Summer is wedding season and, whether you’re shooting nuptials or capturing a loved one tying the knot, you’ll want photos that will last a lifetime. Here’s how to go beyond the snapshot:

• Use an aperture of f/4 for individual portraits (to throw the background out of focus), and f/8 for large groups (for more depth of field to ensure that the different “layers” of people remain sharp).

• For portraits, use a standard or telephoto lens that ranges from 50mm to 150mm. For big groups, use a wide-angle lens, but be mindful of distortion and don’t place anyone near the edges of the frame.

• Bounce your flash off a reflector or the ceiling for indoor shots. You will get softer and more flattering photos.

• Try dragging your shutter (i.e., using slower shutter speeds with flash) to allow more ambient light to capture more of the background and preserve the mood of the place.

Adapted from 40 Digital SLR techniques by (Wiley, 2006; $17)