Do-it-yourself (DIY) Wedding Photography
Your wedding photos are the most cherished part of your wedding. You get to see your big day with all your close friends and family, dressed up, looking great and happy. The only problem is that wedding photographers can charge a lot of money – and sometimes the photos don’t turn out quite how you imagined. It turns out that wedding photographers can cost anywhere from $1000 to $10,000! You can save yourself a lot of money by limiting the use of a professional photographer for the formal poses or foregoing a professional photographer altogether. The Wedding Lens can help! Here’s how!
Tap into your network
Do you know a photography enthusiast? They might have invested in a nice digital SLR camera or maybe they’ve even framed a few of their best shots. Or maybe you know somebody who is a photography student.
Invite three or four of these friends to be your wedding photographers. Pick one of them to be the “lead” photographer. After all, you don’t want to have your photographers running around aimlessly.
Ok, so now you have your photographers. But you’re afraid that you won’t get all the shots you would get with a professional photographer. Right?
Create a list of poses/people that you want
Here’s a check list of photos you want to make sure that your photographers get, adapted from Weddings Galore.
Before the wedding:
- Bride arriving at wedding site
- Groom and Best Man arriving at wedding site
- Bride alone in mirror
- Mother adjusting Bride's veil
- Bride pinning boutonniere on Dads lapel
- Bride pinning corsage on Mother
- Bride alone looking out window
- Groom alone (full length)
- Groom alone (3/4 length)
- Groom alone (head & shoulders)
- Groom profile
- Groom profile with hand to chin
- Bride looking at Groom's ring
- Groom looking at Bride's ring
- Bride and Mother
- Bride in foreground with Father (or Father & Mother) looking at her from background.
- Groom and Mother
- Groom in foreground with Mother (or Mother & Father) looking at him from background.
- Father kissing Bride on forehead (or cheek)
- Bride and Father
- Groom and Father
- Groom pinning boutonniere on Dads lapel
- Groom pinning corsage on Mother
- Mother pinning boutonniere on Groom
- Bride, Mother and Father
- Groom, Mother and Father
- Bride and Flower girl (looking at each other)
- Bride and Flower girl (looking at camera)
- Flower girl admiring Bride's gown
- Groom and Ring bearer
- Bride giving bouquets to Bridesmaids
- Bride and Maid (or Matron) of Honor (full length)
- Bride and Maid (or Matron) of Honor (head & shoulders)
- Groom and Best Man
- Best Man showing Groom watch
- Best Man wiping Groom's forehead with handkerchief
- Bride and Bridesmaids
- Groom and Groomsmen
- Groomsmen dragging Groom to wedding site
- Bride and Groomsmen
- Groom and Bridesmaids
- Individual portrait of each Bridesmaid
- Individual portrait of each Groomsman
- Mother putting Garter on Bride
- Maid of Honor putting Garter on Bride
- Guest book & Attendant
- Guest signing guest book
During the Ceremony:
- Ushers seating Groom's Grandparents
- Ushers seating Bride's Grandparents
- Usher seating Mother of Bride
- Usher seating Mother and Father of Groom
- Soloist and/or musician(s)
- Bride, Father, and attendants lined up ready to enter wedding ceremony area
- Groom and Family (Mother, Father, siblings)
- Bride and Family (Mother, Father, siblings)
- Groom with siblings
- Flower girl & Ring bearer coming down aisle
- Individual Bridesmaids & Groomsmen coming down aisle
- Bride with siblings
- Bride & Father coming down aisle (front view)
- Bride & Father coming down aisle (back view showing full train, if one)
- Time exposure from back of venue, during the ceremony
- Bride & Groom exchanging rings
- First Kiss as Husband and Wife!
- Bride & Groom with flower girl and ring bearer
- Bride and Groom returning down the aisle
- Exterior view of wedding ceremony venue
- Bride posed alone (front view-full length)
- Bride posed alone (back view-full length)
- Bride posed alone (front view-3/4 length)
- Bride posed alone (back view-3/4 length)
- Bride posed alone (head & shoulders)
- Bridal profile
- Bride with Grandparents
- Bride and Groom together looking at camera (full length)
- Bride and Groom together looking off camera (full length)
- Bride and Groom facing each other, holding hands (full length)
- Bride and Groom together (3/4 length)
- Bride and Groom together looking at camera (head & shoulders)
- Bride and Groom together looking off camera (head & shoulders)
- Bride (w/back to camera) facing Groom (both looking off camera - head & shoulders)
- Groom with Grandparents
- Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents
- Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents
- Bride's Grandparents (together)
- Bride's Grandmother
- Bride's Grandfather
- Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents
- Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents
- Groom's Grandparents (together)
- Groom's Grandmother
- Groom's Grandfather
- Bride and Groom silhouetted against beautiful background
- Bride and Groom with officiant
- Bride with attendants looking at ring
- Time exposure of Bride and Groom looking at rings
- Time exposure of Bride and Groom kissing
- Bride and Groom kissing with wedding party peeking from background
- Bride and Groom with wedding party
- Bride and Groom leaving wedding venue (running through rice, bubbles, flower petals, etc.)
Reception & other photographs:
- Bride's Cake alone
- Bride and Groom cutting Bride's cake
- Photograph(s) of Bridal table setting
- Bride feeding Bride's cake to Groom
- Groom feeding Bride's cake to Bride
- Groom's Cake alone
- Bride and Groom posed in front of the wedding venue
- Entire wedding party posed in front of the wedding venue
- Bride and Groom cutting Groom's cake
- Bride feeding Groom's cake to Groom
- Witnesses signing marriage license (if applicable)
- Groom feeding Groom's cake to Bride
- Bride and Groom at dinner table
- Wedding party at dinner table
- Food & cake servers
- Bride and Father dancing
- Bride and Groom with wine glasses
- Best man toasting Bride and Groom
- Close-up of hands, rings
- Close-up of hands, rings, napkin
- Close-up of hands, rings, flowers
- Gift table alone
- Gift table with couple
- Groom removing garter
- Groom throwing garter (posed, looking at camera)
- Groomsmen & other men catching garter
- Bride throwing bouquet (posed, looking at camera)
- Girls catching bouquet
- Spotlight of the invitation and bouquet
- Bride and Groom dancing together
- Groom dancing with his Mother
- Groom dancing with Brides Mother
- Bride dancing with her Father
- Bride dancing with Grooms Father
- Photograph of the Disk Jockey or Band
- Candid photos of any special friends of Bride & Groom
- Candid photos of each table at reception
- Outdoor, romantic poses of Bride and Groom (full length, close-up, etc.)
- Wedding Party/Friends Decorating Bride & Grooms Car
- Decorated car ready to leave
- Bride with Groom looking on from background
- Groom with Bride looking on from background
- Candid of soloist
- Bride with friends
- Groom with friends
- Parents hugging/kissing couple good-bye
- Bride and Groom with car decorated (exterior view)
- Groom carrying Bride in arms (with decorated car in background)
- Groom holding car door open for Bride
- Bride and Groom in car ready to leave
- Bride and Groom in car leaving ceremony venue or reception
- Bride and Groom looking out rear window of car
- Any Large Family Groups
Obviously you can do silly versions of each of these to add character to your will-be-photo album. And your lead photographer can divide up who does what – or more than one photographer can take some of these photos from slightly different angles.
Now, you have all these photos. What do you do?
Upload the photos
Your photographers can upload all the photos onto a site like The Wedding Lens – an online photo sharing site designed specifically for weddings. You can then send an invite to your guests to view the photos and select their favorite ones. Or you can take your time, look at them, and download the best ones.
Why are you downloading them?
Create your wedding album
After you’ve downloaded your favorite photos, go to another site like Professional Weddings Albums or Wedding Albums and More, both of which sell leather-bound wedding albums that you design yourself.
Voila! A beautiful wedding album without the cost of hiring a photographer!
If you’re worried that your friend-photographers won’t do as great of a job, here are some tips and tricks for great photography.
Tips and Tricks for the Photographers
Be sure to turn off the sound on your camera. The last thing you want is stark silence filled with the click of your camera.
Digital Photography School gives great advice for things your photographers should know or figure out before starting to shoot. For example:
- Do some research on photography and figure out exactly how your camera works.
- Work with the couple to figure out if there is a particular style of photograph that they prefer or if there are specific photos that they really want.
- Come up with a shot list (see above!) and take it with you so you can check off each photo and you're sure each photo was taken.
- Create a master schedule of which photos will be taken when. Make sure you assign at least two photographers to take each shot.
- Learn to use diffused light. There may be places where you can't use a flash, so you should either use a fast lens at wide apertures and/or increase the ISO.
- Consider the background. Look around the location in advance to see what would be a good background. “Look for uncluttered areas and shaded spots out of direct sunlight where there's unlikely to be a wandering great aunt wander into the back of the shot."
- Don't delete anything! You might be able to crop or fix some of the photos later and there might be something beautiful that you're not initially seeing.
- Take shots at different angles, like down low, up high, wide angles, etc.
- Switch your camera to continuous shooting mode and prepare to take a second photo right after the formal one. Often that captures the photo the best.
- Consider fill in flash. Particularly in backlit or midday shooting conditions where there can be a lot of shadow, fill in flash is a must.
- Expect the unexpected – and keep taking photos! When things go "wrong," like it starts to rain, keep taking photos. Even though it seems stressful, these photos will add to the memories and can be the perfect addition to the photo album.
Remember, your friends should be sure to know a lot about their cameras and your expectations. If you need more help figuring out how to frame a shot, what kind of film to use (if you are using film), exposure, lenses, etc, then check out the tips on Christopher Maxwell Photography, which has an amazing list of tips.
Thank you SO much! I want to take the time to say how great the website is and how easy and quick the download process is. What a great website! And I'll definitely spread the word to other brides-to-be and couples. I just think it's such a cool service -- so much more convenient (and not to mention cheaper) than leaving cameras on the tables. I'm so happy I found the site!
Sept 7, 2008
· 226 photos from 47 people