Well… I actually 2nd shot at a wedding with one of my favourite wedding photographers, Davene Prinsloo. What a cool opportunity. If you haven’t yet, you should totally check out her work. She was the speaker at one of the EC Meet-ups earlier this year and laid some solid tog knowledge on us.
This was of course all new to me as it was less than a year after I got my DSLR. Needless to say, there was a lot to learn and that was the mindset I went with. I learned much more but I want to list the 5 main things I took from the experience that enhanced my sense of photography and added value to it.
1 – Be patient
Chances are, everything’s not gonna go according to plan. In this particular wedding, the dressmaker didn’t deliver the groom and groomsmen’s clothes on time and they were hours late because of that pushing everything out of schedule. We ended up watching tons of YouTube videos on the then new Canon 5D MKiv (adds to wishlist)
The point is, things will happen that are out of your control because there’s so many 3rd parties involved. Caterers, cars, bridal party, the aforementioned dressmaker(s), venue, make-up artists… you get the picture. You just cannot control it all and it will be both in your benefit and the bridal couple’s to be extra patient on their special day.
2 – Prioritize pretty
This is not wildlife photography, shoot for “pretty” instead of “true to life”. LOL. I got a schooling here and a good one because Davene pointed out the little things to look out for, especially when photographing the bride. Chin, arms, how this pose adds girth and that one takes from her length. Goodness…this is no point and shoot and only a seasoned pro would know these things. Now I do too!
3 – Sensor size DOES matter
In certain instances, you just cannot get away with inefficient gear. We set out to shoot at sunset but ran a bit late, meaning we lost a lot of precious light. The less light you have, the higher you got to push that ISO levels.
Full frame sensor professional DSLR’s handle this particularly well, while my crop sensor couldn’t cope at all. Being full of grain and blurry because of trying to compensate with shutter speed, my shots weren’t usable at all.
4 – Be assertive
No seriously. Everybody will want to take any opportunity to talk to the bride and groom and understandably so. They’re happy and most of the time it is to extend their congratulations. That being said, wedding photographers are usually booked for a limited time only and unless you give solid direction as to where you need the bridal couple next, you may just be at the mercy of the crowd, taking away from the time you have to get all your shots for that couple hundred photos the couple are expecting afterwards.
5 – Shoot, shoot and shoot some more
Look. You’re expected to supply a couple hundred photos…. good, beautiful photos. Because there’s an element of spontaneity, especially in the important moments like the kiss, the vows, the groom’s face when she walks in (you get the picture), you may want to be a tad bit trigger happy when they happen. Taking the photo is only part of the process… the amount of options you have will be a lifesaver in editing.
So that’s the top 5 lessons I learned while shooting my first wedding. Amidst all of these things, it’s so important to have fun and let your energy encourage positivity and order in an atmosphere full of excitement and nervousness. These along with others are lessons that one naturally learns on the job.
Thank you for reading and if you’re a photographer, please use the comment section and share one lesson you’ve learned on your first shoot.