1. Be prepared to run and gun all day long, making pictures on the fly, but having them look as if you had all the time in the world to set-up, compose, orchestrate and direct the action. The day is non-stop action, with all manner of delays, unpredictable circumstances, and at no point in time (most likely) will you have enough time to truly work. It’s just a given.
2. Speaking of shot lists, make sure you get one. Or, if you have an informal meeting with the bride and groom and they don’t have a formal listing of what they want, talk it out and take notes. Keep those notes handy. You will need a guide to the action and the needs and the faces, so that pre-wedding meeting can be very crucial.
3. Pursuant to the idea of group photography, be careful of your f/stop selection! F/2.8 will not cut it for a group. Everybody has to be (reasonably) sharp. Depending on how many people are in the group, and how many “layers” of people are assembled, with a wide-ish angle lens (24 to 35mm) you will want at least f/5.6, and safer with something around f/8. This is where ISO is your friend. The higher-end digital cameras (which is what you should be shooting if you are marketing yourself as a wedding shooter and accepting fees for your services) will give you lovely results nowadays at ISO 800, 1600 and even higher. Use a combination of your lighting, the available light, and the ISO and shutter speeds to give you a desirable f/stop that will result in sufficient Depth of Field for a group photo.
4. Immediately make arrangements for a workstation for yourself if you can. Some small table, out of the way of the action, and reasonably secure, that you can stash extra gear, and run a power strip so you can keep multiple camera batteries and flash batteries on charge. A computer should be set up here, too, linking to two hard drives.
5. Get there early. Negotiate an early arrival for the behind-the-scenes images of prep for the bride and groom. The more you are around and can demonstrate your fly-on-the-wall, charming personality, the more they will be used to you by the time the real action starts.
– Compiled by Ankita Das