The Biggest Wedding Shot Challenges and How to Own Them

It doesn’t matter if you are a friend of the bride or groom and you’ve given them a sweet deal on the cost of their wedding photos. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out as an amateur photographer and you are doing this wedding for free to improve your book. It doesn’t even matter if the bride and groom have said to you, “Don’t worry, just get shots really candidly and casually. We want things to seem natural” While these or any number of scenarios may be what brought you to the point of calling yourself a wedding photographer for a day, none of them trump the one simple and unbelievably daunting truth of weddings: this is the big day, and you only get one shot…literally.

Since there is no “do-over” when it comes to the wedding day, there are 4 basic principles to keep in mind when you’ve taken on the incredible task of shooting wedding photos. Remember to accomplish each one of these and you will never find yourself scrambling for extra batteries as the bride turns red with frustration because you are losing the perfect lighting.

Wedding Shot Principle #1: Scope out the location EARLY. Wedding days are inherently busy and jam packed to the minute. The last thing you want to do as a photographer is have the wedding party scampering all about the venue searching for the best lighting and angles. Arrive at the ceremony location earlier in the day or even a day before if possible so you can survey the scene. Decide which areas will provide the components necessary for the styling your bride and groom have chosen.

Wedding Shot Principle #2: Bring backups of EVERYTHING. How does the saying go? ‘Better safe than sorry’ Again, there is no re-doing a wedding day. So whether you have to buy stock in AAA batteries or carry two extra flashes around with you that day, the bottom line is this: just do it! You will find yourself so much more at ease knowing you are completely prepared for anything. Additionally, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your flash battery and camera battery will run out with all the burst mode snapping you’ll be doing.

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Wedding Shot Principle #3: Have a shot list. When it comes to formal wedding pictures, the bride and groom will know best what arrangements they will want so most likely the happy couple will provide you with this.  However, if this is not the case, ask for one and make sure, even after the formal pictures are done, that you keep the list with you so you can be sure to get a couple candid’s of each person on the list. Everyone loves action shots of laughing, smiling and dancing!

Flickr acclaimed-wedding-photographer
Flickr acclaimed-wedding-photographer


Wedding Shot Principle #4: Bring a step-ladder. These days, couple’s are getting a little tricky with where and how they are getting married. While some remain in a church, many are getting married outside, on a mountain, under water…? With these added components of location having a step ladder handy can help you access angles and shots that otherwise would be lost. After all what is the surest way to get more business? Get the un-gettable shot and hear the happy bride sing your praises forever!

Creative Ideas for Must-Have Wedding Reception Photography

must have wedding shots-signing the marriage licenses_venson

As we mentioned in our previous article, it’s important to create a Wedding Photography Shot List before even attempting to photograph the big event.

If you want to avoid having your shots look “ho hum” (and thus avoid upsetting the bride and groom!), we’ve put together a fun montage of wedding reception photo ideas to spur you on to creative victory. Feel free to add your own spin on these ideas and enlist creative input from the bride and groom as well.

Signing the Marriage License– Experiment with your distance to capture this moment from every possible angle. If you have a second shooter, take turns photographing from different sides of the bride, groom and officiate.

Continue reading “Creative Ideas for Must-Have Wedding Reception Photography”

10 Traditional Engagement Photo Ideas


As we’ve previously discussed, today’s modern engagement photos can take on a variety of shapes, styles and themes. But as great as these shots are, the thought of doing something “out of the ordinary” may leave the more traditional bride and groom feeling distinctly uncomfortable and unwilling to proceed with the session. (Yikes!)

Thankfully there are a number of classic poses that will allow the couple to express their love with all the elegance and sophistication they crave. Once you show them a few examples like the ones below, they’ll be breathing a happy sigh of relief – and so will you!

Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #1

The Happy Couple – A close up of the doting pair smiling and sitting side by side (or sitting on the other’s lap), is always a hit! This pose works especially well for newspaper announcements, as well as on display near the couple’s guest book.

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Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #2-4

Protective and Loving – Whether he’s got his arms wrapped around his beloved or vice versa, this pose can be played up or down to fit a variety of moods. Just be sure to take their personalities into consideration as you explore the different facets of this pose. (Example: Some may prefer to look up at each other as opposed to directly into the camera.)

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Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #5

Beautiful from the Back – Photographing the couple from behind evokes a sweet sense of privacy – as if the couple is lost in their own little world and you just happened to stumble on in. You can turn the “sweet factor” up a notch by having the bride rest her head on her groom’s shoulder, or have them wrap one arm around each other’s waists.

Flickr: kristaphoto


Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #6-7

Sweet Silhouettes – A portrait of a loving couple in silhouette is always breathtaking! Some of the most cherished poses include: holding hands, kissing, or a tender embrace.

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Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #8

You May Now Kiss Your Bride (To Be) – Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. And what could be more fun than practicing for their first kiss as husband and wife? (Ooh la la!) From a sweet peck on the cheek to a gentle lip-lock under the stars, there’s nothing like a little pucker power to spice things up.

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Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #9

Piggy Back – Although not entirely traditional, this fun twist on the classic “side-by-side” pose adds a charming splash of whimsy to your growing engagement portfolio.

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Traditional Engagement Photo Idea #10

Romantic Dip – Because every girl loves being swept off her feet, the romantic dip is by far one of the most re-created poses of all time! Of course, if a full exuberant dip isn’t their thing, leaning back half-way is also acceptable and still quite fun. However, if the subjects are feeling especially frisky, consider having them dip each other!

Flickr: jtography



9 Unique Engagement Portait Photo Ideas


If the idea of paying for a set of staid and boring engagement photos gives you a case of “cold feet”, have no fear. From location to lighting to props, today’s modern engagement photography allows for greater artistic expression, making it easy to illustrate the couple’s unique love story in a fresh, beautiful way.

Take a peek at the collection of stunning engagement portrait ideas we’ve rounded up just for you!

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #1

Sweet Serenade – Whether he’s a vocal virtuoso or an American Idol reject, no girl can resist a sweet song played just for her! Grab a guitar and look for a location that offers plenty of interesting contrast such as a colorful wall, an old building, a set of railroad tracks or the beach.

Flickr: jtography

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #2

Putting Our Heads Together – Break away from the traditional “seated side by side” portrait and opt for a slightly different approach. Experiment with pressing your foreheads together or laying down in opposite directions, allowing you to stare deeply into each other’s eyes.

Flickr: ohsohappytogether

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #3

Brand New Family – If the bride or groom is a single parent, you should consider incorporating their children in the photo session. Doing so not only allows little ones to share in your excitement, but helps them understand that your love and commitment extends to them as well.

Flickr: ohsohappytogether

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #4

She Said Yes  – Looking for a fun way to surprise your friends and family? Play up that magical moment with a poster board featuring the words, “She Said Yes!” or “Save the Date”. Just be prepared for the onslaught of phone calls. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

Flickr: jtography

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #5

Text Me – “Do u want 2 grab coffee w/ me?” Did your relationship begin with a chance encounter followed by endless text or Facebook messages? Incorporate those “technological trysts” into your portrait session. Standing side by side or photographed several feet apart, a photo like this featuring your noses buried in your phones is sure to bring back fond memories during your future wedding anniversaries.

Flickr: kristaphoto

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #6

City Slickers – Take advantage of your urban surroundings and get ready for some high contrast, beautifully eye-catching shots! Whether you’re a city planner, construction worker, high rise developer or a city slicker, you should never underestimate the photographic power of scaffolding and cross-beams when paired against two smartly dressed lovebirds.

Flickr: kristaphoto

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #7

Hands & Feet – For a fun twist, take a few photos of just your hands, feet or even your torsos! Sure, you want a few shots of your happy, smiling faces but after awhile, that gets a bit boring. Spice things up with different lighting techniques, locations, props and time of day to capture that frame-worthy shot.

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Unique Engagement Photo Idea #8

Missed Encounter – Did you ever wonder where you would be today if you hadn’t met your true love? What if you hadn’t walked that way to work? What if you hadn’t stopped in that particular coffee shop? Capitalize on those “What if..?” thoughts with a fun “missed encounter” shot. Experiment with both depth of field and location. Two ideas to consider: walking along the road in opposite directions or have one person sitting on a bus bench while the other sits in their car at a stop sign.

Flickr: vivarin

Unique Engagement Photo Idea #9

Hold On  – An ornate set of door handles does double duty as a charming prop and conversation starter. Consider this look for a “Hold on tight! You’re on the ride of a lifetime!”shot, or a visual expression of the two of you opening the door to your new future.

Flickr: amanky

Wedding Photography List of Shots

wedding photography list of shots

Avoid Disappointing the Bride and Groom With a Wedding Shot List

wedding photography list of shots

When photographing a wedding, you could be obtaining the most beautiful, artistic shots, but you’ll never be forgiven if you miss something the bride really wanted – even if it’s as seemingly inconsequential as a picture of her and a distant cousin. That’s why it’s important to go over a wedding shot list with the bride and groom before the big day. Continue reading “Wedding Photography List of Shots”

Wedding Photography Checklist: 10 Ways to Overcome the “Pre-Wedding Jitters”

wedding photography checklist

Sooner or later, you’re going to be asked to photograph a friend’s or family member’s wedding. After all, you have one of those professional-looking cameras, so you must know what you’re doing, right?

Photographing weddings can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first one.  Just like the bride and groom, you could be experiencing your own pre-wedding jitters.  So what helps?  Continue reading “Wedding Photography Checklist: 10 Ways to Overcome the “Pre-Wedding Jitters””