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Tips & Tricks

8 Common Pitfalls of Wedding Photography (And How to Avoid Them) | Susan Stripling

By Hanssie on July 8th 2015

Oh, joys of wedding photography. Being a recovering wedding photographer, I know full well the common mistakes and pitfalls when it comes to photographing weddings. It’s understandable that some photographers avoid weddings like the plague. The stories I could tell of mishaps, drama and ruckus on a wedding day and if you’re a wedding photographer, I am sure that you also have an arsenal of stories to fill a book.


If I haven’t scared off any of you aspiring wedding photographers, then read on. There are some common mistakes that most wedding photographers make when they first start out and I think I might have made all of them. In the following video from B&H, wedding photographer Susan Stripling talks about the top 8 pitfalls of shooting weddings and how you can avoid them. As Susan mentions, there are things that can happen unexpectedly, but things you can prevent. The number one pitfall she mentions is not managing client expectations by managing the timeline of the wedding day. (I wrote about setting up a wedding day timeline in this article).


Susan also talks about finding out who is in charge, how to speak to your clients, what to do if your gear breaks during a wedding, how to set up a system, and more. There’s a wealth of info in this 8.5-minute video, and it’s worth a watch if you’re aspiring to shoot weddings or just as good reminders if you’re a seasoned wedding photographer.

Watch Top 8 Pitfalls of Shooting Weddings with Susan Stripling

What’s your best wedding photography tip? Share in the comments below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Natalie Darcy

    I agree that it is important to get the communication right in this kind of situation. Sometimes the couple doesn’t know what they want, but unfortunately sometimes they do. I think that it is important to get any preconceived mental ideas of their wedding pictures out of their heads before you try and fail to create their perfect picture. Do you have any ideas on how you could do this is a positive way? Thanks for the tips Susan!

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  2. Nolan Akin

    Good info. Thanks for all the great content.

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  3. Trifon Anguelov

    Susan is well known wedding photographer and the tips are just generic good ideas one should follow. I found them useful.

    Like a Bay Area Wedding Photographer working with clients for few years already, I found that being prepared is what every wedding photographer should do. Being familiar with the equipment, venue, logistics or simply having the “people” skills to handle a wedding.

    Many find the formals to be the most challenging as there is so much work to get them organized and posed. Authored a guide: How To Photograph Wedding Formals to help everyone who is struggling with them.

    Hope you guys find it useful. Cheers.

    Bay Area Wedding Photography Blogger

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  4. Brandon Dewey

    Great video!!!

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  5. Paul Empson

    All very relevant and definitely from experience…

    Ensure your agreed schedule is the same as the B&G have arranged with the venue….

    One little mantra I pass on to couples at our pre-shoots is: there are only 2 critical times at a wedding.. ceremony starts when the bride arrives… and everything stops ( photography at least ) when the wedding breakfast is ready to be served… you don’t keep food and hungry guests waiting…

    Backup kit is essential for the very reason and other calamitous scenarios that may arrive… like backing in to a duck pond when sizing up a wide angle balcony shot.. :-D

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  6. robert s

    good stuff . nothing new. the biggest problem that you deal with over and over is people running late. you have X amount of time to shoot X amount of pictures, or parts of the wedding. people come late and that affects how much youre able to invest in specific amount of parts of the wedding. this is time that was allocated to that part of the wedding and the plan for time allocation is very lean for every part. so if you planned 20 minutes for that and youre left with 5-7 minutes, quality and quality takes a hit because the photographer works under pressure and doesnt have time to invest in it. that snowballs to other parts of the weddings. time is lost that you cant recoup. the worst is when they tell you hurry up with the pics (usually at family formals). I tell them ” if youre stressed we dont have to continue” let them make the decision.

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    • J D

      That’s where you need to be assertive and well aware of time management. I 2nd shoot only but I still have no issues telling a couple they are running behind and if they want all the shots they asked for, they better get moving. The worst is when a wedding party will just disappear without telling anyone where they are going, holding EVERYTHING up.

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    • robert s

      no need to be assertive. you just tell them the situation. thats the real situation. you deal wth what you have. once that time is gone I dont try fitting in that lost time in. its lost time. those photos will not be there. and they know this when I explain the scheduling for the day. I move on and put energy and effort to the next photos. photographing takes time and energy and effort to make nice photos. if you try to fit in that lost time to the other parts (spillover) then the snowball effect moves to the other photos which take a hit on quality and everything is done half assed. I cut my losses and continue to photograph the other parts as scheduled. I dont try to make that lost part fit into the very limited schedule.

      I dont 2nd shoot.

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  7. Kevin Nguyen

    Love what Susan share that the book does teach! Wait… who read book these days when there is SLR Lounge :)

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