A Wedding Recap

July 11, 2011
A photo from the first wedding I shot

A photo from the first wedding I shot

As you all know, I was a second shooter in my first wedding back in March. For those of you that don’t remember the background, I was asked to help out a friend. I was incredibly nervous about it, as I think anyone should be the first time they shoot a wedding – it’s a big deal! You only get one shot!

I’ve already written about what I was doing to prepare for the shoot, but of course on the day of the wedding, I learned a few more Dos and Don’ts, so if you’re wondering how it all went, please, read on!

My Dos and Don’ts

Ask the bride/groom what they want I realize this is kind of a “duh” statement here, but we didn’t have a chance to actually do that, but it would have been helpful. I went into the event hoping to get certain shots that I realized she was interested in, and then I also worried I wasn’t getting shots that she dreamed of. We did get a chance to ask for specific photos she wanted (the one you see below is a request of hers), but I think if we had time to actually sit down and talk with her before-hand, we would have been even more prepared. Once again, I know this sounds obvious, and I knew going into the day that we were going in a bit blind, but I didn’t really realize how uncomfortable this was going to be until the actual day of the ceremony.

The bride specifically requested this photo

The bride specifically requested this photo

It’s not enough just to bring the extra battery and memory card with you. You have to actually have them on you. This is such a classic rookie mistake that I just don’t even want to admit it happened to me! But, the truth is, moments before the first kiss, I looked down to see how many photos I had left on my memory card, and there were only 2. My backup memory card? It was in my bag, which was all the way on the other side of the church. MOMENT OF PANIC. I managed to get 3 shots of the first kiss (hooray for my camera mis-estimating), then literally RAN (in the church!) to my bag, threw the old memory card on the ground and fished out the new memory card, and put it in the camera while RUNNING back. I missed the bride and groom walking back down the aisle.

Luckily, I still managed to get a shot of the first kiss

Luckily, I still managed to get a shot of the first kiss

The solution? First of all, I meant to switch out for the new memory card before the ceremony even started, but I forgot. My first suggestion is to NOT FORGET THINGS. Also, I didn’t wear pants with pockets, where I could have stored a back-up battery and memory card. My fellow photographer had a little fanny-pack type back that she could throw in stuff like her lens cap, and extra cards and batteries. Fantastic idea, so that’s probably the route I’ll go with next time.

Slideshows are a crowd-pleaser. After the short, dry reception, the couple had an after-party at a local bar. There were a few hours to kill between the two, so the other photographer came over to my house where we went through the photos we had so far and whipped up a slideshow, then I brought my laptop to the bar and put it on a table to run through the slideshows. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it (and I put the laptop away before too many beverages were consumed… just in case!).

A natural, candid moment.

A natural, candid moment.

Never put your camera down I didn’t take my camera out of my hands the entire day! I was so afraid I’d miss a sweet, candid moment. That photo above? Was just one of those moments. She didn’t know I was taking that photo, and it’s one of my favorite from the day.

Capture the Details. Anyone who knows me and my photographic style knows that I didn’t need any reminder to capture to the details. It’s what I do, it’s what I love to do. I think my favorite part of the day was when we took the rings and took a number of different photos with them (including the one you see below), but I also enjoyed the early part of the day when I walked around the church and reception location (they were in the same building), getting detail photos. I’m glad we had the time to do that before jumping into the actually wedding. It was like a nice little warm-up!

The rings and some rocks!

The rings and some rocks!

Would I do it again?

This is probably the question I’ve been asked most since the big day, and honestly? I can’t decide. The day of, I was really loving it. Despite the stress, it was also really exciting, and I loved just being there and doing what I do, and really felt that, even with the memory card fiasco, I was doing a pretty good job! Sure, I’d do it again! Then, the day after when I first started looking through my photos, I thought I was a complete failure and there was no way I’d ever do it again! (I think following jasmine star is a big mistake – I’ll never be as good as her!). Nope, never doing this again! Then, as I got into a groove with editing, I thought, ok, these aren’t too bad… So, I settled on a “maybe”. I still don’t think this is anything I’d ever seek out to do, but I don’t think I’d ever turn down a request to be a second shooter, either.

For a first wedding, I'm saying I did not too bad.

For a first wedding, I'm saying I did not too bad.

Also, don’t forget! I’m picking photos from the iffles.com Monthly Themes group on flickr to post on Wordless Wednesday. July’s theme is Statues/Parks!

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  • Congrats on this!  I'm glad you made it through it.  It looks like you did pretty good and you learned something.  You are very brave to even try and to share your experience (mistakes and all is great).  I don't think I would search for this kind of shoot either.  If I were asked I may oblige but I'm not positive.  Congrats again.

  • Al from LearningTheLight.com

    I think you did a really good job judging from these shots! You shouldn't be so hard on yourself - it is a very big deal shooting a wedding. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Mothman0

    Very interesting to read about your experience!  You've only shared a select few photos, but if these are an indication, it looks to me like you did quite well. :)

    And I bet the bride and groom never even knew about those "mistakes" you talked about. =D

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