Timing of the shoot is very important. I often give my couples two options. The first option is to photograph very early in the morning, and the second is later in the afternoon. Both times, the light is soft and often diffused, so there is no harsh direct light to deal with. This way, I do not have to worry about finding a shade, which can be problematic in open nature parks. Educate your clients on the importance of choosing the right timing. You are the photographer and you should know best what light works for you.


I love reading your articles. I am not a Pro Photographer but just a hobbyist and will only do it when time permits. I have a day job that I think I can’t afford to quit if I’ll go full time on photography. Anyways, what I can suggest to those beginners or let me say… to the people that who just found or discover their passion in photography a very big welcome to photography world. Photography is awesome. Believe me! :)
When I was first learning how to use my camera, lighting is what I had the most trouble with. It is so important to learn though. Lighting can make or break a photo. All the other settings can be correct, but a badly lit image will ruin it. When looking at a photographers work, you’ll want to look how their subjects are lit. You want nice even lighting without spots from the sun on a subjects face or front of the body. The image below is back lit. The sun is hitting the back of my son (don’t mind his messy hair!) and rimming him nicely. Notice there are no sun spots on his face or the front of him. The lighting on his face is nice and even. In the second image he was in the same spot, but I moved my position. The sun is now hitting his face. That side of his face is very harsh and the exposure is blown, while the side that is in the shade is correctly exposed. It I had exposed for the sun on his skin, the side in the shadow would have been underexposed. If I moved my position even more the sun would have been completely hitting him on his face. He would have been squinting and the light would not have been pleasing. You also want to avoid dappled light on the subject. Dappled light is when there are clusters of light spots on your subject.
It seems like every wedding planning blog we look at makes this recommendation but we have absolutely no idea why they are telling couples to do this! The only shot list we need from you is the list of family formal photos you would like (which we will ask for in the questionnaires we send to you) so we can make sure to budget enough time to get your family formals completed and that will help that part of the day run much more smoothly. For the rest of the day we will be watching for important moments. If we are having to check things off a list it is very likely that we will miss something that we otherwise would have been able to capture because we were staring at a piece of paper trying to make sure we “get the shots on the list” instead of paying attention to what is going on at your wedding! We shoot many, many, MANY weddings and understand the flow and key moments of a wedding day and you will get our absolute best work if you let us pay attention to what is happening around us instead of hunting down shots on a list.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Communication and planning are key. Discuss in detail what is going to happen on the day, what the clients will be wearing, and what you’re going to be bringing. Coordinate their outfits with your props, or, say, the baby’s booties with their decor. You have to think of it all. Best of all, if you hit it off with the family, you’ll get that referral and your client base will grow. Speaking of which…

It was my first wedding to shoot and I had never shot one before. I get stressed out really easily, so doing this was a bad idea for me all the way around. I missed shots, I missed a set of groups, and my lighting for the reception was terrible. On top of not having a clue on how to get a proper exposure for a wedding and what images were important to the couple, I delivered full-resolution files on a plethora of disks that caused more confusion than good. Today, I'm using online galleries provided by Pixieset and flash drives for file delivery. 
No one is going to be so late that they miss your entire ceremony and then some (at least it is very unlikely). If you let your immediate families know to just be in a certain spot after the ceremony, then you can save yourselves a LOT of headaches and get your family formals done super quickly and efficiently while still getting awesome photos of the people you love.
Great shots. What I've been struggling with recently is the balance between only release your best shots and how many I should deliver as proofs to a client ( along with what the concept of a proof is ). Whilst each of the examples above is a single shot I betting there were many more to choose from as an output from each session. Many of my portrait shoots are around 45 mins to a bit over an hour and in that time I will take a range of head, mid body and full length shots along with various groups. My last session took a bit over one hour with a family of 5 and resulted in around 200 pics ( a good number of which were burst mode of kids jumping off Walls ). I selected a fair range of around 60-70 pics and did some basic proof edit cropping and light balancing, the standard stuff and delivered a disc to the client. As I am starting out my model is to deliver a disc to the client rather than sell prints I don't have that bandwidth just yet and I price accordingly with that in mind. I've had some interesting conversations since that made me think I should have delivered fewer pics ( maybe 1 or 2 of each pose ) which would have meant a delivery set of about 30 pics. So what is the right balance ?
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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