Nervous about tackling your first shoot as a wedding photographer? Internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary photographer Nina Zimolong is here to share her top 5 wedding photography tips for newbie image-makers.
While her avant-garde work as a fine art and fashion photographer has garnered her worldwide recognition, Nina also freelances as a highly successful destination wedding photographer, documenting the special days of beautiful couples in Cape Town, and Europe. She has an established relationship with Canon, and her photography has appeared in global publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Forbes.
Nina is a wealth of knowledge thanks to her many years of experience, and we have found her expert advice and practical insights offered to our creative community during educational workshops and photographic outings to be completely invaluable. This made her the ideal industry professional to speak on this important topic.
In June of last year, we hosted Nina for a thrilling live fashion photoshoot in our studio at Orms Cape Town. You can learn more about Nina’s globally recognised photography on her website.
WE’VE TEAMED UP WITH NINA AND LOCAL BRANDS FOR A WEDDING COMPETITION
Are you getting married soon? We’re running a wedding competition with Pajamas + Jam, Nina Zimolong, and To Be Gift Boxes on Instagram that will make your special day even more memorable. Find out how you can stand the chance to win a wedding photoshoot, a wedding cake, a Canon G7 X Mark III, an Orms Print Room & Framing voucher, and a couple’s gift hamper to the total value of R53 000 by reading up about our latest giveaway here.
INTERVIEW: NINA ZIMOLONG
How did you first get into wedding photography?
When I first started photography I wanted to make sure that I tried to shoot every genre purely to teach myself to be prepared for whatever I needed to capture, and also to gain confidence in shooting. I started wedding photography by assisting wedding photographers. I think I assisted on about 10 weddings until I went off on my own and did my first weddings as the main photographer.
How was the experience of shooting your first wedding?
My first wedding was amazing. I was lucky as a friend I went to school with booked me for it. I had a backup shooter that I knew and trusted and they had done weddings before as well. So they supported me and helped me through it. It is stressful to do your first wedding, but if you prepare for it really well it goes like a dream.
I made sure I shot like crazy. I think I had taken over 6000 photos on that wedding and my second shooter captured 2000, so I had a lot of pictures to go through. While I was shooting I didn’t think about how many photos I would need to go through when making my selects. I think I learned my lesson.
What is the most rewarding part of shooting weddings?
I am a massive people person. I just love to be around people. So for me, weddings are just so much fun. I use weddings to network and meet new people. I always try and get to know at least two people at a wedding and just make sure I enjoy it and make everyone at the wedding comfortable with my presence. I always try and make sure that I shoot at least every single person attending.
What are your top 5 wedding photography tips for beginner wedding photographers that will help them survive their first shoot?
- Second Shoot. Make sure you second-shoot or assist for at least three different photographers. Watch how they work and learn from them. Do not expect to go in there to make money with second-shooting. Go in there with the mindset that you are going to learn. Learning from the pros is the best you can do if you want to do well and go far with wedding photography.
- Get References. Always make sure that you get your bride to send you a mood board of images they like so you know the style of images they would like or how you should shoot.
- Familiarise Yourself With The Order Of Proceedings. Always keep the wedding schedule on you and study it the night before so that you are more than prepared on the day.
- Keep Your Batteries Juiced Up. The biggest tip is to bring your battery chargers with you and make sure everything is charged. You will be surprised at how quick batteries run out. I always have a charger plugged in and swap batteries out all the time (keep in mind that I have 5 batteries).
- Collaborate With Your Couple. Be creative and have fun with the bride and groom! Have an action plan for shots you would like to do with them. I like to always offer them an engagement shoot before the wedding so you know how they will be in front of your camera. This will also help them to be more comfortable with you on the day.
- Bonus Tip: Network With The Other Service Providers On The Day. I like to go to the other service providers and ask them if there are any photographs that they would like. This is always great as you form a relationship with them and they will always refer you to other brides.
- Bonus Tip: Location Scout. Another tip would be is to do a recce of the venue and the surrounds before the wedding. I like to arrive two or three hours before the wedding to recce the venue and look for the spots to do the shots at.
Finally, tell us a bit about the gear you use to capture the couple’s special day! What’s in your kit bag?
Here’s all the gear that’s in my kit bag:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Canon EOS R
- Canon 85mm f/1.2
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art for Canon
- Canon 50mm f/1.2
We hope that you found Nina’s wedding photography tips helpful. You can discover more of Nina’s exquisite wedding photography on her Instagram. If you would like to learn more about her creative journey, check out this episode of Orms Air: The Orms Podcast where we discussed Nina’s courageous decision to pursue her photographic dream, and how she ensures that she stays innovative and original in the highly competitive world of fashion photography.