I could never be a wedding photographer! I hear this from every photographer who talks shop with me. I get it, it's stressful, it's daunting and scary because there are no do overs. I want to go over a small way I work through a wedding day. This is only a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to shooting a wedding day.
Little home runs. Imagine you're playing baseball, you don't get up and hit a home run and then next person comes up and does the same and repeat until you've won. You have to play the game, sometimes that means only getting to first base, then second and then waiting for a bit before making it home. It's the same when you're shooting a wedding.
When you shoot a wedding you can't expect to walk into the bride's house and have the rings, flowers, shoes, wedding dress lined up for you to shoot and then follow that up with her doing makeup, hair and promptly after her ceremony. So you're going to have to root through the day to get these little moments capped, finished, completed.
So let's break up the wedding day into four sections. These are your little home runs that you have to aim for. If you look at the wedding as a whole it can be a little too much. But if I told you to get photos of the details like shoes, rings, flowers and everyone hanging out getting ready that seems pretty simple right. So that's the first home run.
The second little home run is the ceremony. You're showing up to the ceremony whether it's at a church, synagog, backyard or wedding venue. You have to stand around and capture what's going on, walk back and fourth and capture as much as you can. Afterwards you're getting photos of them walking up the isle and a few photos of the venue on top of that. Not too hard so far right?
The third part is the formal photos. You find a nice location and take a few group photos of the bridal party, family and the bridal couple. You try and get everyone to be as fun and creative as possible. You take the bride and groom around to different areas and pose them and get those iconic photos that they'll have forever. Okay that's a home run. This part can be a little stressful because you are under the gun as far as time goes. You have the span of cocktail hour minus any travel time as well to the reception location. You really have to keep on time because the venue is cooking food as well as the DJ has a playlist which is timed out with speeches and songs and dinner.
The final little home run is the reception. This is the easiest part of a wedding. Myself I arrive and set up any lighting I might be using and from there on in i'm just doing candid / journalistic photography. I don't have to pose anyone if it's not needed. Photos of speeches, toasts, dancing, cake cutting and couples at the tables. Home run.
So hopefully i've made wedding photography sound a little less scary to you. There's a number of other factors that will help your success in wedding photography. You need the right equipment, you need the right attitude, being a people person helps greatly. You also have to want to do a good job. If you're showing up for a paycheck and don't give a shit about how the photos come out then you won't make a very good wedding photographer. You'll end up pissing a lot of people off and you'll be found out pretty quickly. I know photographers that have tried to use weddings to make money and not put in the effort. I truly want to get the best photos for my brides and grooms because it's the photos that they'll have for the rest of their lives. I don't want to be a horror story that they tell. I want my brides and grooms to brag about me before, during and after the wedding.
Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section and I will either answer directly or amend this blog and notify you.