Shooting My First Wedding

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It is already a month ago that I drove myself out into the mountains to photograph the wedding of an long-time friend of mine. Well, okay, Ryan drove and I worked on my breathing. But now the photos are edited, signed, sealed, delivered and I can finally share them with the world!

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I went through such a roller coaster of emotions from the time I signed on as the photographer for this wedding to the time I handed over the final images. First I was super excited. Then panic set in. Then a frenzy of research and the pressure seemed to subside. The nervousness waxed and waned up until the wedding day, and then it was time to just see what I was made of.

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I think I rose to the challenge. In the end, I delivered a set of photographs I was proud of, and that I knew the bride and groom would really appreciate. While I worked harder on this than any other photography project I’ve had in the past, I wholeheartedly would love to do it again. And again. This could become a thing, in fact.

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There was a lot to learn as I went along. Wedding photography is definitely one of those challenging things you need to do before you know how to do it, and now that I’ve done it, I’m itching for the chance to do it again, only even better this time.

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Notes to self for next time:

People will get in your way. This seems somewhat obvious, I know. I mean, obviously weddings are filled with lots of people who are going to mill around and not consider that they’re getting into the photographer’s shot. I knew that. I was just somewhat unprepared the first time around for just how often and how difficult it would be!

Don’t worry about getting into other people’s way. Call me timid, but I just don’t like blocking people’s views of things like the toast or cutting of the cake. I tormented myself trying to finesse a balance between getting the shots I needed and being that annoying person blocking the view. Not that I’m going to just stand in people’s way all the time next time, but I don’t think anyone would fault me for lingering there a little longer to get my shots. It’s what I’m there for, after all.

You’ve got to be fast, and you’ve got to have a system. Not every wedding will have the photographs set as high on a list of priorities as I would have. As much as I’d love to take the whole day to capture the wedding party and the bride and groom portraits, in reality I may have only a matter of minutes. That makes having a real game plan essential. Which brings me to the next point.

Don’t be afraid of being bossy. Chances are, most of the people in a wedding won’t know what’s going on or what they should be doing or how they can help make things run more smoothly. Instead of feeling out of control because no one is ready yet, or passively following along with the flow, take charge! It’s actually comforting for the bride and groom to see you know what to do–even if it means telling them to “get more in the shade” 800 times :)

You actually can take too many photos. If you know you got the shot, move on. This is not to say to be lazy and not try for different angles and poses of the same thing, but taking ten shots of the same exact thing just makes future Delia hate you as she has to filter through them all. Also, if there is a down moment, there is no shame in taking a breather and not feeling obligated to snap random shots you know you probably won’t use, anyway. It’s harder than it seems, keeping that finger off the trigger!

Things like this really can only be learned through firsthand experience. Sure, I knew what to expect as far as the wedding schedule, and I knew what to do as far as getting all the proper moments and details, but it’s more than that. I hope this may help some other budding photographers out there, and I hope you like the photos! Check out my photography blog to see more! If you’re in Albuquerque, or the New Mexico area, and need photography done, shoot me an email! Let’s work together :) (Shameless plug.)

Do you have any tips to add? What is something you’ve dreamed of and then done for the first time?

love always, Delia