Photo Tips for Wedding Guests
A wedding is an optimal time for amateur photographers to try out their skills in an open and loving environment. Although most wedding parties hire official professional photographers, there are so many things going on during the average weddings that these professionals will doubtlessly be overwhelmed. Friends and family members have the inside knowledge on many guests, so they will know where to point their cameras to capture the most intimate, most loving, and most hilarious snapshots of a beautiful ceremony.
Here are a few tips that might help you capture better shots.
- Know the Crowd
This is an incredibly valuable skill for an amateur photographer to have. If you can predict the moments that will occur within the confines of a wedding, you can know how to position yourself as well as when to snap the shutter for that perfect picture of the groom’s parents, or the bride’s adorable ring-bearing cousin, or the slightly-drunk uncle balancing precariously on a chair during a dance-off. Taking great amateur shots is often a function of being in the right place at the right time, and being equipped to take advantage of that placement.
- Know Your Gear
Although advancements in cell phone technology have made it possible to take excellent pictures using only your mobile device, an amateur photographer can never hope for their pictures to outstrip the quality of those from a wedding photographer unless they have proper camera equipment. An advanced Nikon, Fujifilm or Canon can help cover up some of your beginner mistakes as a photographer, simply because the technology is so pure and the pictures will look so good. If your framing is off or your exposure is a bit out of whack, the mistake will be very obvious on iPhone or Samsung pictures; however, few people will notice slight errors in an otherwise excellent-quality picture. They will simply be absorbed in how clear Mom and Dad’s faces are, or wrapped up in the intricate detailing on the wedding cake.
- Know the Event
Similar to the first one, but in addition to knowing the attendees, a good amateur photographer should know the program front to back. Wedding photographers concentrate heavily on this aspect of the event, because the program focuses on controlled events that simply must be photographed. As fun and interesting as candid shots can be, all married couples want photos of those all-important events such as cutting the cake, the first dance, the various toasts that occur, and so on and so forth. If you want your photo arsenal to be taken seriously, it must contain fun candid shots interspersed with more serious shots of the ceremonial events themselves. Weddings are exercises in tradition, and these traditions should certainly inform your photography.
Wedding photographers have an essential job, but for an event to be properly cataloged for the future, the photos that they take must be complemented by various amateur shots from guests. If you are a guest who wants this responsibility, make sure to come prepared, both mentally and physically. Know the ins and outs of the ceremony, the attendees, and your equipment, and above all — make sure to have fun! No one likes to be photographed by a dour sourpuss — your emotional output and personality will dictate the types of shots and candid expressions that you receive access to.
If you’re looking for a great photographer for your wedding and somehow got sidetracked to this article, you can check out my good friend Rick Helman. He’s one of the best and he’ll gladly direct amateur photographers on how to not get in his way. (Just kidding!)