(Closed) Help! I’M going to be the photographer!!! What are your must-haves?

posted 9 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
7693 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

That is AWESOME!!!Congratulations!

Definitely try to get a picture of the bride with each of her parents – together and separately and make sure it is full length

Make sure to get a shot of the bride and her father (or whomever) walking down the aisle

Dont forget family photos!

Try to get photos of guests not just on the dance floor/socializing but also posed at the table – if the bride and groom are around grab the bride and groom for the shots

Detail shots – try to notice EVERY detail because if its there the bride probably wants to remember it

Rings – my photographer totally forgot to do a shot of mine and my husbands ring together and I was a little disappointed because Ive seen some really creative shots with this! This one is fine because I can easily replicate it later!

Take LOTS of different shots of bride and groom together – try to find various places for them to take pictures at for a change in scenery


I can probably think of more but those are the most important in my mind!!

Post # 4
739 posts
Busy bee

Congrats, I don’t have specific shots for you but a few tips non the less.

Make sure you have a back up camera, lens and flashs. You never know when something will go down. Make sure to pack extra camera and flash batteries and CF cards. Shoot in RAW format. Wear comfortable shoes you will be on your feet ALL day. Back up your photos in at least TWO spots as soon as you get home.

If you need to rent equipment I recommend lensprotogo.com

Good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of wedding photography!!

Post # 5
5398 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’d ask the bride and groom what kinds of shots they want.  I’m sure they’d really appreciate you asking.

Post # 6
1403 posts
Bumble bee

Given the situation, I think there are more important things to consider than the type of pictures to take.

1. Should you shoot this wedding? – With this being your first gig, you will most likely miss important shots that only last for a split second.  Does this match the customers expectations.

2.  Equipment – Do you have the right equipment?  You mentioned getting a new camera and 2 lenses.  Make sure you test out your new equipment and become familiar with your new camera’s controls.  Do you have FAST lenses for low light?  Do you have a speedlight?  Do you know how to bounce flash?  MOST IMPORTANTLY…..do you have a backup body and backup lenses, flash, memory cards,etc?  Murphy’s law says you WILL have a problems when you are not prepared for them.  If your camera craps out, will the customer be ok with it?

3.  Contract – Make sure you have a contract that lays out your scope of work and the customers expectations.  Even if this is a friend of a friend, write out a contract.  Realize if you screw up there is potential to lose friends here.  Generally friends and family don’t give you the respect they’d give a hired professional or even another free photographer who’s not family.

4.  Payment – Are you getting paid?  If the purpose of this wedding is either to help a friend out or to get yourself experience to be able to get paid for doing it, in my opinion you shouldn’t ask for payment, especially because once you’re being paid, expectations are raised.  Can you live up to what you are charging?

Post # 7
1401 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I got my pictures back from my wedding and am in the process of putting together my own album right now actually.  My absolute musts are:

– Close-up picture of every object of significance: rings on pillow, bride’s dress and shoes, cake, bouquets, etc etc.  These pictures are best taken before the ceremony and just before the reception.

– All the posed pictures my relatives will expect to receive a copy of to put on their wall.  Lists of posed pictures are really easy to google for.

– All the “walking up the aisle” pictures – BM/GM couples, flower girl, ring bearer, and me with my dad.

– Close-up of the exchange of rings – very hard to do because the photographer is usually standing pretty far away from the couple, so have your telephoto lens ready!

– A million pictures of the “you may kiss the bride” moment.

– All the events at the reception – best man/maid of honor speeches, first dance, cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss, etc.  Coordinate with the DJ or MC so you know in advance when events are about to happen so you don’t miss anything.

– Pictures of people while they’re eating are not necessary LOL.

Post # 8
5283 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

Every detail! I told my photographer “details” but his idea of details and mine was completely different.

So take some time to go through the ceremony & reception sites and, when in doubt take at least one close of pic of every little detail.

Post # 10
10363 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@gocubbies: You don’t have a flash?


If this is a wedding that has anything happening at night or in rooms without great light, you HAVE to have a flash. The average person doesn’t understand what they are giving up by not having a flash. If you work as a photographer, do you not know someone you can borrow a flash from? Is all your equipment your comanies that you use on a daily basis, and that is why you don’t have a good off-camera flash?

(I’ve shot a couple weddings and am also new, so I understand you excitement. I also know what is going to happen if you don’t have a flash, though)

Post # 11
4122 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Get a flash. Take the hit and rent one for a week, and spend the entire weeek before hand practicing in different situations. Indoors and outdoors at night, Small and large rooms. High and low ceilings. Dark rooms (i.e. dark woods carpets paints) and light rooms (white walls ceilings etc). I CAN. NOT. EMPHASIZE. ENOUGH. Get a flash. It get’s dark around 4:30pm now… you need a flash!

Bring at LEAST 32 GB or more. New people get very trigger happy, which is OK! It’s a good thing, but you will probably take 2-4,000 images (yourself) and RAW images are very large. The safest thing you can do is to NOT reuse cards. Keep them all organzied, and upload and back up as soon as you get home. Also, before you head out, format each card in the camera it will be used in. ALWAYS format your cards before each shoot. I’m of the 4GB or smaller camp… I use a few 8GB’s but they scare me. If something happens to a card you DONT want the entire wedding on one card or only 2 or 3. So, try and keep your cards in the 4GB range. A 4GB card get’s me about 228 images RAW on a D3.

Synch your two cameras right before you start shooting. You want both camera’s clocks to be on the same time down to the second. Set up the clocks and a “1, 2, 3, ENTER” together ๐Ÿ™‚ When it comes to sort the two camera’s trust me, it will help to be able to sort by time taken so it is all in order and together.

As for what to shoot… Anything and everything you see. Each detail, each smile, each hug, each crazy move on the dance floor (which you wont be able to get without a flash). ANYTHING that happens, shoot it ๐Ÿ™‚ If you lay eyes on an object, the bride thought long and hard about what and where to place it, so take it’s photo ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 12
12 posts

Details, details, details!  I will be doing lots of DIY so I would be heartbroken if my photog didn’t catch the details.

And of course, people smiling is always the BEST. Love it when they’re caught off guard, not posed.

Lots of good advice here it looks like, good luck

Post # 13
1995 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I recently was a first time back up shooter with my husband.  First of all even if it’s a small wedding it will be very physically and mentally challenging.  Prepare! 

1. yourself: get good night sleep, wear comfy clothing & shoes, tie hair back, bring snacks, wear watch, have cell #’s programmed in phone, cell charger, list of photos you need in your pocket (inspiration, details, names etc).  Wear pants with pockets!!!  necessary for lens caps, phone etc.  have schedule of day w/times, locations, names etc.  Know where closest walmart or radio shack is.  bring umbrella.  Know who has cameras at the wedding or friends/neighbors nearby.  Know the directions to everywhere and when you’re suppose to show up.

2. triple check your gear.  bring back up everything!  test everything!  batteries, cards, cords, chargers anything!  bring tape to mark places on ground, good carrying bag.  have a back up plan.  Make sure you have enough memory!  Or be able to safely transfer to laptop.  If you don’t have an item beg, borrow and plead if you have friends who do.  Including extra bodies, cards, batteries, lenses, reflectors, flashs, lights etc.  Even 1 light in a big room with umbrella set to slave could save your entire set of reception photos! 

3. take charge!  People are VERY frazzled wedding day.  Nerves, excitment, alcohol, family dynamics, new people, etc produce a lot of crazy people who will not tell you what to do.  They expect you to do your job without involving them unless that is to tell them where to stand.  Unless there is a wedding coordinator YOU must keep time! 

4. Be friendly and professional.  Don’t feel afraid to tell people where to stand or where to look, smile etc.  Ask someone (MOH or family member) to help if you need assistance in family/group photos.  Tell everyone especially the bride they look amazing!  This is great to hear from your photographer!  They’ll love it!  Tell them the photos look great as you’re taking them.

5. Be Confident: Always (pretend or) act like you know what you’re doing.  Technical questions shouldn’t be voiced out loud for guests to hear.  Never look down at your screen and make a yuck face – there is always something looking at you!  For every good photo there will be 10 more bad ones so don’t dwell on those.  Act like this isn’t your first (even if people know it is).  If you run out of battery or memory during the middle of something and you can’t step away, don’t put your camera down – fake it.  I mean if you REALLY can’t get to your bag – like you’re in the middle of everyone and it’d be clear you’ll miss that shot.

6. Be one step ahead: know which lens or setting you’ll use when they do X.  First kiss, first look, first dance, walk back down the aisle etc.  Judge the lighting and know what setting you’ll use when it happens.  B/c it’ll happen before you know it and have a chance to think! 

7. make sure you’re on the same page as the bride.  timing, details, logistics, expectations, rainy day plan, etc.  Speak with her before so you get the info and can prepare.


Post # 15
739 posts
Busy bee

G E T  A  F L A S H !!!!!! 

Go rent one if you need to. Make sure to give your self a couple extra days to play around with it and google “bouncing your flash”  DO NOT expect to just put your camera on a high ISO and then “fix” them later in PS you and your friend will be very disappointed. It is December you are going to have almost no natural light to work with. Your photos will be grainy and blurry at best if you don’t. Trust us on this.You can rent a flash for 10 days for around $80 is that to much in compared to giving a bride crappy photos from her wedding?

Also I second the contract thing. This makes sure you and your friend are on the same page and you both know what you are getting into. Outline that you are a new photographer and basically what you get is what you get. Also what you are going to deliver to her, like a disk of the images and how long it will take for you to get them to her. You also want to put something about not being responsible if an “act of god” stops you from shooting the wedding or if you get hurt on the job or hurt someone else.

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