This blog post has been republished from photographer Raymond Hatfield’s blog. You can read the original here.
I’m a huge fan of experiences. I think they are essential to creating a well-rounded person. No one eats escargot because they crave it. They eat it because they are curious and they want to say they know what it’s like (spoiler alert: it’s not as bad as you think!).
One of my favorite experiences is going to a wedding. Weddings have everything: friends, laughs, love, beer, and of course, cake! These are things you’ll want to remember when you’re old. And what better way to remember the fun you had at your friend’s wedding than taking pictures? So here are a few tips to taking better photos at weddings with your phone.
Note: All of the photos shown in this post were taken with an iPhone 6.
There is a very good chance that there’ll be someone at the wedding who is getting paid to photograph the couple. Since the couple is covered, focus on yourself. Take photos of what you’re wearing, who you’re with, what you’re drinking, what made you laugh, and, of course, your awesome dance moves.
Take photos of the church, take photos of the signs the couple have made. Take photos of everyone walking into the reception when you show up, the tables filling up, and take a shot when you leave at the end of the night. These are the things that will set the scene and help tell the story later of where you and your friends had fun.
Have you ever heard that beauty is in the details? It’s totally true. The couple has spent the last year or more planning their wedding — painstakingly deciding between things like mint or spearmint tablecloths, rose or salmon colored ties, and I’m not even going to get into how many millions of choices couples have for table centerpieces. The couple spent a lot of time on those details, so be sure to take photos of them.
Your phone takes great photos, right? Right. But you know what’s not so great about your phone’s camera? Its zoom… or lack thereof. Don’t use your phone’s zoom function. Ever. Seriously. All you’re doing is lowering the resolution and that’s not good. So just get closer! No one will think you’re a weirdo taking photos at a wedding. You have no excuse not to get closer.
I get it. It’s easy to take photos the way you’ve been trained to hold your phone. But tall photos just don’t tell enough of the story. When you turn your phone sideways and get wide, you get more context in your photos. People looking at the photos later will get a better sense of where you are, you will be able to fit more people in your photos, and they will be more compelling — isn’t that the point of taking them in the first place?
You’re more than likely going to take hundreds (or even thousands) of photos. Awesome! Now you should share them! But please, please, please don’t share them all. If you’re uploading the photos to Facebook, try to keep it to 10 to 15 favorites, with an absolute max of 20. Nothing is more boring than looking at a dozen photos of your pulled pork sandwich, no matter how delicious it was. Just post your favorite photos and they’ll make everyone jealous. Or, better yet, make a slideshow with Animoto. People are more likely to look at your photos when they are in video form, set to awesome music.
While photographing your friends’ momentous occasion, if I had to end this article with one major tip, it would be… don’t. Don’t just take photos. Create memories. Drink more beer and eat more cake. The couple invited you because they want to spend the happiest day of their life with you because you’re a pretty cool person. You owe it to them to be present. We all look at our phones way too much anyway. Spend your time enjoying your experience and watch your friends get married.