If inviting more than five hundred of your closest friends and family to your wedding sounds like a big gathering then you are probably not getting married in Nigeria. Nigeria has more than 300 tribes, each having their own variations on wedding traditions, but the most well-known tribes are Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.

The country’s extravagant culture of celebration often sees up to 1000 people if not more coming together in a sequence of events that must never be contravened to toast the happy couple at a lavish party, spanning days or weeks which had been planned months beforehand. For a typical Nigerian wedding, it kicks off with the Introduction Ceremony, where both families come together for perhaps the first time. They exchange gifts with one another and the bride’s family will present the potential groom with the dowry list for what he will need to give to the family in order for them to accept an engagement.

The introduction is followed immediately after, by the traditional/cultural ceremony, this is usually influenced by the family of the bride, with couples increasingly returning to their cultural roots and wearing stunning, bright outfits in their tribal colours, the colours of their soon-to-be spouse, or creating a mixture of the two. After the traditional ceremony, the church/white wedding follows, having a glamorous western wedding gown is a matter of prestige in Nigeria, brides are content in spending a lot for their wedding dresses, let us not forget the elaborate sized cakes too.

The couple will decide which colors and fabrics they would like their guests to wear on their wedding day known as “Aso-Ebi” translated to “Family Clothes” in the language of Yoruba and the respective families will go all out to create outfits that meet the requirements. This makes it easy to distinguish who belongs to each of the couple’s families at a glance, and long-time friends who are not on the bridal party often choose to join in with the aso-ebi as well, this is exactly what you will find when attending a Nigerian wedding.
Wedding photography is different from other genres of photography because you only have one chance to get the images right. That means there’s very little room for error on the part of the photographer. We know how hectic the wedding shoot can be. There are only so many hours in the day, and numerous important moments for you to capture. The images you document help tell the overall story of the day. You have to make sure that you’re ready to shoot at a moment’s notice with all of these activities.

Here are some of the best wedding photography tips to help you succeed in taking the best wedding ceremony and family photos at your next event:

1. Is your gear in good health? Check all your equipment to make sure they’re working properly before you leave to take great wedding photos. You’ll likely want to bring a tripod, several camera lenses and external flashes with you to use at the wedding ceremony. If the wedding you’re photographing takes place indoors, you may also need other lighting equipment. It’s a good idea to bring more equipment than you think you’ll need. Pack several spare batteries and memory cards so you don’t miss anything from drinks at cocktail hour to fun-filled dancing on the dance floor.

2. Shoot the small details: Photograph decorations, the rings, the bride getting ready, dresses, accessories, shoes, flowers, table settings, menus, kids playing, people whispering about a special moment, friends laughing from the corner, walking down the isles, smiles, tears etc. – these help give the end album an extra dimension, you can’t create or plan these moments, because they’re rare and original.Use your camera’s continuous shooting mood.
You might be tempted to check images and delete those that don’t work immediately. The problem with this is that you might just be getting rid of some of the more interesting and usable images. Keep in mind that raw images can be edited later.

3. Photograph with a Partner: This means less moving around during the ceremony and speeches, it allows for one to capture the formal shots and the other to get candid shots. You can’t carry all your photography accessories alone and be everywhere at once at the same time. You’ll likely need a helping hand to take the best wedding photography images you can.
Having a second backup photographer can be a great strategy to assist in managing lights, taking test shots and capturing scenes you’d otherwise miss. It also takes a little pressure off you being ‘the one’ to have to get every shot, it is a smart way to stay on budget and get to learn from another wedding photographer.

4. Keep an Open mind: Things will go wrong, but moments like that can actually make the best part of the day and give the bride and groom memories. Attempt to capture them and you could end up with some fun images that sum up the day really well.
Weddings should be fun, the more fun you have as the photographer the more relaxed those you are photographing will be. As a photographer, you have to wear the biggest smile, it will make people more relaxed.

Hopefully, this article has helped you think about or plan your next wedding photography shoot.
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