Recently I have decided that I could no longer resist the urge to get back into Wedding photography. There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is, it is an absolute honor to be part of your special day.
Wedding photography is one of the most competitive genres of photography there is, and it takes a lot of time, patience, practice and skill to be good at it.
Which is why I steered away from it for the last couple of years.
I shot my first wedding about 15 years ago, and have shot countless weddings (actually I could count them – but for the purpose of this blog post I’m not going too) since, and at each one I achieved something new, learned a new technique both with the camera and in post-production, and strangely enough got better at shooting them each time. I gave it up about 4 years ago to concentrate on other areas of my business.
Now, as I mentioned above, it is time to throw my hat back in the ring, and get shooting again, after all wedding photography is probably the most sort after of all the services a photographer can supply.
Obviously I will still be shooting my cars (it is my bread and butter after all), continue with glamour portraiture, and most of all where and when I can, shoot whatever it is you require.
I believe that building a relationship with the happy couple, is by far the most important aspect of wedding photography, the photos, once you have the required skill set, will take care of themselves. So I make sure that I meet with the couple at least twice before the day, but sometimes it is necessary to meet 3 or 4 or more times to ensure that we are all on the same page and to guarantee wedding photo success. I spend a lot of time with my couples making sure that I am the right photographer for their needs. And if I am not, well that’s fine too, I can usually point them in the direction of a photographer that is.
There are a few things that can make or break a successful wedding day shoot – and this doesn’t just apply to me, but any photographer you are working with.
Number one the happy couple needs to pay attention to the photographer. With the abundance of phones and cameras that come out at a wedding it is easy to be caught looking anywhere except at the photographer you are paying for, and nothing looks worse than having the bride and groom and wedding party all looking in different directions.
Secondly ask your family and friends to not take photos during the ceremony, this will ensure you get value for money out of your photographer, and I wont have my shot ruined by someone else’s flash going off, or them sticking their phone into the middle of my shot.
Three – keep hydrated. I know there is a temptation to start on the champagne as soon as the ceremony ends, but try to stick to water or soft drink until the reception. We need your full attention and it makes it really hard for me if one of the bridal party are starting to get a bit tipsy. Stay away from coloured drinks that stain your tongue and teeth. I.e. vodka cruisers etc.
Speaking of the bridal party, number four is make sure the bridal party don’t go AWOL! I have shot weddings where the best man couldn’t be found and the matron of honour decided she wasn’t required anymore. ALL of the bridal party are required until the photographer says they aren’t.
Also lets be mindful of any kids in the party. They lose attention really quick, and the younger they are the faster they lose it. So I always try to get the shots with ring bearers and flower girls asap after the ceremony.
In the pre-wedding discussions make sure you mention any special requirements for the photographer, or if you have examples of shots you like, show me. That way we can prepare appropriately and if we need special equipment, we will have it with us.
I try to make the shoot as fun and relaxing as I can, but sometimes we need to put our serious hats on and just get the job done. At the end of the day these are the photos you will be showing your kids in years to come.
So here is a rough running order of what I shoot on the day.
1. Bride &/or groom preparation (if required).
2. Arrival of guests and groom at ceremony venue including some crowd mingling shots.
3. Arrival of the bride including bridesmaids, and “walk down the aisle.”
4. The Ceremony.
5. Mass group shot of every one immediately after the ceremony.
6. Family photos, brides family first then the grooms.
7. Creative shoot with the entire bridal party at a pre-determined location.
8. Wedding cars (if required).
9. The reception venue, cake and table decorations.
10. Arrival of bridal party at reception.
11. Speeches (if required).
12. First dance (if required).
13. Guests at the reception (if required).
14. Bride and Groom leaving (if required).
Some days that will mean I am on the go for about 12-14 hours and believe me by the end of it I am spent. But I always have a sense of accomplishment when it is all over.
And then comes the editing. I won’t go into detail here but it includes, file sorting, naming, retouching and so on. I spend probably another 24 hours (sometimes more) in front of my computer editing to make sure that you get the photos you deserve.