What I Wish I Had Known When I First Started Out As a Photographer

If you’re looking for photography tips for beginner wedding photographers, you’re in the right place! I’ve seen this question pop up a lot in our photography group recently, so I thought I’d ask what your thoughts were about this.


What’s something you wish you had known when you first started out as a photographer, or before your photographed your first wedding? 


Here are a few photography tips for beginner wedding photographers that I suggested to our community members, but I really want to know what YOU wish you had known before your first paid session!


1. Shoot with prime lenses (50 mm 1.8 and 85 mm 1.8 are pretty affordable). The longer the focal length, the more bokeh (blurry background) you can create.


2. Learn about the exposure triangle and start shooting in manual mode.

3. Use a wide aperture. I shoot my portraits at f2 and increase it to f3.2ish for larger groups.

4. Keep as much distance as you can between your subject and the background. The farther away your subject is from the background, the more blur (bokeh) you will be able to create.

5. Use the center focal point to focus on the eyes, and then recompose your image however you’d like. With a large group, you want them to be on the same plane, so basically have them sit or stand in a straight line as opposed to having a couple of rows of people. When shooting a large group, focus on the person closest to the camera so that everyone else looks in focus.

6. Learn how to use back button focus. It will help with your focus when you’re shooting a moving subject. This blog post will help!

7. If it’s an overcast day, have your subject face the sun. If it’s a sunny day and you’re shooting outside with no shade, have your subject face their shadow.

8. Keep your ISO around 100 when shooting outside during the day. Only increase it when you are indoors or if you don’t have enough available light outside. The higher the ISO, the more noisy (grainy) your image will be.

9. Use light backgrounds (white porch, grey building, etc.) for a more light and airy style. Avoid busy backgrounds as much as possible.

10. Try to not go under 250 shutter speed in order to avoid blurry images. Don’t go over 250 shutter speed when using a flash (a black bar may appear at the the bottom of your images). Flash freezes motion, so your images won’t be blurry unless there’s a lot of movement happening.

11. Always shoot in RAW as opposed to JPEG. You will have a lot more flexibility while editing.

12. Shoot the bride and groom portraits around f2 to have a nice blurry background (bokeh), and bridal parties + family photos around f3.2 to make sure everyone is in focus.

13. Use macro filters for detail shots and increase the aperture to around f3.8 or f4 to make sure your details are in focus. I use these macro filters.

14. On the actual wedding day, don’t be afraid to ask your couple to step outside for some of the “getting ready shots”. The pictures will be more flattering when you have good light.

15.  Have a few core poses in the back of your mind at all times. Your clients will feel more at ease if they know that you are in control. For more posing help, you can check out my free bridal party training, or my posing course.


These are my top photography tips for beginner wedding photographers. What do you wish you had known when you first started out? Head over to our Facebook group and let me know. :)





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