The following are my thoughts I have learned over the past 5 years of photographing weddings. I hope you find my insights helpful for when you next shoot someone’s special day.
I typically meet with all my clients at least two or three times before the proposed date to plan a photography shoot around their desired needs. The first step for me is to establish what type of wedding the couple will host . Country, beach, church, backyard or is it going to be something completely out of the square?
I then proceed to ask one of the most important questions – what sort of feel would you like portrayed in your photographs? Would you like the photographs to looked relaxed, hipster, documentary or traditional? Most couples would have previously looked at your website or portfolio of images so I also ask if there any wedding photos that they enjoyed looking at. I find asking these simple questions really gives you a great foundation to plan their wedding photography.
A wedding is one of the biggest events you will ever photograph in your lifetime. Most brides have been dreaming of this day their entire life. From the moment a young girl styles her favourite doll in white cloth forming the most elegant of gowns, the slow steps begin down the confetti filled isle. The unsuspecting brothers toy, typically a dreamy Tuxedo Ken nervously awaits the hand of his beautiful bride as the ceremony unfolds.
The Fat Controller announces the famous words – “You may kiss the bride” and the perfectly timed monumental occasion rises to a new level, Elmo and the other stuffed congregation of misfits (family or friends) celebrate with cheers of joy. The makeshift shoebox comes alive as the bride and groom skip back down the aisle.
So now lets look back at this scene. Where is the photographer in this dreamed scenario?
The photographer is actually the child directing every move of the day as the preparation, ceremony and reception unfold. Knowing this fact it well worth your while to find out what the developed child’s mind is visualising for her wedding day. It’s your job to develop a shooting schedule that will show off her dreamed vision of the day. You will have to use all your creative, negotiation and leaderships skills to pull off the best wedding photography shoot ever.
I would say photography is a small part of photographing weddings. Firstly you have to be a people person, secondly a business mind and thirdly you need to have the creative genus to create amazing memories. Be sure to learn some good editing techniques, learn how to use your camera gear and if possible try to encourage an assistant to come along for the ride. I have used an assistant on all my wedding jobs and the difference is clear.
I pay my assistants well as they work just as hard as me! I have had a few assistants work with me over my time and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all (you know who you are) for the wonderful photographs you helped create. I would especially like to thank Caroline for giving me my first film SLR to explore this amazing world with. Without my first SLR camera I wouldn’t be where I am now. So thank you.
Getting back to discussing some wedding preparation – next on the list would have to be discussing the timeline of the day. As a general rule I normally arrive an hour before I need to be there. The extra time allows me to interact with the everyone involved and set up any gear. If you arrive too close to leaving for the ceremony the rush will last the rest of the day and the photos you capture will certainly suffer.
I really don’t want to make this post into a long boring wedding speech so I will keep it short.
Be sure to practise your photography craft at friends weddings, learn from others and practice some more. Wedding photography isn’t for everyone so if you aren’t up to the task then certainly leave it to a professional.
Weddings are truly one of my favourite things to photograph so I do hope you have enjoyed some of my thoughts and tips on the subject.
Remember to enjoy what you do and you will always succeed – Leigh Diprose.
Until next time – Happy Shooting.