If you reached this post, then it means that you are ready to get your feet wet on this wonderful and very lucrative industry. You were either inspired by the wedding photographer who captured your friends wedding or you saw on some stats that being one is as lucrative as being a lawyer. However, going into it might need sometime specially if you only photograph using the automatic settings of your camera.
My first tip is PRACTICE using your camera. Learn how to use it! It makes perfect. As much as possible, use the manual setting of your camera so that you can learn how EXPOSURE works on your dslr. If that term is foreign to you then maybe you’re not there yet. Buy a book on the topic. This book – Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera by Bryan Peterson helped me out a lot.
You probably won’t have to read the entire book to get the gist of how exposure works. Basically, it’s the combination of shutter speed and aperture. Aperture is the iris of your lens. Just like our eyes it needs to close a bit when there’s too much light and opens wide when you’re indoors. But unlike your eyes, you need to set it. Otherwise, your photo will either be too bright or too dark. Aperture is measured in stops. The smaller the stop, the wider the iris is open.
The lens is fitted with two curtains. When you hit the button, one opens and then the other one closes. Shutter speed is the amount of time it takes one to open and the other one to close. This part of the exposure limits the amount of light that is let in the camera.
Once you learn how to work the shutter speed and aperture (f/stop) of your camera you’re ready to practice.
A good half of your would-be client would be getting married inside a dimly lit church. A majority of those church will ask you not to use flash during the ceremony. I am betting that the bride would want some photos of the ceremony. So, please practice taking photos inside the church (using manual settings). How? Well, it’s up to you. I started attending mass and asked my parish priest if I could take pictures during service. Incidentally, he needed some photos for the church’s website so he said yes! Or you can go to a museum or art establishment where they forbid you to take flash photos.
Tip. When taking photos without the aid of a flash (and inside the church), I use a tripod and a shutter release along with my camera. Since you will come to find out that you will need a slow shutter speed to take descent photos inside, both of these equipment will minimize the camera shake.
Another tip. At times, it is not practical (nor possible) to use the tripod during the ceremony so while practicing, use the highest possible ISO of your camera setting then shoot three images. Lower the ISO a couple of notch then take another set of three. And so on. When you view the photo on your PC or Mac, determine the highest possible ISO setting with tolerable noise and artifact. Also, when practicing, shoot with the widest aperture (smallest f/stop) and set your focus point to one. That way, you can control which part of your subject you want focused.
Next up – how to compose your shots.