Wedding Ceremonies

How to Photograph Wedding Ceremonies – Settings, Angles and Equipment

Photographing the wedding ceremony is one of the most essential parts of wedding photography. Capturing the vows, exchanging rings, and first kissing as a married couple are emotional moments that the bride and groom will cherish for life. 

As a wedding photographer, it’s crucial to have the right settings, angles and equipment to photograph the ceremony professionally. Here are some top tips from Masson Fotografie on how to photograph wedding ceremonies.

Wedding Ceremonies

Equipment Setup

The main equipment you’ll need for photographing the ceremony includes your camera body, lenses, flash/flash modifiers and tripod. I recommend using a full-frame DSLR camera body for optimal image quality. 

Bring at least two lenses – a wide-angle zoom lens between 16-35mm and a mid-range zoom lens between 24-70mm. This will allow you to get shots from the back of the ceremony space as well as move closer for detail shots.

A flash is essential for indoor ceremonies to properly expose the couple and ambient light to the scene. Opt for a flash with TTL metering like Canon Speedlites for automatic flash exposure. 

Bring flash modifiers like shoot-through umbrellas or softboxes to diffuse the flashlight for a natural look. A tripod must keep your camera steady during the ceremony, especially if you’ll be photographing alone without an assistant. I use a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod for its lightweight yet sturdy build.

Camera Settings

For camera settings, I shoot in RAW format for maximum editing flexibility in post-production. I typically use an aperture around f/4.0-f/5.6 for good depth of field to keep the couple and surrounding details in focus. Shutter speed is set between 1/100-1/200 sec to avoid camera shake, and ISO is adjusted accordingly depending on available light. I also turn on auto-focus, select the drive mode to continuous shooting, and switch the metering mode to evaluative for balanced exposures.

Ceremony Angles

When setting up your angles to photograph the ceremony, consider getting wide establishing shots from the back and close-up shots from the sides. Here are some specific angle suggestions:

  • Back row: Set up in the back row using your wide-angle lens to capture the ceremony setting and guests’ reactions from afar.
  • Side angles: Move to the sides during the vows for profile shots of the couple gazing into each other’s eyes. Get low and shoot up for a dramatic effect.
  • Front angles: For the ring exchange and kiss, position yourself at the front but off to one side to avoid obstructing the guests’ views. Shoot from a low angle, looking up.
  • Detail shots: Zoom in with your mid-range lens during the ring sliding on for close-up hand and ring shots. Get creative with unique detail angles, too.
  • Guests: Widen your lens and stand at the back again to photograph emotional guest reactions like crying or smiling during the kiss.

Photographing the Details

It’s also important to photograph all the ceremony details like the decor, venue, flowers, dress and rings up close. Some tips when shooting details include:

  • Use natural lighting where possible for a crisp look. Open shade is ideal.
  • Focus your lens to the minimum focusing distance and fill the frame with the subject.
  • Try different angles, like from above or below, for unique perspectives.
  • Adjust your aperture to a mid-range around f/8.0 for sharp focus across the scene.
  • Photograph details before and after the ceremony when there is no time pressure.

I hope these tips help you capture stunning photographs of the wedding ceremony!