Can you give me 5 “must have” wedding photos?

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Q. Please can you give me 5 “must have” photos to include at a wedding? I am shooting my best friend’s wedding this weekend and starting to panic! Oh – and I am also the best man! I have promised them an album, but I am worrying about how I will get the group shots, signing the register and coming down the aisle, etc. – help! – Glenn Dorrington, Berkshire UK

A. Hi Glenn, Wow you live dangerously! My first reaction is that you are crazy and could lose your friendship! Please note that I would never recommend that anyone shoots a wedding like this, however you’re there now so we’ve got to work out a solution!

The first thing to do is stop worrying about it, start planning, and do the best you can in the circumstances.

You need to enlist the help of an usher. Plan it all out with him, and make sure he knows how to use your camera, because there will be some shots you just can’t do (your speech for example!).

You will be with the couple when they sign the register, so you can ask the vicar or registrar if you can take a shot, and then instead of walking down the aisle behind the happy couple – you will need to leave early to be ready to get those shots. Remember you will need a flash if you are in a church.

5 must have photos!

  1. A fantastic picture of the bride on her own – Normally I would do this in the bride’s home when she is getting ready – but as you are the best man, you will need to make time to do this later – maybe sometime during the drinks reception, or after the meal when she is more relaxed, but make sure she gets the chance to put her lipstick back on first! She needs to look like a model in this shot, so make sure you position her to look her best. Also make sure you do a full-length shot of her dress as well as closer ones, which she will appreciate.
    Check out: HOW TO: Position women to get photos they’ll love – Part 1, which will help you.
  2. Shots of the couple together – Coming out of the church door is always a great opportunity – because they usually look so relaxed and happy at this point – but you can also take them off on their own during the drinks reception or after the meal.
  3. Candid shots – Follow the couple as they move around and chat to people. Zoom in and get some close ups of the couple laughing, etc. Try to make sure the light is soft on their faces – if they are facing the sunshine, quietly ask them to turn the other way around, and let people talk to them in that direction, so your shots are more flattering. Use F4 or 5.6 to get the bride and/or groom in focus, and the guests more out of focus, on close up shots.
  4. Confetti shots – Always favourites. If it’s a church wedding look out for people carrying confetti – ask them if they can stand near the gate (or wherever you are allowed to throw the confetti) – and once you have your troops organised, ask the couple to walk down the path towards you and just take lots of natural shots. Turn your camera at different angles and zoom in and out to get variety and make the most of the atmosphere.
  5. Detail shots – Try to shoot a few close ups of the table decorations, bouquets, bride’s shoes, champagne glasses and other little details that the bride has probably spent ages choosing. Detail shots look great throughout the main pictures and will really enhance your album.

Good luck!

Annabel x