“I try to think, ‘What would be special and meaningful?’” Plicanic says. “I want them to gasp when they look at their pictures. And often, what I hear is, ‘I had no idea this was happening! How did you get that?’”
No one can witness everything that happens at their own wedding and, often, a keen-eyed photographer chronicling candid moments can make a couple feel like they hired someone who went above and beyond.
“When I delivered the images, there were so many moments that weren’t on the list,” Rivera says. “But the bride was obsessed with them.”
How to capture these moments? Experience builds skill, but really, it comes down to looking for narratives within the day that tell stories the couple, with a thousand things to do, will surely miss in the moment.
“I watch out for people having a really good conversation and laughing,” Plicanic says. “It captures the experience from the guests’ perspective, too.”
And don’t forget to embrace the controlled chaos. Sometimes that frenetic wedding energy fuels great photos.
“Everything is so fast-paced throughout the day. Sometimes you don’t necessarily have time to compose the image perfectly,” wedding photographer Naba Zabih says. “But those photos can still be very impactful, sometimes because of the fact that it’s not totally following the rules.”
Things to consider in professional wedding photography.
Typically, a couple hires a photographer because they like the photographer’s existing work, but managing expectations is still important.
“They’re mostly looking to you to do your thing,” Plicanic says. “It’s more about educating them about what you do, how you do it and how they can help you do your job.”
That education can establish realistic expectations. “You need to help them to understand that a lot of reference images they pull are editorial wedding shoots where one shot took eight hours to produce,” Rivera says.
You may find yourself in a situation where a couple asks for something beyond what you’ve done in the past. To determine if that’s a request you can accommodate, break down the money and time considerations. This is a process that every photographer looking to shoot weddings professionally should go through.