8 More Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing Wedding Ceremonies

 

There are so many things to consider when photographing wedding events, especially the ceremony itself. We gave you 10 essential tips in a previous article and here are 8 more to help you prepare for the big event: 

weddingaisle 8 More Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing Wedding Ceremonies1. The presence of ambient light will provide extra illumination to your images and they can also certainly add to the mood to the image.  Candles or sunlight streaming from the church windows can boost visual appeal. 

2. Keep a shot list of the peoplthat you have to shoot during the ceremony aside from the bride and groom such as the parents, close friends, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. This will keep you focused especially when there is a large number of people who have attended. Familiarize yourself with their faces so they can be easy to spot in the crowd.  

3. Make sure that you are ready outside the church when the bride arrives since it is an important moment that you cannot miss. Take shots of her getting out of the car with her father, and some poses of her and the bridal entourage by the church doorway. Try to be quick, though, usually two to three minutes is sufficient. 

weddingchurch 8 More Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing Wedding Ceremonies4. Photograph the bride as she walks up the aisle with her father. Also remember to take pictures of the guests’ reaction and the groom’s expression as he looks at his bride. Your job is not simply to record the sequence of events but also to capture the strong emotions and vibrant atmosphere permeating the room. 

5. Also keep a shot list of the essential key moments in the ceremony such as when the bride and groom meet at the altar, when they light the wedding candles, the exchange of vows, the exchange of wedding rings and the kiss after the priest pronounces them as man and wife. 

6. Be discreet. A wedding ceremony is a solemn occasion and no one would like it if you were walking back and forth in front of everyone just to get shots of the bride and groom. Find a position where you have a good view of the couple and the guests without them noticing you too much. For example, during the exchange of wedding rings, zoom in on the rings and the hands from a spot by the aisle. Do not go up to them by the altar just so you can get a good close up shot. 

weddingout 8 More Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing Wedding Ceremonies7. During the signing of the register, take shots of the priest with the newlyweds, as well as the entourage. The bride and groom might be the center of attention in the ceremony but remember to take as much shots of everyone else, especially the special people that the bride and groom would want to have lots of photos of as well. 

8. As the bride and groom walk down the aisle and outside of the church, this is a moment full of photo opportunities. Make sure you have shots of the couple’s faces in close up, full body shots of them walking out the church door, and the expressions of the guests as they throw rice and congratulate the couple. Remember to adjust camera settings for outdoor exposures.

 

 


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10 Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing the Wedding Ceremony

 

 

The ceremony is considered the most important part of the whole wedding event. A lot of preparation would have been done into making the ceremony perfect, and every detail carefully arranged by several people, from the wedding planner to the mother of the bride. As the photographer, it is your responsibility to be as prepared and meticulous when recording the ceremony. Here are several suggestions to guide you when shooting the wedding ceremony:

 weddingnew5 10 Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing the Wedding Ceremony1. If the wedding is big, with hundreds of guests and a wide church area, it would be an advantage to have an assistant. Someone who can help carry all your gear and help you guide people in group shots means you will have more time to focus on the actual picture taking.

2. Having an extra photographer would also be a plus. You will have more shots to choose from and give to the newlyweds. Another boon is that you both can cover two strategic areas in the church area rather than just one. 

3. Try different angles and perspectives when shooting from the aisle to give greater visual impact. Being in a room filled with people allows you to take several shots that include a lot of guests in one shot. Since they will be seated for most of the time, you have more opportunities to set up your composition.

 4. Lights from a flash can be distracting so ask the priest’s permission beforehand if you can use a flash. Never fire the flash repeatedly at the bride and groom’s faces. This is one sure way to irk them and not want to refer you in the future.

weddingfingers 10 Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing the Wedding Ceremony

5. Whenever you are not using a tripod, use camera settings that will not capture camera shake. Keep your shutter speed to at least 1/60 because any slower than that will increase the effects of camera shake.

6. Take note of the aperture size since this has a direct impact on depth of field. If you want to take a shot of only the bride and groom without including the guests behind them, you can use a shallower depth of field to blur out the background. Alternatively, you can set it to keep as much of the scene in focus. 

7. Use a long lens such as a 70-200 zoom to keep track of the movements of the key people in the wedding. This way you won’t be interfering with the actual ceremony and be as discreet as possible. weddinghold 10 Essential Tips to Follow When Photographing the Wedding Ceremony

8. If you will be using fill flash indoors, also use a flash diffuser to soften the intensity of the light. 

9. Use memory cards with lots of memory space so you won’t need to change it during the ceremony. 4GIG or 8GIG memory cards will do, especially if you are shooting in RAW since that would create huge image files. 

10. Check out the church before the ceremony so you have a good idea of its layout, where you can set up your tripod, which areas would make great backgrounds, and what the lighting is like so you know what kind of extra light sources you will need to use.


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Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding Ceremony

A wedding may just be the most important day in a bride’s life and nothing should go wrong for either you or the bride and groom. Always come prepared when you’re hired for an event. Create a set schedule based on the wedding time frame. Make sure you know beforehand the specific time, location and most especially the key places where you can position the bride and groom as well as family members and the wedding entourage for portrait shots.

weddingnew Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyHave the right equipment that will allow you to cover the whole wedding without encountering any problems. Make sure you have back-up gear that will cover any emergency you may come across. The usual wedding photographer’s equipment include around three camera bodies and all kinds of lenses from prime lenses to telephoto lenses to specialty lenses such as a macro or a fisheye lens. It also includes off-camera flash units, portable reflectors and diffusers, extra battery packs and memory cards. 

weddingnew2 Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyOn the actual wedding day, the bride and groom, as well as family and friends tend to have many things on their mind and fail to appreciate the little things such as ‘getting ready’ for the event,. It would be nice to capture these moments for a nice keepsake. The ‘getting ready’ part mostly involves candid shots beginning with make-up and styling of the hair for the bride. It would be ideal to mix colored as well as black and white photos for variations in effects and impact. As much as you are engrossed taking shots of everyone, they are also busy and probably highly excited as they help each other prepare. Try not to distract them or get in the way of their own preparations. 

The wedding dress plays an important part in the getting ready portion of the event. It has been painstakingly chosen especially for this day and is often pricey. It can even be considered an heirloom in the future for those who would want to pass on the dress to their daughter. Make sure that emphasis is placed on the dress. You can shoot the bride wearing the dress or just the dress as a solo subject against a background that frames it well.

weddingdetails Preparing a Photo Shoot Before the Wedding CeremonyAlways remember that the bride and groom hired you to record this momentous occasion in their lives and through this, they will be seeing their wedding through your eyes. It is crucial that you don’t make them miss out on anything and this includes the complete scene of the day. Every little detail counts, from how the table was set, how the food was served, the placing of the bouquet up to the setting of the sun.

On such a busy day, many of the couples never get the chance to actually enjoy the little details of the reception venue while it’s set-up before it starts to fill with guests. Try to take shots of the venue at its best before guests start to arrive. Make sure you include close-up detailed shots of table settings and flower arrangements and such. 


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7 Helpful Wildlife Photography Tips

Wildlife photography is not a genre that the average person will have the opportunity to practice all the time. The choice of subjects makes it very challenging but the results can be well worth it. Here is a list of tips that every wildlife photographer needs to know:

wildlife1 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsHave lots of patience – when dealing with wildlife photography, you have to posses the virtue of patience. Wild animals will not listen to direction, and they will not willingly pose or sit still until you get your shot. Since they can be very shy and skittish, you might end up with blurry shots as they abruptly move just as you are pressing the shutter-release button. You might not get adequate images first few times around but with large amounts of patience, you will have a better chance of getting great shots.

You cannot dictate to Mother Nature – the weather conditions, geographical patterns, and habits of wild creatures are all uncontrollable elements that you will have to work with. Creatures in their natural habitat will be much harder to capture in an image since they can quickly hide behind bushes or just disappear in the dark shadows of foliage. Instead of imposing your presence in an effort to get your shot, why not use these elements to your advantage by understanding how they work. You can then include them in your composition which can make the image brim with vitality.

wildlife2 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsOpportunity knocks only but once – if you are carrying your camera, this means that you are prepared for anything. Wildlife subjects are not like models that you can direct in a pose. Many opportunities to get the award winning shot are missed by not being prepared. Always anticipate what you least expect.

Bird talk can contain information about their behavior – birds are very intuitive animals. Most of the time, they give you distinct signals for the best opportunities to capture a moment you can miss at most times.

Eagle eyes are outdoor eyes – eagle eyes are, by definition, having keen eyes and the ability to observe more closely and pay attention to detail. If you use this trait to notice even the minute details that is oftentimes missed, you can get the ideal shots and capture the essence of wildlife.

wildlife3 7 Helpful Wildlife Photography TipsFocus on the eyes -just as the saying goes, the eyes are the doorway to our souls. The eyes of wild creatures can be very expressive and also fascinating to look at with all its myriad details. From an observer’s point of view, when your subject looks straight at you and you capture that moment, it’s like actually making eye contact, thus having the same effect on the viewer. Try to include catchlights in your image. These are points of light that are reflected back to the camera and make the eyes appear alive and well. Without catchlights, eyes can look dull and dead and leave an overall negative visual impact. 

Distance yourself from large wildlife – large wildlife is just that, large. They are large enough for you to be able to distance yourself from them and have a better chance to observe them in their natural habitat and capture them unaware. This will provide you with natural and realistic photos that capture a truly natural setting.


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Photographing Snow Scenes

When the land gets covered in snow, it transforms into a different place, something magical, mysterious or desolate. Pictures of winter landscapes can be mesmerizing but taking those shots can be one big challenge. Not only will you have to think of composition and lighting but also how the cold will affect your camera gear. Before you head out into the world of snow, there are a few things to remind yourself about:

snow1 Photographing Snow ScenesProtect yourself – keep yourself warm with gloves and a jacket. Not only will you be less uncomfortable but it will lessen the chances that you will shiver and cause camera shake. Gloves might make it awkward for you to hold and use the camera but numb fingers won’t be a good thing, either. If you are in not so familiar territory such as hiking in the mountains, stay away from snow drifts and areas which might be dangerous. Taking a picture of that wonderland of snow in the distance is not worth risking your health for. 

Protect your camera gear – Camera batteries are very susceptible to cold temperatures and there is a possibility they won’t last as long as they usually do. Bring extra batteries, just to be on the safe side, and keep all your batteries as warm and cozy as possible by placing them in your pocket next to your body or by keeping your camera in an insulated bag when not in use. Avoid keeping your camera slung around your neck and try not to carry a lot of gear while walking. The bulkier the equipment you carry, the bigger the chances of you losing your balance. Not only might you get hurt if you do, but your gear might suffer, too. When you arrive home, give your camera time to adjust to the change of temperature before using it to avoid moisture or fogging of the lens.

snow2 Photographing Snow ScenesAdjust exposure settings – snow is white and has reflective properties, and without adjusting camera settings, your images can end up looking underexposed or dirty gray. The reason for this is that the camera meter is designed to compute for the middle gray in a scene and if what the lens sees is a lot of white, the light meter will compensate by underexposing the snow, hence making it appear gray instead.   A lot of digital cameras come with automatic presets and you can use the snow scene preset which can usually do a good job in using the right exposure. But you might want more control over your camera settings and use the manual mode instead.  To get around the possibility of underexposure, you can deliberately overexpose the shot by adding a stop of two to the exposure settings. You can also lessen the chances of getting images with the wrong exposure by bracketing your shots so that you will have options to choose from. 


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Wedding Portraiture Tips

Wedding portraiture begins as early as when the bride and groom are just getting dressed up. It is ideal to take the series of portrait shots at the beginning of the wedding before the ceremony begins so everything from the make-up, hair, clothing and emotions are all fresh. This will also prevent any delays in the ceremony and it’s easier to round up members of the family for family portraits.

weddingkiss Wedding Portraiture TipsOrchestrating the perfect wedding portraits entail dealing with a client base that comes in all shapes and sizes. This also goes for the venue and the weather. It would take a lot of lighting skills and different poses to achieve fantastic shots. Make sure you’re familiar with the types of lighting you can use in different types of weather and a variety of traditional and not so traditional poses for your subjects in any given situation.

Although candid shots can make the poses appear natural and sweet, it would be important that you include static and formal shots such as the bride and groom looking straight at the camera. These are the more typical shots families would like to have. One such pose is the classic portrait of the bride and groom in solo shots, as well as shots where they are together. Typical sizes included in this type of portrait shots are full length, 3/4 and close-up forms of all the portrait shots.

weddingsign Wedding Portraiture TipsOnce the traditional yet important portraiture portion is completed, the fun part of showing your creative side now comes into play. Start by taking a succession of informal and relaxed portraits of the bride and groom. Try to make it fun for the couple and treat the next sessions as part of their own collection of their memories.

When doing group portraits, include the families of both the bride and groom as well as the wedding entourage. Make sure that you are familiar with the guests and the important members of the family as well as friends that the couple would like to include in the group portraits. It would be handy to have a list of names and their relationship to the bride and groom to keep you up to date on such a busy day.

Pay particular attention to being equal in terms of covering both sides of the couple’s family. Make sure that whatever portrait shots the bride has from her side of the family, the groom also has on his side.

Most times, individual shots of key figures are also essential. Don’t miss out on having enough portraits with parents, grandparents, siblings, and key members of the wedding such as the best man and bridesmaid.

weddingnew3 Wedding Portraiture TipsThe venue plays a major role in a wedding shoot. It’s important that the full glory of the place is captured in the photographs. Place emphasis on the beautiful areas in the location so you can position the bride and groom here for a few poses.

Wedding portraits are mementos that the bride and groom and family members will display and share with everyone else. This would be the time when your shots have to shine since your clients depend on you to record their most special day. You can let the photographs speak for themselves and satisfied customers will want to refer you to others. 


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Selling Landscape Photos as Stock Images
A lot of times many stock photographers have to think of ideas that would make a great shot. It’s not a secret that almost all aspiring and well seasoned photographers have a whole folder of landscape or nature images hoping to find some use for them later on. With stock sites being swamped with landscape images, you might assume it is difficult to gain a foothold in this genre. In fact, there is always a need for beautiful sunsets, mountains, woods and beach settings. With a few helpful tips, you can turn your landscape shots into money makers:
 
land7 Selling Landscape Photos as Stock ImagesSee through a buyer’s eyes – catching the buyer’s attention should be of utmost importance to the stock photo seller. Look at your landscape photos with objectivity and see how they would appear if you were the buyer. Are they useful as a background image for a magazine or as a photo example for a brochure? Can you imagine seeing them in print advertisements or as desktop wallpapers? Buyers have various reasons for acquiring an image and yours should have some selling value that hooks the clients’ interest. 
 
Use your landscape as the background – landscape images often become cliché and generic since most sunset and mountain images look alike. One effective way land6 Selling Landscape Photos as Stock Imagesto make a landscape shot more unique is the addition of a foreground subject. Instead of just a plain beach in sunset scene, why not include a person or an object in the foreground. This gives the viewers something to focus on while also appreciating the beautiful landscape background. 
 
Always tag your images – the chances of your photograph being viewed by the public are greater if you tag your images appropriately. For example, a sunset doesn’t always have to be just a ‘sunset’. You can also tag it under ‘sun’, ‘dusk’, ‘twilight’, plus additional tags for elements that can be found in the image such as secondary subjects or the location of the scene. The more tags to describe your images, the more views you can have. Most buyers are usually very specific when searching for an image, and they may have the tendency to only use one word to search for a specific image. If you don’t use that word, you lose your chance of selling that image. 
land5 Selling Landscape Photos as Stock Images
Show people in your landscape shots – people images sell like hotcakes in stock sites. By including people in your scene, you immediately increase the chances of getting a sale. Your landscape may be stunning with perfect composition and lighting, but it can garner more interest with the addition of a person, even if it is just a small silhouette. If you want to play it safe, have a shot that is just purely landscape and another that has a person or some people in it. 
 
Landscape photography can be one of the most competitive niches to penetrate and be known for, but the demand for it is always high. There is never a lack for the need for landscape images. Just always make sure that in a market saturated by the same type of scenes, your images have better quality, your composition is immaculate and that the image has depth. These are what will make your work stand out, these are what will always sell.


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A General Guide to Portrait Photography

portrait1 A General Guide to Portrait PhotographyPortraiture is one of the most popular approaches in photography since people as subjects are just naturally interesting. Whether it’s our loved ones or complete strangers, we seem to gravitate towards images of fellow human beings, especially if the photographer has managed to capture their distinctive appeal. A portrait is generally defined as a posed image of a person (or persons, if a group portrait) with the face as the main point of focus. However, the term ‘portrait’ now has evolved and has a looser meaning which can include candid, animal and partial portraits.

Focus on the eyes – as the saying goes, ‘the eyes are the windows to one’s soul’. Eyes are very expressive and you can take advantage of this in your image. A person looking straight at the camera can give an impression different from someone gazing off-camera.

Show the subject’s mood – the human face is capable of expressing a myriad of emotions which can evoke a response from the viewer. More than that, other body parts can similarly show one’s mood. The hands, for instance, can be very expressive and can portray what the person is feeling at the time.

Be creative with the camera viewpoint – the usual camera angle when shooting portraits is straight forward at eye level. Changing the camera angle and portrait2 A General Guide to Portrait Photographyviewpoint can make the image look more dynamic and can present the subject in a more uncommon manner.

Show the subject’s personality – the subject may be filled with life and cheer but if your composition is drab and dull, it will hide any signs of life. Work the subject’s personality in your composition. Make full use of lighting, secondary elements, the environment, colors; whatever you can include that will help reinforce your image’s intended effect.

Play with lighting – lighting has a major impact on mood of the image. Soft diffused lighting is often used with baby portraits since it enhances their aura of fragility and softness. Dramatic lighting with hard shadows can make the subject look more dynamic and edgy. The direction of your light should also be considered. Sidelighting can show off the textures of the skin and backlighting can turn the subject into a silhouette. Experiment with different light sources. Although sunlight and studio lights are most often used, try lighting your subject’s face with some candles, or the glow from a TV screen or a flashlight.

portrait3 A General Guide to Portrait PhotographyTry partial portraits – instead of making the subject’s face entirely visible, try framing only half the face or just the eyes or the feet. By showing only a part of the body, it adds a sense of mystery and drama since it is less conventional than the regular portrait. 

Include a prop – take advantage of items or objects that support the subject, either just visually or also physically. Props can be anything from small things such as toys or household items, to large furniture. Using props can give the subjects something to relate to in the shot, which in turn can present a story.


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Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 2: 5 More Essential Things to Remember

There seems to be as many underwater photo tips as there are fish in the ocean. We touched on five in Part 1 and now here are five more important things to remember before you take the plunge:

diver by konr4d Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 2: 5 More Essential Things to RememberWork with what you have – not everyone can have the best underwater photography camera and accessories. If you have a regular point and shoot, you can still take good pictures underwater. Buy a waterproof camera case and check your camera’s capabilities to see if you can manually adjust exposure settings such as shutter speed and aperture so you have more control. If you have an SLR or a DSLR, using a wide angle lens would be ideal since a wider area can be captured by the lens without the image becoming blurry. 

anemone fish hirekatsu Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 2: 5 More Essential Things to RememberSafety first – when taking pictures, we can sometimes be so engrossed with what we are doing that for a while we forget the rest of the world. This can be very dangerous if you are in the water since the scenario calls for you to be aware of your surroundings at all times. You might be so focused on getting the perfect shot of those pretty fish that you might not notice your diving buddy needs your help. Check your diving gear once in a while, not just your camera gear. Avoid creatures that might harm you. No matter how pretty they are, it is better to keep a safe distance. 

Don’t scare the fish – fish can be very timid and can get easily scared of you since you will be something big and strange to them. If fish are running away from you, do not swim after them. You probably will not get a good shot that way, anyway, since the fish can just outswim you. Instead, stay in one spot and let them come to you. Watch their movements and how they behave, and let them first get used to you so you have a better chance to get closer to them. If you are using strobes, flash them several times first to get the fish used to the effect.

diver 2 by hamletnc Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 2: 5 More Essential Things to RememberCatch the catchlights – something as small as a tiny reflection of light in a creature’s eyes can mean the world of difference in the visual impact of a shot. Catchlights provide depth and dimension, and give the eyes life and spark. Without them, fish and other sea creatures, can appear dull and have no vitality.Use the portrait format once in a while – the horizontal framing or landscape format is often used when taking underwater shots since fish are on the wider rather than the taller side. However, using a vertical framing or portrait format can also make a composition more dynamic and present the subject in a less common perspective.

Good lighting for underwater subjects is very important to get a striking shot. Check out the previous articles regarding how to light your subject underwater. 


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Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 1: 5 Essential Things to Remember

underwater1 by hisks1  Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 1: 5 Essential Things to RememberWhether you are snorkeling or diving, there are a lot of things to consider when doing underwater photography. The oceans and seas hide vast wonders and beauty that is not often seen and if you are fortunate enough to experience swimming among the sea denizens such as strange looking fish and brilliant corals, you probably have feel a strong urge to capture their mystic pull in a photograph. If you are about take your camera underwater, there are several things to remember before you let even just your little toe get wet:

Familiarize yourself with the dive area – before you dive into the big blue sea, first know what to expect underwater. Know what kind of fish and other sea creatures live in that area, the dangers to avoid, and so on. Knowing all these beforehand will give you an idea as to what camera settings to use, what lens would be best tortoise by diko19671  Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 1: 5 Essential Things to Remembersuited for the location, and the best way to approach your subject.

Get your diving skills down pat – good buoyancy control is needed if you want to get a good shot more often than not. A lot of underwater shots are close ups which means proper focusing is determined by making very slight adjustments in the distance of the lens. You would need to know how to hold yourself steady as you shoot or else your shots can easily become out of focus. Practice diving until you are sure you can do it with ease. If you haven’t done it in a long time, take refresher courses first just get yourself reacquainted with the deep. The more at home you are with your surroundings, the easier it will be to concentrate on getting those shots.

young anemone fish hirekats1  Diving into Underwater Photography, Part 1: 5 Essential Things to RememberShoot upward – this perspective will make your subject appear large and have more presence. Shots facing downward can make the subject smaller. Also, there is the big possibility of it getting lost in the background or in the shadows. 

Take close up or macro shots – underwater creatures can be very beautiful and fascinating and it is always a good idea to get in as close as you can to capture their details. Another thing to consider is that the further away your subject is, the harder it is to provide proper illumination. Water sucks in light and the distance your flash can reach is much shorter when underwater.

Lighting and composition techniques underwater is the same as on land – don’t forget the basic techniques in your excitement once you’re underwater. The Rule of Thirds, perspective, leading lines, angles of the light, and so on are still applicable with underwater images. Focus on the texture of the corals, the lines and shapes of fish, the way the light hits anemone. Instead of frontal flash which can make your subject appear washed out and lose detail, try sidelighting instead to bring out fine details, or backlighting to create silhouettes of the fascinating sea creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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