Are you sure about this?
As someone who has been trying to break into the wedding photography field I want to tell you that you need to be sure that you want to go the do-it-yourself route with your wedding photography. Taking good wedding pictures is a tough task so be sure that you know someone who is going to do a good a job, has a good camera, and is very familiar with it. You aren’t going to want to hang ugly wedding photos up around your house and you aren’t going to want to bring them out every time you have guests over if they look horrible. So think it through and if you are positive that you do not want to hire a professional, then proceed for some DIY wedding photography tips.
Lighting is a common challenge when it comes to wedding photography. When using flash, the shadows can be harsh and details can be washed out. Without flash and when using a higher ISO, your photos will look grainy and blurry. Here are some tips for helping you with lighting issues you might come up with:
The best way to do flash photography in a dimly lit church is with a digital SLR that has a detachable flash and a diffuser on it. Check with the church and key members of the wedding party (your bride or groom and parents) to be sure flash photography will be allowed. If not, you will have to take photos on a higher ISO setting so try to have the church as brightly lit as possible to avoid the photos coming out too grainy.
Since these are going to be summer wedding photos, consider taking the formal portraits after the ceremony outdoors. As long as you are not putting the entire wedding party in direct sunlight or facing the sun, there will be much better lighting and a variety of places to take the photos.
When taking photos outside, the best lighting available is usually on the shady side of a large building because the sunlight will still hit the subject, but will not wash out all of the details of the wedding dress.
Don’t Forget to Take a Picture of…
Make sure you write out a list of pictures that you do not want to miss such as the bride with her parents, the groom with his parents, the bride and groom with each (and both) sets of parents. A good list to help you decide which photos you need on your list is available at About.com. Assign a friend or member of the family to help keep track of this list to make sure you capture every photo that is a “must have”.
For the photographs of smaller details, try to get your hands on a macro lens if you will be using a SLR camera. If you are using a point and shoot camera, there should be a macro setting on it as well that looks like a tulip.
Make sure you know who will be taking the photographs and that they have the list of important photographs to take. Also make sure they will be taking photographs before the ceremony, during, after, and at the reception if that is what you expect of them.
Check out the location before the day of the ceremony, test out the camera to be sure it isn’t going to be too dark, and find nice places outside to take the formal portraits.
You never know when the weather might not agree with your big day so be sure that you have an alternate location lined up so a little bad weather doesn’t completely ruin your wedding day and your wedding photography.
Make sure you have a lot of memory cards for the camera. You might think that 1000 photos is too much, but on your big day, that might only last you till the end of the ceremony and then you will have to sort the photos and delete some before you can proceed to the formal pictures and reception.
Turn It Off
There are two things (maybe even three) that you should turn off before wedding photography. The first is the date stamp, my friend had the date stamp on half of her wedding photographs and I was mortified for her. It’s an important thing to remember! You’ll remember what day your wedding is on without it printed in bright orange letters across grandma’s face. Also be sure the sound on your camera is off so it won’t be disruptive during the ceremony or afterwards at the reception. Another thing that you are probably going to want to turn off for most of the day is the flash, which I have already mentioned (but I will mention it again because it is very important).
I am Adobe Photoshop CS3’s biggest fan. There are so many free actions you can download to help enhance the looks of your wedding photographs that your friends will never believe that they were DIY wedding photographs. If you sign up with Totally Rad Actions you can get a free sampler of their actions, but with the money that you saved on your wedding photography, it might even be worth it to purchase some of your own.
Keep in mind that there are some things that Photoshop cannot fix no matter how hard you work on it such as an excessive amount of noise/graininess from using a higher ISO (it can be reduced, but not eliminated) and blurriness.
Hopefully some of these DIY summer wedding photography tips will help you save some money on your wedding day. Be sure to enlist someone you trust to help you with your photographs and see some photos that they have taken before. This is your wedding day and you don’t want something to go bad with the memories that you will cherish from it!