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Photographing Weddings.

Being a wedding photographer is a sh-utterly cool job!

I apologize for that joke, but it is pretty neat. Especially if you do it right. We're able to turn fleeting moments into cherished memories that last a lifetime.

That said... the pressure is on.

Below I'm going to expose all my tips, checklists, and overall advice about working weddings - so get focused. (Just a few more puns, I promise.)

Let's get into it!

Preparing for the Big Day

Wedding photography begins long before the actual event. It starts with careful planning and preparation to ensure you capture the essence of the couple's vision. Meet with the couple in advance to understand their style, preferences, and specific requests. Discuss the schedule, locations, and any must-have shots they desire. Additionally, if it's possible, visiting the wedding venue ahead of time allows you to scout for ideal shooting spots and lighting conditions, helping you maximize your creativity on the day of the event.

My prep steps:

1. Set up a call with the clients to get acquainted and go over details. I prefer video chat - I have an easier time connecting with faces.

  • In that call, I connect with them on a personal level first. You are going to be with them at a very vulnerable time in their life! Prioritize your customer service skills. Ask about their relationship, ask about their vision for their wedding, how the planning process is going, what makes them excited, etc. If you're bad at doing that on the spot, literally write a list of nice questions to ask and put it in front of you while you're on the call.

  • During this call, I try to understand what kind of people I'm working with. Let's categorize them in colors:

    • Red Personality: blunt, straight to the point, strong personality type.

    • Blue Personality: bubbly, talkative, people person.

    • Green Personality: very detail oriented, thorough questions, they love researching.

    • Yellow Personality: timid, cares about what is best for you, softer personality type.

Now I am not saying we all perfectly fit into one of these four categories, most people are a little bit of everything, but there usually is a dominating personality and you'll see it when you start looking for it.

I am always myself when I talk to people, however I find that if I lean into their personality trait, I can better serve them! This is how I approach each category:

  • Red Personality: No dilly dallying, I tell them exactly what I'm going to do and lead with confidence. They might come on strong, but crack a joke and show you're not intimated.

  • Blue Personality: All the dilly dallying, lol! They wanna talk and I'm going to let them. They're here to have fun and have positive vibes. Half the time these kinds of people don't even ask me about the details, we just talk about life.

  • Green Personality: Let them ask allllll the questions. They probably already read everything on your website but they want to double check. Be patient with them, they are not second guessing your skills, they just feel safe when they know all the information.

  • Yellow Personality: Connect with them on a caring level and lead the conversation when they don't know what to say or ask. They almost always prioritize you on the day of too, making sure you eat and take breaks. Let them, it brings them joy!

  • While you are on this call building connections with these people, make sure you are also straight forward about your services and clearly understand what they need. Then we're going to double confirm in written form.

2. Send them your contract, invoice, and questionnaire.

  • I use Honeybook for these services. I'm a big fan of Honeybook for many reasons - it's organized, it's automatic, it's flexible, it's easy. But you can use whatever you want!

    • Send all your stuff over to your clients right away and get that deposit. You need a deposit and that deposit is going to be nonrefundable, tell your clients. It's up to you what that number is: $100, $500, $1,000, half the total amount, etc.

    • Decide the payment plan with your clients. Again, totally up to you. One big payment on the day of, month prior, split up into monthly portions, two big chunks, etc - just make sure you get your money before the day is over.

    • Send over your contract. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not going to give you contract advice, but I will say - you MUST get that contract signed and protect yourself thoroughly. Seek professional help to create your contract if you don't already have one. It. Is. Insanely. Worth. It. Do it. And make sure that is signed by all parties asap.

    • Send over a questionnaire. It seriously helps having things written down, especially when you work many weddings a year. Attached below is an example of the kinds of questions I typically send to my clients if that helps! Add or subtract anything you'd like. I print this out and bring it with me on the day of.

3. Do a follow up call right before the wedding.

  • Always have another meeting right before the wedding to double check details, check back in, ask any last minute questions, etc! You don't want to be stressing a client out on the day of their wedding. Get all your questions answered beforehand. (This includes things like where to park, how far the locations are if there are multiple venues, where you will eat, etc).

The Big Day.

Working a wedding day is a wild ride and an absolute privilege. This couple has given you the opportunity to be creative and capture some of the most memorable photos of their life! Take each moment as it comes, provide a safe space for people to be vulnerable, show up for them in big and small ways, and enjoy the process. You've got this!

My day of steps:

1. Actually, let's start with the night before.

  • Get yourself prepared. Cameras charged, back up batteries charged, lights packed, backup cameras packed, sd cards formatted and empty, fill your gas tank, get snacks and energy drinks ready, iron your clothes, etc! Do this the night before and then double check again in the morning.

  • Get sleep, consider doing some stretches when you wake up, drink water. Your body goes through a lot working weddings, prep that too!

2. When you arrive.

  • Get there at least 30 minutes early. This gives you time for emergencies, camera set up, location scouting, meditation, or just like a cute selfie before you get to work. Give yourself the extra time.

  • Find the bride(s)/groom(s) right away and say hello. Greet them with excitement! It's likely the bridal party and some family members will also be around, say hi to them too. You're a stranger coming into their comfort zone - you have to connect with them and make them feel comfortable with you there too. This will result in better photos and a better time. If you have a second shooter, introduce them too.

  • Start with the details. Get the invitation shots, the ring and jewelry shots, the dress hanging up, shoes waiting to be put on, etc. Make it PRETTY and be creative with it. They put a lot of effort into these little details. (Pro tip, bring a Command strip hanger in the case you can't find a good spot to hang the dress:

  • Then get candid shots. The rush of a wedding morning is wild, be a fly on the wall for a bit and catch those fun shots of people just doing people things. Keep it fun, don't get in the way, and start to get the vibe of the people your working with. If they're cracking jokes, crack 'em back. If they're all feeling very stressed and tense, combat it with a calm and confident energy.

  • If there's time in the morning, get some posed shots. Things like all the bridesmaids wearing robes, the guy's taking a shot, etc. Prioritize the moments like the dress being put on or a suit jacket goin on - the special moments of the bride(s)/groom(s) finishing getting ready. If there's lots of time, I like to get all the bridal party shots out of the way asap - groups and individuals.

    • The pace of the morning really depends on your client, the makeup/hair stylists, and the bridal party. If they are running behind, you need to be QUICK with what you're doing. Obviously take the time you need to get the shots... but it's a good idea to practice efficiency. No one wants to sit and wait for a photographer to figure it out while knowing there going to be late for the ceremony!

3. First looks.

  • If you're doing any first looks, that'll usually come next! A first look is the moment someone gets to see someone for the first time all dressed up and ready to go. The clients can do this with anyone - grandparents, parents, bridesmaids, etc! The big first look though will be with their partner.

    • A couple will choose to do this because they want an intimate moment with their partner before everyone arrives. Take them to a private location where they won't be bothered by anyone else (preferably somewhere they don't have to walk *too* far to get to). Remember... you're the awkward third party here, so do everything you can to make them feel comfortable with you being there.

      • I usually line a partner up looking away and then line up the other partner behind them (with a little space, so they can get the full effect when they turn around). Then I'll say something to get them emotionally ready, like: "Before you turn around and look at each other, I want you both to take a deep breath and bring yourself fully into this moment. You have spent such a long time preparing for this big day and I want you to now take a minute before the chaos to just simply be with your partner." Then I'll ask them if they're ready or to say hi to each other, just cute little things... and then count down from 3 for them to do the big reveal.

      • When photographing your first looks, you need to act FAST. We're going to be all nice and lovey with them on the surface, but deep down the pressure is ON in this moment. Get yourself in a good position and turn your camera on high speed capturing to get the reactions. If you're working with another photographer, prepare the angles ahead of time so you don't get in each others way. If you're working alone, prepare to MOVE to capture both client's faces quickly.

  • Sometimes clients will ask for family photos prior to the ceremony, but this is different with each wedding timeline. If you can fit them in, it's always nice to have them done early.

4. Ceremony time.

  • Make sure you have at minimum 10 minutes of prep time before the ceremony starts. Get all the decor details of the ceremony, get guests coming in, figure out the best spots for you to stand, arrange your camera settings to the lighting situations, etc.

  • Again, if you're working with another photographer, make a ceremony game plan. If not, map out your movements before it starts to make sure you're not going to miss anything.

  • Even though the ceremony is the main event, it's actually pretty simple to photograph!

    • Get the shots of them walking down the aisle, shaking the hand of the officiant, hugging each other, the flower girl dropping petals, etc. All the movement before they all settle in.

    • Then when everyone is fairly still, bounce back and forth between the sides and get a wide shot of everything while the ceremony is happening. (When someone is reading vows, make sure to photograph the other's reactions.) *I'll bounce between second and fourth position as seen below*

    • Be in the middle and up close for the kiss - personally I like to crouch so I'm not in anyone's way, then I'll stand and quickly walk backwards as they begin to walk my way. Consider having them kiss a second time half way down the aisle, it always looks great.

    • Then move like a crazy person to get out of the way for the recessional and capture them coming back down. (Right before the ceremony starts, I'll remind everyone to walk slower than they'll want to on the way out. People are filled with excitement at this time and quite literally POWER WALK out of there! Lol! If they know in advance, they might remember, and this will allow for better shots.)

  • Below I am going to share my general positioning for a ceremony. It's fairly simple, but remember to stay quiet and not be too distracting while you're doing this. The attention should not be on you.

5. Cocktail hour/Family Portraits.

  • Typically right after the ceremony is when you do family portraits. Get everyone together right away so you don't lose anyone! Use your nice teacher voice to wrangle them up - they will be looking to you to lead!

  • Work with your couple on your portrait shot list to make sure nothing is forgotten. Remind them that each grouping is about 2-3 minutes each to get, so if they want to participate in cocktail hour, they need to keep it relatively short.

  • To really go above and beyond for your clients, think about the order of who you are taking photos for. Get the elderly and kids done right away, do your biggest groups first so they're not waiting around, etc!

  • Then make sure you take time to do a few couple portraits without anyone else there. This is a good time for the couples to wind down from the ceremony anxiety, so be gentle and help them through it. I have a bunch of videos and blogs about posing if you need help with that!

  • After all the portraits are done, head over to reception to start taking detail shots and prep equipment before all the guests come in.

    • Take wide and close up shots of the table settings, flowers, decor, food, literally EVERYTHING while it's nice and tidy. These people put so much thought and money into this moment, capture it.

    • Also, use this time to set up your lighting if you're using any. Prep that gear before everyone comes in and practice!!! You should know where the couple is entering from so you can properly light them - if you don't know, ask a coordinator. Try not to bug the couple.

  • If you have time after all that, get over to cocktail hour to take candid shots of everyone enjoying themselves! Don't forget to grab some water, go to the bathroom, and eat a little appetizer during this time too.

6. Reception.

  • Reception events vary per couple, but the general idea is to just capture EVERYTHING. Have your camera ready at all times.

  • Be thoughtful of where you need to be during entrances, first dances, bouquet tosses, cake cutting, etc!

  • During reception I am personally very quiet. I am the invisible lady, capturing candid moments that you don't even know happened until you see your wedding album! I focus on the genuine experiences and make sure everyone is having a fun time.

    • Sometimes I try to get photos of every table, sometimes I tag team with a DJ for fun photo games, sometimes I'll stand in the middle of the dance floor and encourage people to pose, etc! It's totally up to you. Have fun with it!

    • During the reception I will also find time for a much needed break. Have dinner, network with the other wedding vendors (GET BUSINESS CARDS ALWAYS), grab some coffee, etc.

      • Don't take too much time... be observant with the timeline and vibe for when you're needed again, but take a minute to rest. On average it's about 15-30 minutes.

      • Also - I do not drink when I work weddings. If in the rare case I do, I will have one, but that's it. You need to stay professional throughout the whole night. Drink when you get home.

7. Ending the night.

  • Say goodbye to all the vendors. It's a small field, it pays off to be nice.

  • Say goodbye to the bridal party and family members. Referrals are the lifeline of this business.

  • Say goodbye to the newly weds and ask if they need anything else before you head out. Remind them you'll check in with them soon and to have a great rest of their night. If you're lucky, you might get a tip!

  • Double check that you have ALL of your equipment and be safe driving home!

8. Delivery.

  • After the wedding is over, unload your SD cards immediately! I literally do this the MOMENT I am back home. In fact, sometimes I bring my laptop and unload/swap out sd cards DURING the wedding so I'm sure they're backed up and safe.

  • Next you'll begin the culling process. This is picking out all of the best images from the day. You can do this manually or even use Ai programs, like Aftershot.

  • After, it's time to edit. Every photographer has a different editing style, but usually making Presets will help you edit these large amounts of photos quickly - just make sure you double check each one. It's up to you if you include black and whites, but I usually send a few over with the option to do them to any photo they'd like. (Ai programs also edit now... but I'm not using them at this time. I still enjoy the editing process.)

  • Then you'll prep them for delivery! It is up to you on how you want to deliver your photos - I like to use Pixiset. I will send the edited gallery online and encourage them to back up them up on a hard drive! I also categorize the images into events of the day so it's not too overwhelming to look at. (Remind your clients that eventually you will delete their gallery, so they have to get it downloaded! I give my clients a year.)

  • Printing is also an option for delivery, but that's entirely up to you if you want to do that! There are albums, cool frames, merchandise, all kinds of crazy things you can sell to your clients. (For my business, I simply give my clients a print release and have them print wherever they want. You can make a lot of money off of charging for prints, but I personally just don't like handling that part).

*Side note - I like to send a couple edited "sneak peeks" the next day to give them something to post online. But that is optional.*

That's the main idea. Now let me shoot some equipment tips at ya.

1. The camera you are using does not really matter. As long as you can work with the settings, put it on high speed, and make sure you're getting good focus - yay! I use Sony, but the brand really does not matter *that* much.

2. The lenses DO matter. A bunch.

  • When I first started weddings I only had one zoom lens that went from 24mm to 120mm. It did the job and my images were good! But when I got my prime lenses there was no going back. (However if this is what you're working with right now and you can't afford more lenses, rock on with it! Just price your packages accordingly and save up for some better gear!)

  • The main lenses I use during weddings are 85mm, 50mm, and 35mm. If you know nothing about lenses, definitely read up on it before you work a wedding, but the bigger the number - the closer the shot will be.

    • I'm usually doing those artsy, beautiful portraits with the 85mm, the ceremony with the 50mm, and the family shots with the 35mm. Keep them handy at all times. I like working with two cameras so that way I can change out quickly.

    • 85mm lens:

    • 50mm lens:

    • 35mm lens:

3. The settings also matter A BUNCH. You should be very familiar with manual settings before you work a wedding. Wedding photography happens quickly and you will need to be button ready.

4. Lighting depends on each photographer. Some shoot only natural, some do lots of off camera lighting, and me personally - I'm right in the middle. I mostly shoot natural for everything except for the reception. It's a good idea to at *least* have an on camera flash like this one:

  • I suggest heading over to Youtube and watching behind the scenes of wedding photographers. There are so many videos to learn from and see how different people work!

  • Make sure you know how to use those lights before the wedding and practice on real people!

  • Also - if you need to do a sparkler exit, study that asap. It can be a little tricky lighting that at night time.

5. Extra accessories like lens filters, props, etc are fun to bring too! Just make sure you have time for it.

6. Quick notes about SD cards:

  • Ideally, you want a camera with two slots so you can have a backup.

  • I prefer to use at least 128GB

  • I just started using the "tough" SD card by Sony: (I like it, but I'm not convinced it's really worth the price yet. You need a special reader for it!

  • This is the little pouch I use for my cards: (It's literally the cheapest one you can find. You do not need a fancy case for SD cards.)

7. Carrying equipment is also something to touch on! You want proper bags to bring all this stuff with you so it's organized, easy to carry, and you won't wreck your gear.

We're almost done! Here are some random tidbits to help you even more.

  • Your outfit.

    • You will notice on my questionnaire I ask my clients what they want me to wear. Black is professional and easy to find us in a crowd, dressy makes us blend in more so we're not so noticeable, and casual is the option I put if the wedding is.. well... casual. If the clients don't have a preference, I go with black. It is important that you look clean and put together for a wedding. You never know who you might meet!

  • Helping people will help you.

    • Asking the DJ if they need help setting up, checking in with the wedding coordinator to see if they need water, pulling out a chair for the bride's grandma, etc - all of these simple things will never be forgotten by these people! People want to work with nice people, that's just FACTS! Wedding photography is 40% photography, 60% customer service.

    • This will also set you up nicely if YOU need help during the wedding. I can't begin to tell you how many people have swooped in to help me because I was there to help them.

  • Prioritize what and who your couple prioritizes.

    • Pay attention to who and what your couple prioritizes and you will have an easy time providing amazing service.

  • You might end up doing more than just photographing.

    • I'm preparing you now... as a "wedding photographer", I have been a makeup artist when the vendor never showed, a coordinator because they didn't have one, a bathroom assistant to hold up a dress, an emcee because the DJ was on break, a button closer or zipper upper because people were struggling with long nails, etc. There are lots of little tasks that you'll end up doing to help people out! A wedding takes a team, you help where you can.

      • THAT SAID... Early on in my business I was doing way too much for people. Find a healthy balance. This year I am adding in a coordination fee for clients who do not have a planner or day of coordinator because it ALWAYS ends up being the photographer's responsibility day of - and that's a big responsibility. Like a whole other job kind of responsibility.

  • Loosen everyone up.

    • You will get better photos when people are comfortable! Read the room and figure out how you help them relax.

  • Prepare your posing ideas ahead of time.

    • Whether you ask the couple to send you poses they love or you do your own research, have poses ready to go. Sometimes you will get very photogenic people, sometimes you will get a couple that has NO idea what to do in front of the lens. You have to be their guide. Don't be afraid to say something if it's not looking right, just be nice about it. Guide them!

  • This day is not about you.

    • I mean this in the nicest way - it ain't about you and you best not make it about you. It is your professional duty to put your needs and wants on the back burner during a wedding.

      • Save your complaints for the next day (I've witnessed vendors get caught complaining about the couple, the family, or the vendors... trust me, you do not want to be in that position.)

      • If something doesn't happen as expected, you gotta roll with it.

      • Remember that you "get more flies with honey than vinegar"

  • It's not your day, but you don't have to tolerate bad guest or vendor behavior.

    • I have it written in my contract that if I am repeatedly harassed by any of the guests or vendors - I will give notice to the couple, but if it is not handled immediately, I WILL terminate my services without obligation. Unfortunately, there can be situations where people do out of pocket things. Usually alcohol is involved. It's completely fine to protect yourself within reason.

Well that was kind of a lot. But I hope it was helpful!!!

If you have any more questions or would like some more 1:1 training, write me!

Wishing you all the best!

Lynea D'Aprix

The Wedding Talk (

D'Aprix Photography (



Hey, thanks for being here.

I'm Lynea, founder of The Wedding Talk. Our mission is to inspire, education, and simplify the wedding industry for those of you getting married and wedding vendors in the industry. Pop over to my socials to get all the tips and tricks you'll need.

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