Shooting a Wedding

This is the third installment of a three-part series on preparing to shoot your first wedding. The first step is figuring out the important shots to take when shooting a wedding. The second step is scouting out the location prior to the wedding.

The final step in preparing for your first wedding is reviewing the timeline and putting together your own game plan. This is the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself to photograph a wedding.

When it comes to the timeline, you need to know what is expected to happen and when. You know how the saying goes…if you fail to plan…you plan to fail.


This is part 2 in our “How to Photograph a Wedding” Series. Part 1 is figuring out which shots to take. There is a lot of preparation that goes into a good wedding shoot. One of the most important things you can do as a new wedding photographer is to check out the venues prior to the wedding. A lot of new wedding photographers wonder if they should scope out the venue prior to the wedding? The answer is yes, absolutely.


This post is a first in a series “How to Photograph a Wedding”. We are covering the most important steps you need to take when preparing to photograph your first wedding. If a friend has asked you to photograph their wedding, consider this a guide to get you ready for the big day. Photographing a wedding is nerve racking for even seasoned professionals. A lot is on the line, and there are no do overs. The best approach is to be well prepared. One of the most important steps you can take to get you ready, so you know how to photograph a wedding, is to study key shots and when to expect them. There are certain part of a wedding that are universal.


Sometimes you've got nothing but flat lighting to work with. Black and white helps add "romance" and a "vintage" feeling to an image that might otherwise be forgettable.

One of the things a wedding photographer really hates to hear is that rain is forecast for a wedding job. Whoops, no rescheduling on this one! So, what to do? When you get lemons, make lemonade! Here are some tips and tricks for making the most out of a situation when you are going to be shooting a wedding in the rain:

We photographed indoors at the couple's favorite bar when it rained

Scout out a Couple of Portrait Locations in Advance

Having a backup plan in case of rain is one of the very best things you can do to make the best of the situation. A hotel lobby with nice lighting, inside the church or even an outdoor location with some kind of covering will work just fine. Here in the Bay Area, some of the best places for rainy days are Stanford campus, which has lots of gorgeous covered walkways, inside San Jose or San Francisco City Halls or many of the hotel lobbies. As long as you have a plan, you can roll with anything.


The bride rented these super cute parasols for the wedding, and thank goodness because it was raining cats and dogs!

Umbrellas Are a Bride’s Best Friend

Just because a bride is getting married in November or February, it doesn’t mean that she has a back-up plan for rain. If rain is a possibility, mention the idea of having a large umbrella available, ideally black, logo free or has a fun pattern on it. But you should always have two umbrellas available-a large black one for the bride and groom to kiss under, and one to be held over the photographer while getting that gorgeous shot. Be creative, don't allow a little water to limit your creativity.


The bride is standing on a white towel to keep mud from getting on the dress

White Towels Under the Dress

Grab some white towels from home or the hotel room to put under the bride’s dress for any outdoor posing where there might be some mud. It wont protect the dress completely, but it will help. And it makes you look like you’ve done this a few times, which will inspire confidence in your client and help them relax. And that leads to better photos!


When there was a break in the rain, we swooped into position and got the shot.

Watch for a Break in the Weather

The rain might let up for a few brief moments, and if you are prepared to run out and take advantage of the moment, you might be surprised at what you can capture. A couple embracing out in the middle of the fog can create a very moody, memorable image. Let your clients know that you’ll be watching for a moment like this, and might grab them for it. They will thank you later once they see those gorgeous images!  Photographing a wedding in the rain does not spell total disaster, you just need to be prepared.

Create intimacy with your composition of the image