It is important for a wedding photographer to always try to go ahead and find out as much as he possibly can about the wedding venue before he proceeds to agree to the wedding and before he moves on to the actual wedding day itself. When you are having a little meeting with your potential clients, go ahead and ask about this ahead of time. Ask your clients to describe the location for you if it is something that you haven’t really seen or visited before. A graphic visual of how the place may turn out to be will more or less acquaint you with the possibilities that might happen during the wedding event and it will give you a pretty good idea about the kind of gear that you need to bring along with you as well as the accessories that come along with it.
Know about the wedding venue.
However, as much as asking for descriptions is nice and all that, nothing beats the real thing – or actually knowing about the wedding venue for sure. Speculation can be a tricky and deceptive thing to deal with and you can’t base things off simply because someone said so. Ask for pictures, if the clients have anything to present to you. If not, there is always Google. Google the images of the wedding venue and try to see if they have comprehensive photo coverage of the place that will allow you to more or less piece things together as you go along so that you know exactly what you are up against the moment that you show up during the wedding day to cover it as the official professional wedding photographer who will be documenting the event.
Visit the wedding venue.
Try to see if you can visit the wedding venue as well, if it isn’t something too expensive or too hard for you to go ahead and check out in person. Make it a point to actually go ahead and visit the place. It would be practical if you check the venue out at around the same time of the day that the wedding is set or is scheduled to happen. This will make it far easier for you to wrap your head around the lighting situation that you will most likely end up dealing with during the wedding. Reel in few practice shots and try to see how things turn out for the photos that you end up producing at the end of the day. Technically speaking, there is a pretty good chance that you won’t really end up with the exact formula for lighting by the time the wedding is set to happen because light is extremely fickle but you will at least have a fairly good idea about how you will be able to handle it.
One thing that you can throw in as some kind of deal sweetener when you are trying to book potential clients is that you can schedule this and make it look like an engagement shoot. There’s something in it for the clients while you get to take your practice shots as well.
If there is one thing that you will need to understand about the concept of documentary wedding photography, if would have to be the fact that the pictures should look natural or candid and beautiful as well all at the same time. Believe it or not, this actually requires far more planning and effort than it actually looks. There are so many different contributing factors that you would need to consider and more than that, you will need a good lineup of planned poses that look natural. This sounds ironic, at best but when it all comes down to it; it is how things work and you should embrace it other than fight it because it will make things so much easier for you at the end of the day. One of the most uncontrived looking poses that you can go for is the walking routine.
Walking is something that occurs naturally to everyone and thus, can make the people you are photographing a little less conscious of the fact that there is a camera following them around. Ask the bride and the groom to talk about their plans for the next day, something light and maybe a little funny to make the photos look authentic. Take photos of them walking away from you and do the same for the part where they are walking back. This is one of the oldest tricks out there but something that still exists up to this day because of the fact that it actually works.
Learn how to use the art of complimenting. Complimenting can really bring out the best in people.
If you are having a hard time in capturing the most genuine looking smiles, try to pepper out a few well placed compliments and watch the magic unfold. Documentary wedding photography is all about the unplanned and the candid moments and it is usually particularly effective if the people you are taking photos of are left a little taken aback by the compliments. You need to make sure that you keep the compliments appropriate though and make sure that you never go out of line, unless you want to deal with awkward and uncomfortable reactions to your compliments. This is something that works more on the women though, and not so much on the mean so make sure that you are able to tread this carefully and proceed with caution.
Learn how to identify social cues of interesting conversations or meaningful moments.
As a documentary wedding photographer, you need to be able to position yourself before the meaningful moments actually happen. This is something that requires a lot of work and experience but if you seriously commit to it and spend a lot of time practicing it, you should be able to pull it off without that much difficulty. Learn how to identify the usual cues such as laughing, some light banter, and the like and you should be pretty much on the right track when it comes to figuring out how and when to start documenting the moments in your pictures.