1) Being Inexperienced
When you first start out in any business, you aren't going to have as much knowledge or experience as your competitors. It is therefore very important to do as much researching as possible before you shoot your first wedding, to be as prepared as you can!
Make sure to scout the location before the wedding day, and if possible, bring a model along to do some test shots. Spending some time preparing before the day will make a big difference to the final result of your photos.
It is also important to know how to use your equipment inside and out! This might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many times I have shot an event with other photographers who can't seem to get their flash to work, or have trouble changing the focus-mode on their camera. There's nothing more amateur-looking that struggling with your equipment while your customer waits for their photo to be taken.
2) Not bringing the right equipment
It goes without saying that having the right equipment with you at an event is paramount to providing the best possible photos. You will need a large variety of lenses, from wide to telephoto. The exact lenses you will need depend on a large number of factors such as the venue, the weather, what time you are shooting at, etc. I personally use:
- Sigma 24mm f1.4
- Tamron 24-70mm f2.8
- Sigma 50mm f1.4
- Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II
Even more important than having the correct lenses, is having a sufficient amount of batteries! There is nothing worse than running low on juice, and having to conservatively shoot so that your camera will last until the end of the day. Work out how many batteries you will need for your wedding, and double it to stay on the safe side. I personally use:
- 6 Sony A7rii Batteries
- 5 Canon LP-E6 Batteries (For my second camera)
- 24 AA Batteries (For Flash)
- 2 Universal Chargers
- 1 Sony Charger
As well as having enough batteries, make sure that you have plenty of memory cards to store all the photos you take from the day. You will likely take over 2000 photos in a 12 hour wedding, so don't under estimate the amount of storage you will need! I personally use:
- 2x 128GB Sandisk 95mb/s Extreme Pro SD card
- 4x 64GB Sandisk 95mb/s Extreme Pro SD card
I never use all this space, and hopefully I never will! It is important to have redundancy in your equipment in case something breaks.
On that note, bringing a second camera is essential when shooting a wedding, in case the worst happens and one of your cameras breaks! Weddings cannot be re-shot, so it is important to prepare for the worst case scenario.
3) Being too photographically introvert
It is not possible to take too many photos at a wedding. One of the biggest mistakes beginner wedding photographers make, is not taking enough photos! In the world of digital photography, we can take an almost unlimited amount of photos at an event, provided we have the appropriate amount of storage and battery life on hand (see point 2).
Being trigger happy with your camera gives you flexibility in post production, as you will have a larger variety of images to pick and choose from, to give to your client. Don't be shy when shooting, take as many pictures as you can!
4) Getting in the way
Conversely to the above point, it is also important not to be too obtrusive when shooting a wedding. It's important to remember that for the bride and groom, their wedding is one of the most important days of their lives. Before a wedding at a meeting, I make sure to discuss with the clients where they are comfortable with me being during the ceremony, so not to step on anybodies toes, but maintain a high level of quality in my images. Most couples are very understanding, and will allow you to shoot from almost anywhere, where as others will expect you to be completely out of the way during the ceremony.
For this reason, it is very useful to bring a large telephoto lens to any wedding, in case you need to shoot the couple from a distance!
5) Shooting in JPG
Don't shoot in JPG, I repeat; DON'T SHOOT IN JPG! It is my personal belief that if you don't have the confidence to shoot and the knowledge to edit in RAW, you aren't ready to shoot weddings. Having the flexibility of RAW in post production is incredibly important when fixing white balance, exposure and more.
Shooting in RAW also allows you to take photos in situations in which the JPG format would not allow. For example, in low light situations RAW files will produce a less noisy result in the shadows when compared to a lossy format such as JPG.