Wedding Portrait Photography Tips – 10 Essential Advice

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A decent wedding retains the most ravishing memories in one’s lifetime. Everyone envisions that their wedding day will be foxy- the cake, the music, the flowers, the guests, the venue but what makes these memories live forever is the artistic photographs. You own them yourself so it’s your key responsibility to make them as charming as possible.

As much as the wedding day is for the bride and the groom, a lot of emphasis on portraits is placed on the bride. If you are new to photography or simply looking for some tips to improve your portraits you would notice that shooting a wedding is one of the toughest assignments that a photographer can take. To ease it out, we have compiled a list of wedding portrait photography tips and key mistakes that photographers make.

wedding photo

10 Essential Wedding Portrait Photography Tips:

Tip 1: Wear comfy shoes

As a wedding photographer, you are going to walk like you never before. At the wedding reception, the “sharp-pointed” might look good for you, but in the field, you will be the grumpiest photographer on the planet. The essence of comfy shoes is to make you flexible at any angle. At times, you will have to slide, bend or even lie down to capture every detail.

Tip 2: Wedding dresses are white

Yes! It’s true, and it has been that way for over a century now. In this case, a professional photographer will need good positive exposure compensation for the dress to stay white and not gray or blurred. This is because the light meter in your camera will see the white dress and translate it as bright. Instead, the camera will tend to offset this large “bright” image and make the exposure of the dress too dark. Only positive exposure compensation can fix this.

Tip 3: Rent a second camera

This is a big one! You can just imagine the horror of a critical machine failure while shooting a high-dollar event. It does not only bring embarrassment and loss of steady income but the loss of one of the most important virtues of “trust”. The small price of renting a camera for the event is a huge benefit

Tip 4: Use a wide aperture

For a narrow depth of field, the use of the widest aperture that your lens permits can create a very prepossessing effect for wedding photography. This helps to keep the subject in focus while keeping the background blurred. To make the most of the ambient lighting when using flash, try a shutter speed that is as slow as possible; 1/15 to 1/25.

Tip 5: Get out of the way

You have to keep in mind that the day is about them and not about you. Wedding couples want a photographer who is respectful, passionate and cheerful. It is possible to be everywhere and invisible at the same time. This is especially true for the toast and the ceremony. To get the job done here, throw on a longer lens and give them some space. A high-end camera is recommended here for the long shots.

Tip 6: Make friends with the organizers

The organizers are the guys who planned the entire event. They know what’s actually happening as opposed to what should be happening. They can tip you off about who is going to be where and when so that you can capture everything and be at the right place and at the right time.

Tip 7: Shoot the landscape of the venue before the event

Show up early before the event and take some nice shots of the venue. The couple chose the venue because they like it and you must capture the dazzling landscape beautified with the wedding flowers and balloons to be included in the album. The butterfly effect these little things can make a huge difference, you can share some of the photos with the venue owner and you might end up getting more referrals.

Tip 8: Use the wind

Be wise, if it’s windy face the people and get lots of movement without blur. The bride’s dress, in particular, can look so arresting when there is a breeze. Its pattern and lines will hover steadily with the movement of the air. However, be careful here especially when changing the lens on a DSLR as dirt may blow into the camera body.

Tip 9: Keep an eye for the little, unexpected moments

Unexpected moments are always the most fantastic in photography. At the wedding, brides love it when you photograph her sharing special moments with her parents or husband. Capture those moments when she smiles or walks like a model. Capture that moment when her nephews are dancing secretly or that moment when the kids are replicating the bride’s part.

Tip 10: Avoid shooting when people are eating

Don’t take pictures of people eating. They look awkward and no one will ever thank you for it. You can take some nice shots of the food, snacks refreshments but pause when they start eating. Save the memory here, you can even park your camera and enjoy the food as you wait for the speeches which provide good opportunities for nice shots.

3 Common Mistakes every Photographer must avoid:

Mistake 1: Poor exposure

The white dress is one of the most important aspects and one that gives photographers a headache! Why so? Overexposing it turns it into a uniform mass of bright white with no pattern or detail, underexposing it makes it look grubby. Setting a good positive exposure helps reduce noise and capture every detail.

Mistake 2: Avoid messy background

As a professional, you must ensure that the photograph is as stunning as possible. You should always identify a clean background that will be impactful on the photo. A dirty background can make a huge difference to a shot and make it less appealing.

Mistake 3: Forgetting a shot

One of the key reasons that the couple chose you is because they trust in you, or your reputation led them to you. It’s, therefore, imperative that you capture all the details and go the extra mile. Capture the ring, speak to them first and gather a list of guests to be photographed, etc.


Best lenses for wedding photography:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX

Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM


Don’t use one prime lens only!:

Always I use Sigma 24-70 mm in wedding photography, but sometimes I use prime lenses because of their wide aperture compared to the 24-70 mm and also because of their lightweight, so if you are going to use a prime lens don’t take one only either to take with it the 24-70 or take 2 prime lenses with different focal length for example you can combine both the 85 mm & 35 mm or if you need a prime lens on budget you can use the Canon 24 mm f/2.8 in replacement of the 35 mm as it is less expensive than it.

Walk through this video to sum things up

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  • Hi,
    I’m not a professional photographer taking wedding portrait photos, but I love your tips.

    They apply to even the novice photographer like myself. I always enjoy reading helpful strategies to take better shots, and find that the more I read, the better my shots turn out.

    I even think many of your suggestions can be used with many other events and/or settings.


  • On our wedding day, our photographer did all of what you mentioned here. Going the extra mile was definitely one of the reasons we picked her. We took our shots in the woods which she really capitalized on. Not missing any moments which we can enjoy 1 year on. Thanks for the tips.

  • Hi Ehab,

    A friend of mine had her wedding on an island several years ago and invited friends and family from all over the world. The weather was beautiful and she had never looked more gorgeous.

    The photographer took loads of great pictures but something went wrong with the technical side and it turned out, they didn’t have a backup. Not a single shot was recovered. It was very disappointing.

    Now, my friend and her husband could only rely on smartphone and Facebook images (thanks to relatives and friends) to recall their memorable wedding day.

  • Hi Ehab

    For such an auspicious and wonderful occasion I could not agree with you more about photographs. They are for keepsake and certainly need to taken in the highest of quality.

    Such awesome tips here, that I wish my photographer had studied prior to my engagement day. About 95% of the pictures came out with an amber blur on the top of the photos and he was late!!! I think you can add punctuality to your list of photographer’s mistakes.

    Thank god it was not my wedding day. There would be three very unhappy people.

    This was nice reading, really enjoyed it.

    • Hi Roopesh, sad to hear that mistake was happened in your engagement day!, thanks for your input and yeah you are right date commitment is very important every photographer should consider.

  • Great read! A lot of information on here I wouldn’t of even thought of. i really enjoyed the 3 common mistakes section. I would of never have known about the poor exposure when it comes to the white wedding dress. My brother is trying to get into photography. I’ll definitely lead him to this site.

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