Brush Up on Your Skills
Wedding photographers have at their disposal a variety of training tools ranging from show-and-tell DVDs to book-based tutorials. Whether you’re an amateur looking to cover the basics or a professional eager to apply more sophisticated techniques, there’s a disc or book ready to help. Although we have included several titles in this article that B&H might not normally have in its inventory, any item you see and would like to purchase can be special-ordered through B&H.
Start by looking at the assortment of self-help DVDs designed for the nuptials picture-taker. Kelby Training offers a quartet of training videos taught by well-known wedding photographer David Ziser. Meanwhile, Software Cinema markets both Location Lighting for the Wedding Photographer by Ken Sklute and Wedding Album Design in Photoshop CS3 by Bob Coates. The latter is a DVD-ROM. Alternatively, Graphic Authority offers the Wedding Design Photoshop Template Collection.
Videography is playing an increasingly important role at receptions, and when it’s time to edit your production, you can save time and money by inserting royalty-free animated backgrounds and canned music. A company called 12-Inch Design offers ThemeBlox Wedding & Events backgrounds on DVD-ROM, while Sound Ideas sells Wedding Music - The Perfect Accompaniment to Wedding Videos, a set of two compact discs. And SmartSound puts out a series of what it calls “a cultured collection of wedding standards in a variety of arrangements” including Wedding Classic Producer Series Volume 13, Love Stories (44k) - Audio Palette Volume 45 and Romantic/Light/Reflective - Producer Series Volume 1 (44k).
Books for the wedding photographer proliferate. If you’re a bride planning to hire a photographer, there are books for you, too. Or if you’re a photographer who has encountered a difficult client, sometimes referred to as a bridezilla, there are books that can help hone your personal skills—before you enter negotiations.
One interpretation of The Bride’s Guide to Wedding Photography: How to Get the Wedding Photography of Your Dreams is that the client knows more than the professional photographer, but in fact the book serves as a smart introduction to the many decisions involved in planning and executing a well-documented wedding. Author Kathleen Hawkins has written another book geared to business, Guide to Sales and Marketing for Professional Photographers and coauthored yet another, Professional Techniques for Digital Wedding Photography.
All-purpose manuals for saving a wedding for posterity abound. They include Master Guide to Wedding Photography by Marcus Bell to more specific business-themed books like The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook from Allworth Press. Author Nancy E. Wolff navigates you through the post 9/11 world and how new laws impact photographer’s rights. She also clarifies your rights under copyright laws in the digital era.
If you’re more interested in sharpening shooting skills than suing skills, there’s On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography as well as 500 Poses for Photographing Brides. In a class by itself is the grunge-oriented Wedding Photography NOW!: A Fresh Approach to Shooting Modern Nuptials. The book by Michelle R. Turner elevates “wedding reportage” over your parents’ staged portraits and suggests post-wedding “Trash the Dress” shoots where the couple wades into water or mud.
Traditionalists may have better luck with Digital Wedding Photography: Capturing Beautiful Memories by Glen Johnson, Mastering Digital Wedding Photography by James Karney and Photographing Jewish Weddings by Stan Turkel. The latter surveys a range of sects and sensitivities and includes a glossary. (What’s a chuppah? When is shouting mazel tov appropriate?) The tread-lightly photographer will find Turkel’s advice indispensable.
Still not sated? There’s Captured by the Light: The Essential Guide to Creating Extraordinary Wedding Photography by David Ziser (the guy on the DVD above); and Wedding Photographer’s Handbook by Bill Hurter. (Hurter is the editor of Rangefinder and AfterCapture magazines.)
Yes, when it comes to training to be a wedding photographer, there’s much to absorb and so little time to learn it all. That said, the most important thing to remember is to get to the wedding on time—or earlier—to set up. Missing the ceremony on account of having your head in a book—even one about how to shoot a wedding—is no way to impress clients.