with Courtney Slazinik
Wedding Photography: 7 Beginner Tips

The key to shooting a successful wedding is to have a plan. You can also show up prepared by following the following seven tips.

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1. Wear comfortable shoes!

My first wedding, I bought a new pair of TOMS in the same size as my other TOMS that were so comfortable because I figured they’d be the same! Wrong. By the end of the night I had blisters on the back of my heels, felt like I had shin splints from walking on the back of my shoes for so long & my toes were black & blue. Don’t wear new shoes the night of a wedding! Bring a big bandaid to put on the back of your heel just in case you have unexpected problems. This one seems like common sense but since I made the mistake I thought it was worth mentioning!

2. Second shooters are imperative (unless of course it is an unusually tiny wedding).

Weddings are such big events & two shooters really are necessary in order to capture all of the emotion that goes on, the different perspectives, the different angles. Either hire someone you know well & have a nice professional relationship with already or someone you have done your research on. You don’t want to make price be a huge decision in who you hire….you want to hire someone who’s work you can stand by & be proud to deliver to your client. Have an agreement with the second shooter about what will happen to the images after the wedding is over – will you edit them or will they? Are they able to use them for their personal portfolio or are you retaining the rights as the main shooter? Create a contract to document all of your expectations.

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I have an awesome partnership with my second shooter. She is more a partner than a second shooter & is very experienced in the wedding industry so she brings alot to the table! I am thankful for that partnership & know that it takes two to handle a wedding so I don’t know what I’d do without her!

If your client says they are on a budget & would rather forego a second shooter to save money, explain to them the importance of having one. They may not understand why it’s important & after being educated, it may make more sense to them!

3. Communicate.

Talk to the bride & groom before the wedding about the details, the order of events, their hopes & desires, etc. sometimes the bride & groom have special requests & it is ALWAYS better to know everything in advance. That way they can enjoy their special day, stress free, knowing you have the pictures covered! Getting together with them to go over all of this gives you a good opportunity to meet them & get comfortable with each other before the wedding (if you haven’t already met them before booking). Create a timeline for yourself to carry around & a list of important things you need to remember. If the bride & groom have a wedding planner, communicate with them on all of this as well.

4. Eat dinner.

Don’t be shy. Lots of times brides & grooms forget to formally tell the photographer to stop & eat! It is not that they are being rude, it’s just that they are in the middle of the biggest day of their lives & are a little side-tracked :) Nobody wants a picture of themselves while they are shoving their face so while the guests are eating, it’s the perfect time for you to eat, too. I actually put in my contract that I am either fed at the reception or given ample time to run out & grab food during the reception. I have never had anybody pick the later of the two!

5. Capture the in-between moments.

Yes, family formals are a necessary obligation but beyond that try to shoot more happy, care free, genuine “moments” over the “posed” ones. Those are the ones that the bride & groom will cherish FOREVER. You capture those moments by being patient & being in the right spot at the right time. Be right there watching intently & be ready to snap when you see that genuine, raw interaction & emotion so you catch it as it unfolds!

6. Details.

Don’t forget them! Lots went into planning this one day…the bride & groom will be so happy to look back & realize that you captured ALL of it!

7. Stay calm.

The bride or groom may be nervous. Show them you have it all covered & have it all together so that is one less thing they have to worry about. Be fun so you can capture their fun side!

What do you wish you knew before doing your first wedding??

  • July 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    So happy to have found you fun, helpful site. My husband and I just invested in an “actual camera” this Spring, and although big-time rookies, we are having a lot of fun it with. I’d love to have some feedback on some of the shots I include on my own blog: http://dosmallthingswithlove.blogspot.com. I blog about all sorts of stuff: crafts, photos, faith, family, etc. Let me know if you host any photo challenges!

  • July 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Thank you for all the suggestions! I am shooting my first wedding in a couple of weeks, and I’m so nervous (though excited) for it! This has calmed my fears a little bit! :)

  • January 24, 2014 at 2:58 AM

    The theme of intrusion into wedding photography is something I have run and rivers of ink without reaching any conclusion. From my point of view, as a wedding photographer I am (and proud), the problem does not arise from the crisis or what “cheap” coming out day “taking pictures”. Where it arises from the very low visual culture to which we are accustomed. The democratization of the market has made us saturate good and not so good pictures, so we know to value the work of a professional, or quality (and here I include the group to which I belong, that we are not able to assess our work and assign a fair price).

    You always hear, as Mith, needed a first down before embarking as a professional wedding says. My advice at this point, if you have commissioned a report, or you want to embark on this adventure is that you never make the first wedding (or first marriages) as the sole photographer. Be honest and Show to the couple to trust a professional, and your opponent the opportunity to shoot a little in this world know the scenes, experimenting with the camera, knowing the protocol, know what time you can intervene and what not, and above all, strive to not hinder the work of the professional.

    I always say that covering a wedding is a “master in photography.” Changing scenarios, changing light, moving subjects and a lot of moments and emotions you can not control, but you can not lose. Not just pick up a camera and shoot, is to anticipate what will happen, move without attracting attention and be aware of everything, and all with no pressure to fail because the couple has placed in you a of the most important parts of your day, the memories.

  • Rebecca
    June 22, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Any idea on the cost of a second shooter?

  • September 13, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Great tips!!! I’m so nervous to shoot weddings but this really helps me!

  • Yabesh Photography
    July 31, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    Very Nice. This Tips Very Useful for Readers Thanks a Lot…

  • Sara Roberts
    September 11, 2017 at 6:34 AM

    Hi Courtney,

    I loved all your points that you have mentioned in your article here. I feel though that getting a good second photographer is tricky in this regard since as a beginner, one is starting out too.

    Also, I feel that beginners need to feel confident in their skill before venturing out with their first wedding photoshoot. Nevertheless, good article, most points are captured well in your writeup.


  • cami
    October 4, 2017 at 8:08 PM


    I believe I’m shooting my first wedding this Saturday. It’s a SUPER small wedding, but I need the experience regardless. Any tips about what else I should wear? Like how dressed up should I get? I’m 16.

    • Courtney Slazinik
      October 29, 2017 at 8:52 PM

      Dress professionally and in comfortable shoes. Good luck!

  • Bhavesh Parikh
    August 8, 2018 at 6:19 AM

    A great tips for wedding photographers. https://www.ushootvedit.com/

  • Andrei Weddings
    December 14, 2018 at 5:39 AM

    As wedding is the big event for every couples and it is celebrated with lots of fun to make it memorable, you should always make the planning before organizing the event as you can organize different theme of party according to the current trends to make it more beautiful movement. https://www.andreiweddings.com/

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