Diy wedding photography ideas

Although this may seem obvious to most people, it’s amazing how little preparation some photographers put into their first wedding!

Diy wedding photography ideas

Please don’t expect to rock up and just wing it. It’s irresponsible and totally unfair for the couple who are expecting you to know what you’re doing. So what does prepare, prepare and prepare mean? I personally discover that preparation is the key for success in any industry so I own focused the following 5 top wedding photography tips on helping you to be as prepared as possible so you can rock up with confidence and nail it!! 🙂

This is the holy grail, beginners guide to getting you prepared and ready for your first wedding shoot.

I wish someone had told me these tips when I shot my first wedding, but unfortunately I had to study the hard way!

So let’s celebrate, woohoo! Because if you follow and actually practise these 5 steps you will be ready!

So, lets set the scene: you own booked your first wedding about a year ago and at the time you were super excited! It may be a paid occupation or you might just be doing it for free for a friend to get some experience, either way, it’s one of the most significant days of the couples life so you need to make certain you nail it!

Diy wedding photography ideas

The wedding is about 2 months away and your excitement has turned to fear, you discover beads of sweat appearing on your forehead just thinking about the wedding and as you see the large day quickly approaching it’s time to get organised!!

Hopefully this list of wedding photography tips can assist calm your nerves and get you as prepared as possible for the large day. And remember, own enjoyment because it’s going to be the first day of doing the best occupation in the world!!


Before we get started, you need to know that being an awesome wedding photographer is NOT every about photography!

Having excellent photography skills is only about 30% of what it takes to being an awesome wedding photographer!

The other 70% includes:

  1. Being capable to ponder quickly on your feet, make large decisions and convince everyone it is the correct thing to do.
  2. Being an awesome problem solver when things go incorrect, ie, car breaks below, camera breaks, mom in law faints, etc etc, and yes, these own every happened to me!
  3. Being an entertainer, own enjoyment with the bridal party, crack jokes, frolic games, give the bride and groom the best possible experience so they enjoy having their photos taken.
  4. Being bold, get people to hear to you but never be rude.

    Crowd control 🙂

  5. Being happy, friendly and having the ability to build rapport with anyone and become everyones best friend.
  6. and lots more…

I wrote an article on A day in the life of a wedding photographer, I propose you read it to give you a really excellent thought, step by step, entire overview of what it’s love to actually be the photographer on the day.

Lastly, I desire to talk about the number one, holy grail, mom of every novice wedding photography rules:

Know your gear inside out!

Lets start with one of the most significant tips, know your gear! This should be a no brainer. Pick up your camera and make certain you know every the settings, understand the modes, get to know the settings that are available on your lenses (image stabiliser for example), work out every the options available on your speedlite, etc etc.

If you desire to know what wedding photography gear I use, click here!

*Real life horror story** During one of my first weddings, I thought I knew my gear and then suddenly, BANG!

My cameras shutter speed stopped increasing once it hit 1/, the couple is looking at me waiting impatiently for direction and I’m red in the face and frantically trying to get my settings correct. FYI, when your speedlight is attached and turned on, your camera does not permit you to shoot faster than 1/ Simply turning on the ‘high speed’ mode on your speedlight fixes this! I wish I had known that before the day!!

Once you ponder you know your stuff, grab a friend or partner and practice getting perfectly exposed images, quickly and in a lot of diverse locations.

I used to torture my poor girlfriend at the time (now wife!), taking photos of her every around the home.

It doesn’t need to be flattering, just practice so you get used to getting your settings correct, so on the large day you can be prepared.

My wife is going to kill me for showing these images – but it is what I did to study so I wanted to share it with you. I even grabbed some branches from the neighbours yard to use as the bouquet!! Here are some before shots (me learning at home) and after shots (real wedding examples).

TRY THIS: go into the lounge room, position your subject where you would position your bridal party (ideally photographer back to a window) and take a photo of him/her as quickly as possible with perfect exposure.

Then stroll exterior to the backyard and do the same, discover the best spot, either in the shade or with the sun behind the subject and shoot. Then head to the front yard, then the kitchen, study, whatever!

Diy wedding photography ideas

Use your flash, practice in a darker room with little window light as this would be similar to the conditions you will be up against in the reception. Bounce the flash off the roof, or the wall, or turn it off and crank your ISO to see what happens. Practice every these options and see what works best, so that on the day, you’ll be prepared 🙂

**Funny story** I use to watch the TV through my camera and attempt and move my focal points around as quickly as possible to follow the persons face on the screen!

Sounds silly, but now I can do it without thinking and it saves me getting a lot of camera blur issues when shooting.

Diy wedding photography ideas

Scout the locations

Scouting locations is another MUST DO before the wedding so you can be prepared. You most likely won’t get a chance to see the grooms home or brides home before the day but you can assume it would be love any average home. As endless as there is light in the lounge room and master bedroom, then you will be ok 🙂

**Extreme Example** I shot a groom coverage in a 1 bedroom apartment with 5 boys in the bridal party PLUS 50 family members standing around waiting for me to finish so the bride could reach and they could start the tea ceremony!

Talk about pressure as well as working in tight spaces!

So, apart from the groom and bride coverage you should definitely scope out the scenes at the church / ceremony location, as well as the locations you intend to go to and even pop into the reception and see what you’re up against.

**Tip** It would be awesome if you could go to these locations at roughly the same time of day as you would be there on the actual wedding so the lighting will be similar.

I would ever propose googling the locations before you go on your recce and see what other photographers own done there in the past.

Then head over, use their shots as inspiration and work out your own ideas. Stroll around everywhere, discover the best spots and use your camera! Take photos pretending the couple is standing there so you can work out your compositions. Under I simply “Parliament Home Wedding” and heaps of examples pop up and makes for a really excellent reference!

I know this sounds love a lot of work, but love I hold mentioning, preparation is key. If you own already been to the locations, worked out your ideas, photographed your imaginary couple in the best spots, then on the day you’re going to kill it!

Help as much as you can

This is another super significant thing that you should definitely do before you go out and shoot your first wedding! Ideally start trying to discover someone to help as soon as you book your first wedding or even before that. The sooner you start assisting the more prepared you will be.

**TIP** finding a occupation as an assistant or even volunteering is not an simple task. Especially because every other novice photographer is looking for the same occupation. Discover the best 20 wedding photographers that you LOVE and shoot in a style that you really love and start emailing them one by one.

Diy wedding photography ideas

Make certain they own your details on file and know your available at the drop of a cap. Even email them once a month (but don’t be annoying) because I generally discover that if your timing is correct, you’ll get the occupation. Imagine, their current assistant is ill, they need someone urgently and suddenly your email pops up, you’re in!!

If you own no luck, then just make yourself a cup of coffee, put some music on and start emailing every the wedding photographers in your city.

Diy wedding photography ideas

One will eventually get back to you and you can start heading out and getting some experience 🙂

This will give you first hand experience from a pro (hopefully) of exactly what goes on behind the scenes of a wedding. Attempt and put yourself in their shoes and guess what shots they are going to do next. Imagine what settings you would use on your camera as you go from location to location.

Best of every, you get a decent quantity of one on one time with the photographer while driving around so you can enquire plenty of questions (without being annoying!!). Pick their brains, most of the time they should be more than happy to assist you and divulge their knowledge as they know that once upon a time they started out just love you.

Record a shot list and memorize it!

This is another really significant tip that I used to do for at least my first 20 weddings! Record a shot list of exactly what you’re going to do at every location. Feel free to be as specific as possible and then attempt and memorize it. Also, I feel that writing it with pen and paper actually helped me to remember everything a lot more than just typing it out.

I literally used to record the following info below the day before every wedding:

Groom Coverage Shot List


  1. Cufflinks
  2. Tie
  3. Watch?
  4. Cologne
  5. Rings
  6. Flower
  7. Ask the groom if there is anything else he wants

Boys Getting Ready

  1. Slap each in the ass shot!
  2. All boys putting vests on
  3. Serious and gangster!
  4. Hero shot of every the boys fully dressed looking awesome
  5. Big smiles
  6. All boys put on jackets
  7. Boys helping groom with cufflinks
  8. All boys helping adjust the back of each others vests
  9. Boys helping groom with tie
  10. All boys grab jackets and do the Roger David shot
  11. Hugging and ruffing up the groom!

Etc, etc, etc… You get the point 🙂 I know this is super detailed, and every weddings are diverse, and things happen and you can’t always do every these shots, but at least I own every my shots memorised so whatever happens, I’ll be prepared and always own ideas up my sleeve!

Do this for the bride coverage and definitely the locations too.

Bring a pen and paper with you when you’re doing your recce and as your finding spots, record stuff below. For example:

Bride on her own in archway (full length)

  1. bride looking below at flowers
  2. back of dress shot
  3. bride looking away into the distance
  4. bride looking at camera

Groom on his own in archway (full length)

  1. looking into the distance
  2. hands in pockets looking cool at camera
  3. looking at his bride
  4. serious and smiling at camera

Bride and Groom together (full length)

  1. nosey nosey
  2. looking at eachother
  3. kissing
  4. looking at camera

Bride hugging groom from behind (close up)

  1. looking into the distance together
  2. both looking at camera
  3. bride kissing groom on the cheek
  4. bride sticking her tongue in the grooms ear!!

    Diy wedding photography ideas

    Get the reaction!!

**TIP** For every scene attempt and shoot a series of wider shots, and then stir things up and shoot another series of shut up shots in the same location. Doing this will make it a million times easier when it comes to designing the wedding album! Every the pages will just drop into place.