In order to be a successful wedding photographer – preparation is the key. Ever heard the phrase “poor planning leads to poor performance”? One of the best ways to avoid this is to make yourself a checklist before the day. This way if you do get nervous, or feel pressured you can use it to get you back on the right track. Without further ado here are my tips on How to compile a checklist for a wedding photographer.
It is very important to not forget that a different checklist will be required for each wedding you photograph. There may be some core components that will be the same, but approach each wedding as if it is your first. This will keep it fresh for you and your photos. It will allow room for improvement, for imagination, for innovation. Do not take the “cookie cutter” approach.
To begin to compile a checklist you must understand what the bride and groom are looking for. What type of photographs do they want – formal?, colour?, black and white?, a mixture?. Any particular shots they want. Help them with these decisions, if possible show them examples of what you have done before.
Add these shot ideas to your checklist.
Aim to do a recce of the site where the couple are going to get married. Walk round, pay particular attention to vantage points, light position and distracting elements. Any good places for the couple to pose by?, for the group shot?. Find a place to stand inside the venue during the ceremony. Try not to be intrusive.
Add all your findings to your checklist. Be sure to have alternate locations in case of bad weather.
Have a look at your shot list that you came up with during points 1 and 2. Make some notes by each of them. Includes things like – what type of lens you would use, any particular camera setting – iso, shutter speed, aperture etc. Do you need a flash or a reflector for that shot? Make a separate list of what you will need to take with you on the day, so that you do not forget something.
Make these notes, so that if you do get an attack of the nerves you will know what to do. You can use it as a crib sheet in case your memory lets you down.
Those were some tips to help get you started in writing your checklist. As I said before try to make each one unique, build your own experience in to it – you know what you need to on the day.
Remember what the bride and groom want is paramount, they are your paying clients and it is there memories that you are creating. Keep this in mind when writing your checklist and you should have a long and fulfilling career as a wedding photographer.