5 Ways to Deal with Bad Wedding Photos

It’s another one of those photographers’ nightmares that everyone has to deal with, sooner or later in their career. It usually tends to happen to beginner wedding photographers: you shoot the wedding, spend tons of time editing the pictures, then, one day, you get the dreaded call. The client hates your work. They are disappointed with it. They may even ask for their money back. What do you do? How do you deal with bad wedding photos? Here are 5 tips from actual wedding photographers, with enough experience in their portfolios to be speaking with the best of intentions.

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1. Don’t dwell

This is the most important step in learning how to deal with bad wedding photos, unless you want to end up too scared to ever pick up a camera again. The past is in the past and you can’t reshoot a wedding. You can analyze what went wrong, enlist the aid of a very skilled photo editor and try to do as much damage control as possible. However, at the end of the day, all you can do is learn from your mistakes (as everyone does) and move forward.

2. Analyze & acknowledge

Perhaps the conditions in which you shot the wedding were harsh. Perhaps you lack the experience to handle the weather, the light, the temper tantrums thrown by the wedding party, or anything else. Maybe your compositions are bad. Try to pinpoint the causes, in order to deal with bad wedding photos. Understand what went wrong, but make sure to be as objective and detached as possible. It’s actually a good idea to sit down with said ruined set and a trusted fellow photographer and ask for their opinion. A second call could be what you need, in order to prevent you from doubting your professional abilities altogether.

3. Pay up… or not

Sometimes, when you are forced to deal with bad wedding photos, you must simply understand that some clients are out to get their money back. Nothing you say or do will feel like compensation enough for them, before you pay up. You can comply to any other request they make, edit and re-edit the photos until you turn blue in the face – they want their money back and that’s final. At this point, your options are those listed in the contract you signed with them. If the client has just cause to ask for their money back, both legally and ethically, there is little you can do but pay up. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be bullied away from your money.

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4. Get a second shooter, be a second shooter

The best way to learn wedding photography is by being a second shooter. Wedding photography pros recommend second shooting weddings for at least a year, before you attempt to go it on your own, as the main wedding photographer. Similarly, if you’re starting out as a main wedding photographer, it’s almost mandatory to enlist the aid of a second shooter you can trust. At the end of the day, they can make a world of difference, in terms of client satisfaction.

5. Trust your instinct

Lastly, the main takeaway, when you have to deal with bad wedding photos, is that you should always trust your gut when it comes to taking on a gig. If you feel you lack the experience and/or are worried the responsibility is too much for you to handle, find a gracious way to say no. You should never let a client pressure you into a booking, because chances are at the end of the day no one’s going to walk away happy – not you, nor the client.

Use Your Camera’s Depth of Field Better

The manual settings on your camera, if used right, can lead to far more marvelous photos than those done with the auto settings. It’s really quite unfortunate that most DLSR cameras come today with advanced auto settings, because it enables most users to postpone actually learning a thing or two about what the manual settings actually do and how they can be aligned to work together for perfect results. Don’t be one of those lazy would-be photographers who stick to the predefined options, as that will never lead to better than average photos. One of the first things you should learn to use better is the so-called triangle of camera exposure, composed of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It can truly make the difference between average photos at best and good photos at least. But after learning more about those basics, the next thing which can influence your final photos for the better is your camera’s depth of field variable, a sub-setting within the aperture setting.

What is the Depth of Field?

The depth of field, usually abbreviated with an f-number, is something directly derived from the aperture of your camera. As a reminder, your camera’s aperture is the size of the hole within the lens, through which light travels to the inside of the camera. Considering that cameras are made following the model of the human eye, you could say that the aperture corresponds to the eye’s pupil, since they serve the same purpose of allowing light in. A bigger camera usually has a larger hole, and a smaller camera usually has a smaller hole. A larger hole equals a bigger aperture, while a smaller hole equals a lower aperture. The aperture of a camera is also expressed through an f number, with a higher number signifying a smaller aperture and vice-versa. This might seem counter-intuitive to some of you, but it can be easier sunk in if you look at this chart (pictured below). The white circles in it represent the size of the lens aperture, while the f numbers written below them illustrate the rule: the larger the number, the smaller the aperture signified will be.

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The depth of field is the size of the field that looks sharp in a photograph, and it is directly dependent on the aperture.  A large depth of field number (like f/28) will bring all the foreground and background objects into focus equally, while a smaller number (signifying a larger aperture) will bring only the foreground objects into focus, making the background of the photo appear blurry. A good illustration of this effect can be observed in the picture below. As you might have guessed, this is how those wonderful photos with faded backgrounds are made with, and it is indeed a wonderful effect to use. A skilled manipulation of a camera’s depth of field allows the photographer to emphasize whatever their heart’s desire is within a photo, and to make sure the viewers “see” the same thing the photographer has seen when they look at the image.

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Even though a camera’s aperture sounds like more or less of a hardware property, since it depends on the size of the hole and the lens, the aperture can be somewhat manipulated, within a minimum and maximum limit. Each camera comes with these min and max values stated in the manual or in the specifications of your lens, if you bought yours separately from the camera. The depth of field can be thus adjusted by adjusting the camera’s aperture, and you should play with it as often as possible to obtain better or more creative photos on the long run. Don’t be afraid to experiment, after a while you’ll get the feel of it and you’ll be able to employ the depth of field to create beautiful images seamlessly, just by following your gut. Good luck and have fun.

Make the Most from Your Camera Exposure (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture)

The basic key to taking good pictures is learning to make the most out of your camera exposure features, which unfortunately is something most beginners don’t look into. Most DLSR cameras now have “auto” modes that adapt the camera to the lighting conditions, enabling their users to not look into those settings themselves, but the results obtained using the camera’s auto mode are far from satisfactory. Also, no matter how much you play with your pictures afterwards in a photo editor like Picassa or even Photoshop, even if you use the most sophisticated auto-contrast and auto-lighting tools, you pictures still won’t be that great.

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The only thing that can make them truly spectacular and vouch for your truly professional photography skills is using the right camera settings in the first place instead of resorting to post-editing. Those camera exposure settings you should learn more about are sometimes called the camera exposure triangle: we’re talking about ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Here’s a short introduction on what you can do with each of those.

Camera Exposure Feature No 1: ISO

We’ve already talked to you about the importance of adjusting your ISO when we discussed a few tips on taking better family portraits. The ISO is a number reflecting your camera’s sensitivity to the available light. A lower number reflects a lower sensitivity (and must thus be used when there’s plenty of good light), while a higher number reflects a higher camera sensitivity. ISO 100 and 200 are considered low in most circumstances, 400 would be a medium, while every number bigger than that would be a high value. Greater ISO also comes with a cost: the higher the camera’s sensitivity, the more “grain” or noise in the photo’s quality. Still, when the lighting is poor or you’re trying to photograph a moving target, the payoff may be worth it. Experiment with this setting, get to know your camera and decide for yourself.

Camera Exposure Feature No 2: Shutter Speed

The second setting from the so-called camera exposure triangle which you should learn about is the shutter speed. This is a number reflecting the length of time for which a camera shutter is open for exposing light inside the camera sensor. Since we’re talking about advanced cameras here and not hundreds of years models, this number will obviously be a measure of fractions of a second. Really fast shutter speed settings (like 1/115) can successfully be used to freeze motion, while deliberately low speeds (like 1/15 or 1/20) can allow more light into the camera, making this a perfect setting for nighttime photography.

Camera Exposure Feature No 3: Aperture

Last, but not least, we should talk about the aperture feature. This is more like a technical built-in characteristic of the camera itself, referring to the hole with a lens through which light passes into the camera body. The larger this hole is, the more light can pass, making the camera more apt for certain types of photography. The depth of field (usually expressed through the letter f and is sometimes called the focal ratio) also depends on the camera’s aperture, and this refers to the portion of a scene which appears to be sharp. The larger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field will be and vice-versa.

Now remember: the important thing, besides learning how to use each of these better, is learning how to use them together. That means that if you increase one, maybe one of the others needs to be slightly decreased to compensate, and so on. For example, a large aperture usually calls for a high shutter speed, to prevent overexposure and so on. We can’t provide you with exact formulas here, because all this adjusting would depend not only on what your current camera settings are, but also on what exactly you’re trying to photograph, if it’s indoors or outdoors, in what kind of lighting conditions and so on. You need to research these things yourself, starting with your camera’s manual. Once you’ve managed to get those camera exposure features to work for you, the most important technical requirements for great pictures have been met.

A Few Tips on Shooting Great Family Portraits

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Many of you aspiring professionals have a hard time choosing a photography niche, but some of you already decided to have portrait photography as one of your main go-tos. And the rest of you striving to make it in this transition from an amateur photographer to a pro haven’t really wholeheartedly decided for portrait photography, but you end up doing portrait gigs once in a while because this is what is most often offered to you. Since building a portfolio always requires you to show off your paid gigs, it’s only natural to accept most of the employment offers coming your way even if you don’t need the money that bad (you have another main job) or even if the subject isn’t really your cup of tea. And this is how the matter of family portraits arises.

The customers employing you to take photos for them want portraits most often than not, obviously, so there you have it: sooner or later, every aspiring photographer needs to deal with portrait photography no matter how much or little they like it. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves and you really have a genuine interest for this kind of photography, well, even better in that case. You’ll need all the enthusiasm you can muster, just as in any other photography niche. We’ve previously shared with you a general outline about the dos and don’ts of portrait photography, but this field has its own subfields which can be very different from each other, like wedding photography, artistic nudes, mother and child photography and so on. Today we’re going to talk about what it takes to shoot really wonderful pictures in the subfield of family portraits, so that you hopefully end up with a product that satisfies both the client and your own artistic and professional exigencies.

1. Be as relaxed as you want your subject to be

Photographers complaining about how some subjects just can’t pose and how they freeze in front of the camera often forget that the subject’s attitude is very often dependent on theirs. Talk to clients beforehand about any previous experiences with photographers and, if they trust you, they’ll confess that photographers freeze too behind the camera and start fidgeting. The manner in which a photographer fidgets is something like this: continuously changing camera settings and lighting, giving contradictory instructions for the subject’s posing, seeming unsure of themselves and of what to do next, and generally conveying a discontent vibe about the whole thing. If you make your subject(s) uncomfortable and general

2. Adjust your lens to the group’s size

The lens you equip dictates what kind of angle your camera will be capable to sustain, as well as opening up a whole array of focusing options. If you’re taking the portrait of a large group, like multiple generations of one family or more than 4-5 people, you need to equip a wide-angle lens of about 18 mm, allowing more people to fit in your shot. A telephoto lens (greater than 70 mm) works, as the name implies, better at a distance, but don’t allow a great angle. If you’re shooting a group sitting further away, this could be a good option. Just climb on something that gives you a bit of an altitude and shoot away for some of the best family portraits ever; the distance will prevent you of missing the angle.

3. Use Exposure Compensation to get the skin tones right

The Exposure Compensation feature is something landscape photographers often use to brighten or darken up skies in order to obtain more realistic or dramatic images. When shooting family portraits, this feature can be used as a trick to make sure that the lighting isn’t tampering with your subjects’ natural skin tone. You can dial up this functionality (the exact place to find it depends on your camera so search it in the manual) by positive or negative ¼ measures until you feel that the skin tone is now just right.

4. Increase your ISO to counteract your subjects’ movement

People tend to move around quite a bit when they have their portraits taken and this is true especially of large groups. Imagine many generations and kids and pets all crammed up together in a tight group and having to wait for multiple shots to be taken. But don’t worry, this can actually work to your advantage, as they will be more relaxed and natural if they’re allowed to move and you may be able to capture some very fun family portraits. The only downside to all this is that movement can make the pictures blurred, depending on your camera’s aperture and shutter. To prevent the blurring, you should increase your ISO and bump up your shutter speed up to 400, and even higher in low light. This might produce a little bit of a grain effect (at higher ISO values like 3200), but even so the pictures will still look better.

Remember to practice patience and friendliness and keep researching and experimenting with various camera settings. Your portrait photography skills and photography skills in general will get better for it.

Being a Portrait Photographer: the Dos and Don’ts

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In many lines of work where you have to deal with people, having special people skills is a must. The famous “bedside manner” of doctors is just the tip of the iceberg, since many, many jobs involve having an adaptable and light social touch, especially when the job is a serving one. But being a photographer isn’t really regarded in professional mediums as being one of those serving jobs where your diplomacy and people skills are that important, since being a photographer, as we all know, equates more or less to being an artist. While that last statement is by all means true enough, the corollary is that it’s the type of artistry where those sometimes dreaded people skills do matter, since you need to negotiate with people (your present and potential clients) the exact vision they are looking for and the point of view you are trying to convert them to. This couldn’t be truer than in the case of portrait photography: not only do you work with people that commissioned the photos to deliver what they paid for, but sentient humans are the subject(s) you have to actually shoot in those photos as well. To make sure you don’t leave any kind of bitter after-taste, make sure you take these dos and don’ts into consideration when interacting with people as a portrait photographer.

 Be extra careful to promote a positive body image for your subjects

People who want their portrait taken want to feel pretty, and some of them might even be a bit extra sensitive about how they look or have bodily image issues. Be careful not to make anyone feel uncomfortable (not on purpose, of course) by suggesting they would look better in a different pose or angle, in a way that reminds them of their potential flaws. On the other hand, you can’t allow someone to really pose in a way that brings out their flaws, because then the bad result would be on you anyway, so keep in mind that it’s a thin line and you must keep the balance in the most pleasant manner possible.

Don’t be afraid to suggest spontaneous changes of plans

If during a photo shoot for a series of portrait you suddenly get an idea to do something that wasn’t originally part of the plan, suggest it right away. Maybe you’d like to invite someone else in the client’s circle to join the client in the photo frame, or maybe you want to get out of the frame altogether and try shooting in another environment, even one that hasn’t been prepped for the shoot. Whatever your idea is, try voicing it out, with confidence and tempered enthusiasm, you don’t know what good may come out of it, and the people you work with will appreciate your dedication and creativity. If they don’t seem open to the idea, don’t push it, of course; but even so, it still strengthens your professional image even if they don’t resonate with your proposal.

Try your luck with strangers (in a non-awkward way)

If being a portrait photographer is your thing, then you probably agree that people are a fascinating thing to watch and make for the most interesting subjects. Why don’t you try out your luck the next time you go for a long walk and, if you find someone interesting to take a picture of, approach them? It will not only be a good chance to further develop your people skills, but you may be surprised of the good works that can come out of a spontaneous thing like that. Take a look at the Humans of New York photo project, if you don’t know it already, and you’ll know what we mean by it. The more you try to talk to people about it, even if you get rejected, the more you can explore what kind of approach makes them uncomfortable, or work out a more reassuring and trustworthy professional persona.

Don’t neglect your social media presence

Since being a portrait photographer means working with the public and directly with clients even more so than other branches of professional photography, it’s important to brush up on your people skills in other areas as well. Your overall reputation and business card-like things, for instance. Brush up on your skills of amplifying your impact and image within social media hubs, work towards making the people who are satisfied with your work be more visible as well, while tagging you directly, and you’ll attract more potential customers than in any other way.

How to Reduce Your Photo Post-Production Time in 3 Simple Steps

reduce-your-photo-post-production-timeA career in wedding photography doesn’t have to mean a you only do one job, i.e. shoot weddings. Of course, perhaps your business strategy is that of a one-person army, a single-engine machine. That is, you shoot and edit your own photos, without the aid of an assistant or second shooter. However, perhaps your current level of career development has brought you to a less stable position and you alternate between post-production work in the studio, second shooting with various main photographers, and running your own photography operation. The advantage of doing all these things is that you develop a lot of diverse and useful skills, not the least important of which is that of knowing how to reduce your photo post-production time. We’ll tell you all about it today – though the truth is that it all boils down to a single strategy: knowing how to shoot like an editor.

1) Tell your clients’ story

As a wedding photographer, what’s your main goal? Putting together a portfolio of photos that look amazing on your blog, that have a ton of editorial appeal, that could, after all is said and done, end up in a wedding magazine? Or do you rather want to please your clients? Ideally, you should strike a balance between the two goals, but, at the end of the day, your clients are always the most important members of your audience as a photographer. They’re the ones whose needs you want to satisfy and whose story you want to tell. And they won’t always care as much as you do about super-edited photos with editorial value. They’ll want the candid smiles and the group photos, so focus on those if you want to keep them happy and reduce your photo post-production time.

2) Shoot for film

In the day and age of digital photography supremacy, it’s all too easy to overshoot. When there’s a 16GB memory card inside your camera, you might find yourself unable to stop shooting – but ending the event with tens of thousands of photos on your camera won’t help reduce your photo post-production time. Instead of falling into this entrapment, try to shoot with the eye of an editor. Try to think ahead and anticipate the necessary edits with each photo you take. You don’t want to be stuck in the studio for days, culling out your photos before you get to do anything else. The general rule of thumb here is to forget that the camera you hold in your hands is digital – think of it as an old-school film camera with no more than 36 exposures on a roll of film. This might just teach you to appreciate each shot and determine you to try and make it count.

3) Let your mistakes teach you

Irrespective of whether you work with an editor or edit all your own photos, you can always learn from your mistakes, especially if you want to reduce your photo post-production time. If you do work with an editor, try to spend some time with them as they work on your photos (and, ideally, on the work of other photographers, too). Perhaps you chose to use a 50mm lens in a small, crowded space and ended up with pictures that had to be massively cropped, in order for the guests’ expressions to become visible. Perhaps you selected an exposure time that worked for one part of the photo, but completely obliterated the side of it that would have actually been relevant. Until you shoot (and then shoot some more), it’s going to be difficult for you to understand what techniques and methods work in which particular contexts – but when you do, do pay heed to your errors.

The Brief Guide to Golden Light Wedding Photos

They don’t call the golden hour ‘the magic hour’ for no reason. There’s a certain soft, joyous quality to images taken in that kind of light that makes it ideal for the most wonderful portraits, be they for glam shoots or wedding shoots – or just about any other type of photography that involves human subjects. Of course, there’s something to be said about shooting in window light, shade, backlight, and even in direct sunlight. But there’s nothing quite like shooting portraits at magic hour, which is why today we bring you our very own version of a quick guide to golden light wedding photos. There is simply no match for it, neither in terms of artificial lighting or post-production. You can’t replicate it no matter how hard you try and how many filters and actions you try. So let’s delve right into it, then:

The unmatched qualities of golden light wedding photos

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The thing about golden light wedding photos is that they can actually be taken with the subjects staring straight into the sun without so much of a squint. Light at that time of day is softer because it takes a longer time to reach the surface of the Earth, as it has more distance to travel across the universe.

Warmth

Another quality that’s unique to golden light wedding photos is the temperature of the light. In somewhat more technical terms, at magic hour the blue wavelengths of light particles are more scattered, which is why there are more reds and yellows in its makeup. This will make your wedding portrait subjects look almost golden – sort of naturally tanned-like.

Depth

Magic hour is essentially that time of day right before sunset, which means the sun has descended lower in the sky. This low angle will effortlessly add depth to your photos. Since your subjects will have longer, softer shades at that time of the day, the pictures will look more dynamic and more profound, in terms of depth-of-field. Golden light wedding photos simply look like more accurate 2D representations of this three-dimensional world.

When to take perfect golden light wedding photos

golden-light-wedding-photos02The ‘magic hour’ is actually about two hours each day: one right after sunrise and one immediately before sunset. The span of time you have at your disposal also varies according to where on Earth you live or the place to which you’ve traveled for the photo shoot. The rule of thumb is that the closer you are to the Equator, the shorter the golden hour is going to be. Seasons also extend or shorten the magic hour (with less natural sunlight in the colder season, it goes without saying that there’s going to be less golden light then). And, of course, the weather also plays a major role in how much time you get for taking golden light wedding photos. Clouds in the sky are not a good sign, if you’re going for that warm, soft vibe of magic hour portraits – though they can work wonders for achieving sharper shadows and a more dramatic quality to your pictures. In the case of weddings, the golden hour will usually catch you right after dinner or during the meal, so try to inform your clients of this in advance, so you can sneak out into the great outdoors with them for a few beautiful portraits.

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There are lots of great options in this sense, since golden light is so permissive. You can have your subject directly facing the light, or you can get a warm glow with backlit portraits. In this second scenario, you can also try to obtain a rim of light outlining the silhouettes of your subject, which will make it stand out from the background and appear aglow. You can also try to obtain a flare, which will differ greatly from one specific aperture to the next, from one lens to the other – try to find the best kind of effect for your subjects. And, of course, golden light allows for a ton of experimentation, so just go out and have fun with it!

Rekindle Your Passion for Wedding Photography in 3 Easy Steps

It happens to the best of them: we haven’t asked, but we’re sure that, were you to catch her on an off day, even contemporary glam photography guru Annie Leibovitz sometimes feels like the spark is just gone.

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Bottom line, no matter how passionate you may be about wedding photography, sometimes that passion just vanishes without a trace. Sometimes you feel stuck in a rut and, no matter what you do, you’re just not happy with your work. It happens to us all, which is why we’re here today to show you what you need to do, in order to rekindle your passion for wedding photography in three simple steps.

Ever felt this way? You need to find your passion for wedding photography again!

The danger of feeling stuck and trapped within monotony is that you develop an entire range of very negative, self-deprecating thoughts about your work. And while, at first, it may seem like these ideas will propel you toward creating ever better wedding photos, this rarely ever happens. Rather, you become more prone toward creative blocks, which, in turn, lead to creative frustration and a whole lot of resentment. In fact, what these thoughts are there to tell you is that you need to take better care of yourself, both as a person, as well as a creative individual, who happens to work in wedding photography. Here’s what could have gone wrong and made you feel that your work is subpar, or otherwise inadequate:

-          You keep compromising. Instead of working toward honing your creative vision, you’ve let go one time too many.

-          You don’t value yourself and your work enough. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to turn down a job or two every now and then – especially if you’ve been feeling stressed, overworked, and burned out.

-          You feel underappreciated and, hence, uninspired.

The good part is that all creative individuals, no matter the field they’re working in, feel this way every now and then. If they say they don’t, they’re lying (either to you, or to themselves). The part that’s even better: you can fix these feelings and make them work for you, not against you. Here’s how:

Step #1: Where do you see yourself?

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This may sound like a total cliché, but in order to find your passion for wedding photography all over again, you need to refocus on your vision. Your ‘voice’ as a photographer. Your signature style. This may mean that you’re going to have to start learning to turn down projects that don’t align with that creative vision. It’s all a matter of prioritizing and of asking yourself: ‘does this job make me feel proactive? Am I working to achieve a dream, or simply going with the flow?’ If your answer is geared more toward the ‘going with the flow’ option, perhaps it’s time to step back and assess whether or not you really need to say yes to the umpteenth White Wedding gig this year. Refer the potential clients to someone who can do the job and move on.

Step #2: Step outside your comfort zone

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The paradoxical thing about being a wedding photographer is that you sometimes end up saying yes to engagements that you know won’t help you learn. They are clearly not the type of work that you want to be known for. You would like to change, but simply can’t seem to motivate yourself to try something new, and would much rather stick to the beaten path. But if you genuinely want to find your passion for wedding photography once again, you need to step outside that comfort zone and experiment. What’s the worst that could happen? No, seriously. Consider the best and the worst possible outcomes of doing things differently. Hint: it’s always worth trying out something new, if only for the sake of the experience.

Step #3: Kick back

Take a break from work. Drive off a few hours away. Be with yourself and no one else for a few days. Learn to unwind and enjoy your own company.

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Think you can’t afford that?

That’s a fair issue. If money is standing in your way to relaxation, then work your way through this problem. Price your shoots better and as soon you’ve got some money saved to take a short break away from work, do it. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Hell’s Bells: 7 Nightmare Wedding Photography Clients

nightmare-wedding-photography-clientsWhile every wedding photographer dreams of that perfectly cooperative couple, a dream to work with and easy-going, too – that kind of work assignment is rare. And, at the same time, while not every assignment is a disaster, the notion of nightmare wedding photography clients is certainly real. In today’s post we’re going to briefly outline seven of the most common issues that such clients are likely to pose (pun not intended).

#1 Nightmare wedding photography clients that ignore the schedule

Some people simply don’t understand that a photographer’s main resource is lighting. They blatantly disregard the wedding day shooting schedule, as they fail to grasp the importance of the time of day. Midday sun, for instance, casts very harsh shadows, in which most people won’t look good, so it’s important to avoid this time of day and shoot in the later hours.

#2 The chronically late/in a hurry

These nightmare wedding photography clients are a similar species with the ones listed above. While they do follow the schedule to a certain extent, they will either be late, or assume the shoot only lasts for 10 minutes. Make sure you approach such cases delicately and explain that it takes a bit of punctuality and patience of their side to get the shoot right.

#3 The uninvited second fiddle

A very specific type of nightmare wedding photography clients will bring along a relative with pro photo gear, who will insist to take pictures alongside with you. Yes, they mean well in most cases, but chances are they will also get in your way, ruin your official shots, and provide unsolicited advice. Try to approach them with kindness, but gently explain they should leave the picture-taking to the actual hired professional.

#4 The clients that hate the way they look in the photos

Some wedding photography clients don’t understand why it’s important to communicate with their photographer beforehand. After all, you’re a professional, so, in their view, you should be able to just guess how they like to look in pictures. Kindly ask all clients to show you pictures of themselves that they actually like before going ahead with the shot. Alternatively, you can ask them to explain what looks and angles they would like to avoid.

#5 The camera darlings

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the nightmare wedding photography clients who don’t enjoy picture taking at all there are those who love it a bit too much. You should always make sure to reassure the couple to be that a wedding day photo shoot shouldn’t actually take all day. The best wedding photos are those in which the couple and guests can be seen enjoying themselves, not cooking up elaborate, unlikely poses for the camera. This kind of thing can turn tiring very fast and will almost always end up looking artificial and phony.

#6 The last minute special

Most couples to be understand that booking a photographer early is just about as important as booking the venue and band in a timely manner. However, not all of them do, which makes some postpone the decision until the very last minute. This, of course, can tend to make them feel frustrated with their choice and usually leads to rushing through the whole photographing process, in order to make sure they’re getting all the photos they want.

#7 The trend addicts

Wedding photo booth? Sure, they want one. The Instagram hashtag? Of course they want you to take care of that, too! Some couples will just fall for anything that’s trendy right now, in terms of wedding photography – and no photog out there could ever satisfy their needs, no matter how skilled or versatile he/she is. Explain that great wedding photography is the kind that passes the test of time, not the kind that got 100k likes on  Facebook yesterday.

Always Shoot in RAW Format! 4 Main Reasons

rawIf you’ve been shooting weddings or anything else, for that matter, as a professional, for at least some time now, then you’ve definitely been told you should always shoot in RAW format. Now, if you haven’t been around the photography circuit for long enough, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, it’s just another file format, right?

Wrong. RAW is the format that any and all photographers should care about, if they have any claims to make about being a professional. See, the difference between shooting in RAW and using any other file formats is that the other ones will always compress the data captured by the sensor on your camera. This way, the information will be lost and your processed, final photo will inevitably suffer in terms of quality. File formats like JPEG also produce a series of errors, which you can’t correct – as you would be able to in RAW. Here are the top four reasons for which you should always shoot in RAW format and nothing else.

RAW yields top quality photos

This one has been lightly touched upon above: when shooting in the RAW file format, you lose no data, of everything the sensor on your camera picks up on. And this format has even become accessible enough for compact point-and-shoot devices, so there’s no reason why you, the owner of a professional level DSLR should opt for anything else. If you opt for JPEG, you’re essentially allowing your camera to process the image as it sees fit, which takes a lot of your creative input and decision power out of the process of picture making.

RAW is smoother

To say that RAW file formats are brighter is an oversimplification: in fact, images shot in this format simply come with more levels of brightness than any other formats. Compare it with the JPEG – it’s only able to record 256 levels of image brightness, as opposed to the staggering 4,096 to 16,384 levels that RAW files are able to reproduce. In other words, while JPEG is only capable of 8bit image captures, RAW files can support anything from 12bit to 14bit. More levels of brightness means smoother transitions between different color tones in the image you produce. It also entails the freedom to correct exposure levels, highlights, shadows, recover distorted areas, and toy with the contrasts, to name but a few perks.

Always shoot in RAW format for correct exposure

A lot of photographers who do no action shoots will tell you that the file format is, at most, a last resort for correcting bad exposures. In a certain sense, they are right: you will always get the best exposure in camera. However, at times it’s next to impossible to expose the image right under pressing, dynamic circumstances such as those often encountered at weddings. That’s where all the information stored in a RAW file steps in and allows you to correct exposure levels in post-processing, without a sensible decrease in picture quality.

RAW gives you the right to decide on white balance

Do we need to explain just how important white balance is for photography in general, but for wedding photography in particular? Hopefully not – but since we’re trying to determine you to always shoot in RAW format, we’re just going to mention that, when you shoot JPEG, the white balance is automatically applied by the camera, without your specific input. RAW files do also record white balance levels, but they also allow you the choice to intervene later and adjust the amount, so that your colors come out just the way you want them to (and not your camera).