and his gang. Getting suited up, the groom with the boys are a sure fun to shoot with. Play around with the setting and also get a few portrait shots of the groom with the speech, the best man with the rings, and the parents putting on the groom’s pin.
  • The proud father and the emotional mother. Great shots of these precious moments are priceless. The formal, posed shot is great for the picture frame by the living room but then it is in the stolen shots of the mom tearing up as the bride embraces her father before heading out for the church.

At the church or at the ceremony venue, everyone might be all excited for the breath-taking flight of the bride towards the groom.

  • Details of the venue and decors. Wide-angled shots of the empty pews with the breath-taking arrangements piled along the aisle, these are a few of the details which the couple would greatly appreciate since they aren’t able to take a better look at these during the day itself.
  • The bridal car. As the car arrives, be prepared to take a quick shot as the bride looks out of the car window and flashes a winning smile. Other shots may be the father of the bride helping her out of the car, the bridal entourage scurrying about to prepare for the march, and the bride as she waits behind the church doors – plus points for a wind-blown veil effect.
  • The march. This one is tricky, as there are so many great scenes uncovering the moment the bride steps into the venue. Basically, capture the bride’s silhouette from the front and then take a wide shot of the bride with the entire crowd looking at her as she takes flight. The groom’s reaction is a must shot, and then add in other emotional shots of the parents tearing up or the bride’s sister wiping off her tear. Be alert that as the bride reaches the foot of the altar, her father will hand her off to the groom and this is another key moment you would not want to miss.
  • The vows and the rings. During the entire ceremony, roam around and play with the scene with the use of different angles, lenses, and compositions. Don’t forget to take detail or macro shots of the rings inside the church and be prepared to rush up front during the exchange of vows.
  • The first kiss. Capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment and be 100% sure about the shot, this usually goes into a frame or hanged by their bedside. Take a second to capture the crowd’s reaction to the kiss, too.
  • The exit. Know when they are going to march out and get a great spot directly at the end of the aisle. If the crowd tosses petals or confetti, both wide angle and tight shots of the bride and groom smiling while running out of the venue are wonderful money shots.

The last and most exciting part of the wedding day is during the reception. Most couples do a post-nuptial shoot in another venue along with the bridal entourage, while other brides soak up the time in their grand wedding dress as they plan to change into another comfier dress for the dinner. Either way, don’t forget to allot time in being early to the reception venue and taking shots of the details and the decors before the guests arrive. Here’s a quick rundown of the shots taken during the reception.

  • The venue. Take a snap shot of the decorated venue without guests at first and then filled with guests afterwards. Play with the elements of flowers, candles, bows, signage, and other adornments.
  • A must – cake, table setting, centerpiece, favors, room’s focal point. The couple spent a huge effort on perfect each and every one of these so be sure to give them credit by making a piece of art out of their masterpiece.
  • The entrance of the newlyweds. Be ready with a flash as most entrances are done in dim lighting or with a use of a spotlight on the couple.
  • Highlights of the evening. Toasts, first dance, father-daughter dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, and other important events should still be documented. These are optional as some couples do away with the traditional way of going on with their feast while others incorporate rituals of their own culture.
  • The party and the exit. Still as essential as other events during the wedding day, the bride and groom partying with their friends is another great opportunity to snag a few intimate photos of the couple. Plus, if you stick around longer, some couple plan amazing exits like a horse-driven carriage or a helicopter ride.

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