First Wedding – “An Experience”

It’s been a couple of weeks since I shot my first wedding.  I’ve had quiet a few days to sit back and reflect on the whole experience and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot.  I won’t lie or make lite of it at all because it was tough.  Knowing that your boss is a customer and that he or she is expecting near perfection in the finished product is a tall order to fill and in the end the only person you have to blame if the results are less than that is yourself.  The fact that my “employeer” was my best friend made the whole thing even more stressful too.  In the end I have to say that I am fairly pleased with the results and I hope the newly-wed couple is also.

I can honestly say that I learned a lot from this but the main thing was that no amount of reading or research can ever truly and fully prepare someone to shoot a wedding alone.  Action is the only thing that can truly teach you.  Experience is the key and you can’t gain that by sitting behind a computer and reading about someone else’s experience.  Sure you can gain a lot of insite, but it’s just not the same.

What are some things that I would do different you might ask?  For starters I think I would certainly communicate with the bride/groom more.  I would find out exactly what look they are looking for even if that look is whatever artistic flair I wan’t to add myself.  Secondly I would scout the area a little better the night before while at the rehearsal dinner.  Thirdly, I would set up a small station where I could take group or family photographs of the attendees as they arrived (if there was time).

One key thing that helped me was that I knew the bride and groom fairly well.  I’ve known the groom for many years and consider him one of my dearest friends.  So knowing his demeanor and attitude sure helped things out and made for a few good laughs during the wedding and reception.  I mean, how many photographers have the garter flipped directly in their direction?  LOL  Classic!

So in the words of Zack Arias, “GOYA” and shoot!  For there is no better way to learn the craft of photography and there is certainly no better way to develop your artistic side then by shooting, except for maybe looking at great photographs.

I will post pictures of the wedding as soon as the couple has their official copy of the images.

more later…

2 thoughts on “First Wedding – “An Experience”

  1. Rusty,

    Lots of good ideas there, but if I might add a couple of comments…

    Thirty years ago I was really into photography and shot several weddings for friends and aquaintances, mainly because I liked doing it and also to save them some money. This is back in the days of real film, of course, and whether it was with 35mm SLR or my TLR ideal format, I seldom made more than a few bucks over my expenses, nor did I intend to. But I digress…

    First of all, the bride and groom are your customers, no one else, and you are spot on about communicating with them. As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to put in writing what shots of whom and how many poses, etc. that they want, mainly so that you (and they) don’t forget anything. Start this process early so they can add to it or change their minds well before the wedding itself. You can always take more shots than you need -especially with digital- but if you miss them at the wedding there’s no opportunity to go back. Try to get some of the formal shots before the wedding itself.

    Second, at the wedding, many couples like candid shots of family and friends as well as the more formal poses. Look for “targets of opportunity;” cute kids, old folks, things that make folks go “oooooooh!” Keep your shot list handy and enlist the help of a family authority figure to ramrod getting the people you need together when you need them. That way they aren’t as hostile toward you personally! If anyone balks at being in a photo, gently remind them that it’s for the “happy couple”, not you. Avoid getting sidetracked by unsolicited requests of “take my picture” that always seem to happen just when you’re trying to get an important shot. (Although these requests sometimes lead to paying jobs later.)

    Third and last, if the bride and groom are happy, don’t worry about in-laws and outlaws. Especially if you don’t charge much, they aren’t expecting Ansel Adams’ work from their friend. Just do your best. And you had them tell you what they wanted, and they even wrote it down. And you did more than they asked, right?

    Be appropriately critical of your work and hone your craft. At some point before very long, you will likely be just as good as most folks whoe are being well-paid as photogs, and you may decide to take that leap yourself.

    I enjoy looking at the pics you post. Keep shootin’!

    -Jim Hodgson

    • Thank you for the comment Jim. I didn’t realize that you were a photographer years ago.

      I think I did well with getting both the formal wedding party images along with the candid images. My only regret is that I didn’t time the formal shots better. I wish those had been taken care of before the wedding instead of between the service and the reception. Of course that is one of those details that can change from wedding to wedding.

      I’ll try to get more images posted as I have time.

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