How to Prep for Shooting a Wedding (Part 1) — MTM Photography

Gear, Photography, Weddings / June 9, 2017

If you’re looking to get into wedding photography, or have just started out in the industry, you’re probably excited and terrified at the same time. Learning the ropes involves a lot of trial and error. It’s really hard to get comfortable with shooting a wedding without actually doing it a few times. There is a flow to shooting a wedding that is impossible to explain without experiencing it.

I believe the absolute best way to prepare for a wedding shoot is to assist another photographer with their wedding shoot. That way, you can get you feet wet and feel a bit more comfortable making mistakes without actually being the one that is responsible for the wedding shoot. I would suggest assisting or being a second photographer for a wedding a few times. While every wedding is different, you’ll at least get enough familiarity and build enough confidence to venture out on your own.

If you absolutely do not have that option, then this guide will attempt to familiarize you as much as possible with the process from beginning to end. I’m going to break this up into 3 parts. The first will deal with gear. The second part will cover the client consultation, scouting, and pre-ceremony action. Part three will tackle the ceremony, post-ceremony and after-the-big-day stuff. Let’s get started!


There are at least a million different options out there when deciding on what gear to use for shooting a wedding. I’m going to approach this as if you need to shoot the wedding with the minimal amount of gear needed to get it done.

I definitely suggest shooting a wedding with a DSLR. Get the best one that fits your budget. I highly suggest against attempting to shoot a wedding with a point-and-shoot. A point and shoot really wont provide you with the performance needed to produce quality results in the environments you’ll find yourself in.

I would suggest two lenses for someone getting started. You’ll definitely want to upgrade later on but these lenses will get you going. You’ll want something in the 17–55mm range and the other lens should be something in the 70–300mm range. If you have the extra funds to splurge a bit here (or if renting a lens is an option), you may want to consider the 70–200mm F2.8. You really won’t miss that 100mm of zoom but you will definitely appreciate the ability to open up to F2.8!

I mentioned that you’ll want to upgrade the lenses later on. After two or three weddings with any lens slower than F2.8, you’ll understand why. You’ll eventually want to get to the point where all of your lenses are F2.8 or faster. You’ll also most likely want to add at least one prime that’s at least F2 or faster.

Next, you’ll want one flash at the very least. If possible, get two. I HIGHLY suggest learning and getting comfortable with off-camera flash as soon as possible if you’re not already. Off camera flash will add another dimension to your photography. What usually happens when using on-camera flash is after a while, you’ll notice that all your images will start to have the same feel. You’ll actually begin to get bored with that look. Once you get that flash off of the camera, you’ll really open up your lighting creativity. That will cause the quality of your images to skyrocket!

Dont forget about all of the other, often forgotten about accessories that you’ll need as well. That includes a memory cards, a tripod, batteries (LOTS of them), light modifiers for your flashes, a place to store all of your gear, and other essentials like snacks and water (you WILL need food and water).

The gear listed here is a good starting point. You’ll grow and develop your own style, which will point you towards necessary gear upgrades. With everything listed here, you won’t find yourself panicking because you’re missing something essential.

Next week, we get into the nitty-gritty about the wedding itself. As always, thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me this week. If you like what you’ve read here, please subscribe and share via the social media links. You can also find MTM Photography on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so be sure to check out those pages! I’ll see ya next week!