Some of you asked what I learned at my first wedding shoot. So much I don’t know where to begin!
First, I have a great respect for wedding photographers. I think it is the single most challenging scenario for anyone to shoot. You have absolutely no control whatsoever! You are shooting documentary style photos, portraiture and still lifes all with the looming cloud of “This is the most important day of my life so don’t f*ck it up” hanging over your head.
There are hundreds of people to capture who are all doing different things, and if you blink too long you might miss the kiss or the toss, or the funny thing that little cousin Billy did. If you have to go to the bathroom you might miss the best man’s speech or the cutting of the cake, and your roll of film will inevitably run out during that really cool moment when the groomsmen start doing capoeira flips and no handed cartwheels on the dance floor. (This actually happened to me the other night, I swear.)
You have also been shooting for God-only-knows-how-many-hours and you are struggling to be inspired by the flash photography and the gazillionth toast.
All that said, you are at a wedding and what could be better? Witnessing that kind of love, ritual and celebration is such a gift and privilege. There were many moments when I would forget to shoot because I was so moved and spellbound by the look in the bride and groom’s eyes.
My tips? What I learned?
Shooting wedddings isn’t easy. (I was happily the second shooter at the wedding over the weekend.) I look forward to doing more because I am convinced it is the most excellent training any photographer can have. I was discussing this with two friends of mine who are very successful and accomplished professionals. They challenged themselves to shoot weddings years ago simply for the training. One continued to do it and the other didn’t, but both feel like the experience helped them tremendously in their career.
I say, start shooting at weddings you attend as a guest. Get some practice when there is no pressure and then start assisting a professional. You might do this for years before you take on clients of your own. No matter if you ever do it professionally, you will grow and learn as a photographer. You will also get to eat lots of green cake and occasionally ride a scary rollercoaster afterwards.