Wedding Photography For The First Time. What Did I Learn?

This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to capture the wonderful moments of my cousin’s wedding. From the picturesque backdrop of the Garden Chapel at Big Cedar Lodge to the intimate feeling of a small ceremony, the weekend didn’t disappoint and I couldn’t imagine not being there.

As a photographer, we are asked to capture the feelings and the heartbeat of the big day but it is also hard not to want to sit back and watch as the activities begin getting caught up in the moment and forgeting to put the camera up to our face and press the shutter button. So, as the urge to be a spectator begins to build we need to make sure that we have a solid plan that will allow us to catch the moments and also enjoy the day.

A solid plan is a must for this type of event and even though we had a plan this past weekend there were three key elements that resonated during and after the ceremony.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan

I can’t say enough about this one. We have all had the experiences where we went on a shoot feeling like we planned well and left thinking we missed a few things. A wedding is no different and because of the large expectations that the day itself brings, you should plan, plan, plan up until that day.

If you are able to have someone with you to function as a creative director you place yourself in a position to be the most successful to the plan. This person can coordinate and check to make sure all the shots have been taken and there is nothing missed on that very important day.

2. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot

Make sure you walk away with more footage than you need. I know, how do you know what that equates to and there is no real formula but with camera in hand there shouldn’t be too many moments you are not shooting and/or thinking of all options for a shot.

Trust me, you’re better off getting home with more choices of photo and video clips when the editing begins.

3. Flow, Flow, Flow

Like water finding the path of least resistance, you should also. What do I mean by that? This may sound like it goes against point #1 but even though we have planned as best as possible we have to be flexible and go with the flow. Don't resist the change that has to be made in the schedule and embrace a new direction. Your ability to positively accept change will show through to your client and your work.

At this point, I am not sure if wedding photography fits in my future but it was an experience that I believe most of us should at least do once. Even if you have the opportunity to be a 2nd shooter, take it. I guarantee that it will not only make you a better organizer for your future work no matter what that is but it will make you a better photographer or cinematographer.

Make plan, shoot, flow components of your success.

So, what things have worked for you on a wedding shoot? I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this so please leave a comment below.