DIY Wedding Pictures

DIY photography
Photo Courtesy of Whitney Lewis photography

There are lots of reasons to forgo a professional photographer and handle your wedding day pictures yourself. Depending on your budget, hiring a photographer just may not be an option. But with a few basic DIY wedding photography tips, your wedding pictures can turn out beautifully for a fraction of what a professional photographer would charge.

If you’ve got a family friend who is an amateur photographer, he or she most likely have nice camera equipment and could be willing to shoot your wedding for a discounted rate (or even for free.) Under the right circumstances, it could make good sense for you to use your friend rather than hire a professional. You’ll be comfortable with them during the photo shoot, and if you’ve seen their portfolio and you like their style, then there’s no reason not to use them!

DIY Wedding Photography Tip #1: Visit Ahead of Time

DIY Photography for LDS weddings
Photo Courtesy of Wasatch Studios

If you’re taking pictures yourself for the wedding, scout out the location well ahead of time. This could be temple grounds, a local park, the wedding reception venue, or the cultural hall. Identifying the most picturesque spots on a previous visit means you won’t be wasting time on the day of the photo shoot.

DIY Wedding Photography Tip #2: Lighting Matters

Lighting is the most important element of a photograph, so visit the location at the same time of day for when the pictures are scheduled. Natural light is the most flattering for pictures, so using it correctly in pictures is really important. In indoor locations, look for windows and skylights that will let in more sunlight. For outdoor locations, find shaded areas for picture taking – too much bright light causes squinty-eyed subjects and washed-out pictures.

DIY Wedding Photography Tip #3: Have a Backup Plan

If anything can go wrong with a wedding, it probably will. Plan for equipment malfunctions by bringing a spare camera. In the case of unexpected weather like wind, rain, or snow, know what to do ahead of time. If it rains during your scheduled outdoor photo shoot, will you just make do with umbrellas or will you head inside the stake center or reception hall for pictures instead?

DIY LDS wedding photography
Photo Courtesy of

DIY Wedding Photography Tip #4: Good Communication

On the day of the photo shoot, make sure that you carve out plenty of time for picture taking before or after the ceremony. Plan for more time than you think you’ll need to allow for any emergencies that come up. Keep everyone on the same page by distributing a wedding pictures list to all wedding party and family members, so everyone knows what pictures are being taken at what time. Make a list of everyone’s cell phone numbers so you can contact them if they disappear during a photo they need to be in.

DIY Wedding Photography Tip #5: Eliminate Background Distractions

When taking your photos, you’ll need an uncluttered background. Watch for visual distractions in the background, like people milling about or cars on a highway in the distance. The focus of the pictures should be on the bride and groom, so do your best to keep other elements out of the picture.

LDS groom, LDS temple, LDS wedding photography
Photo Courtesy of Carley Daniel Photography

It’s certainly possible to get picture perfect wedding photos without the price tag of a professional photographer. You can do it with the proper preparation and photo-taking savvy. These tips help amateur photographers turn out professional-looking photos when they’re done right. And remember, if you’re taking wedding pictures on temple grounds, all guests will need to be reverent and respectful.

The bottom line is that you need to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a professional and decide if your budget can handle it. If you really can’t afford a professional then don’t be pressured to hire one. People can and do handle their own wedding photography all the time, and it’s certainly possible to come up with a lot of great shots that will be treasured for years to come, even without fancy equipment, lighting, and professional experience. If you are on a very tight budget or if the circumstances are right, forgoing a professional wedding photographer may not be a bad idea.

♥ Jenny Evans
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