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

Remembering My Wedding Day (Getting Ready)

I’ve mentioned a couple times here that I had gotten the amazing chance to photograph my first wedding for a long-time friend of mine. Well, the big day has finally come and gone! Last Friday consisted of me taking the day off work, sleeping in, not being able to sit still for the next three hours after waking up, and finally making my way into the mountains to the wedding venue with Ryan, my trusted second shooter. Guys, I can see why husband and wife teams seem to have the most fun together. I’m so glad he was able and willing to help me.

The whole experience brought me right back to our own wedding day. As we watched the chaos last weekend of wedding party and family arriving hours before the ceremony, trying to help set up and get ready for photos, I remembered our own frantic gathering of picture frames and table numbers and seating charts and guest books and all of my outfit accessories. And when the next morning I began going through the photos I took, I found myself also going back through the photos taken of my wedding, by the amazing Sweet William Photography. (And I’ve decided, after now having done a wedding myself, that Will is probably a wizard. He is so. good.) The memories just kept pouring in.

Getting ready.

I woke up long before I wanted to on my wedding day. As much as I tried to will myself back to sleep for another couple of hours, it was not going to happen. I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to the kitchen, my stomach a knot of nerves. To-dos were still streaming through my head. After my mom took the time to make eggs for breakfast, and we had the chance to sit around the table and eat with our family staying with us, we all got to work on throwing the rest of the wedding together. My mom made my wedding cake, so she had tending to that to do, while everyone else began getting the arch decorated with flowers and I set forth on printing out our seating charts and getting photos in their frames. I hit panic mode when I couldn’t find the prints for a good several minutes, and when it reached 12:30 and I told my maid of honor I hadn’t even had the opportunity to shower yet, she was a doll and ordered me to do so.

Getting ready.

After that, the house entered a state of greater chaos as more family and my bridal party began to arrive little bits at a time, though every one of them was as helpful as could be. One of my bridesmaids, Madison, called me as she was heading over and asked if I wanted her to pick me up something to eat on her way. “I’m not really hungry,” I told her. “I had eggs earlier.” Apparently, I can’t eat when I’m nervous. But that Madison, she kept prying until I conceded to having a mini mac and cheese. Good thing I have friends who know what’s best for me when I can’t think.

Getting ready.

This luck became even more apparent when it came time for us to make our way to the wedding venue. It was greatly disorienting leaving the house not carrying a thing, while my beloved bridesmaids all made sure to pack up all of the decorations along with my dress and veil. And my shoes, which I totally would have forgotten if it weren’t for my maid of honor. Point two for her. Point three goes to her, too, for calling me on our way to make sure I’d remembered to bring my birth control. I hadn’t.

As seems to be the theme for weddings everywhere, we were running late getting to the venue and starting the photos. At one point, I had two people working on my hair and one person doing my makeup, as I sat there trembling that we wouldn’t have time to get all the photos in, or that one of our vendors wouldn’t show up (which is a whole other story I may get to in some other post), or that the rest of the family would for some reason or another not arrive in time for photos beforehand. Yes, I think I’d classify myself as a worrier.

Getting ready.

We did, in fact, start the ceremony late, but it was no fault of our own, and frankly by that point I wasn’t even remotely keeping track of the time.

You know what’s funny? If I didn’t have the memories associated with the craziness of this day, I’d look at these photos and think everything looked so put together. So Pinterest worthy. I guess that’s the beauty of a great wedding photographer. They capture the best, the beautiful. Thank you always to the amazing Sweet William Photography!

The story of our wedding is to be continued (as I tend to babble on a bit)…

love always, Delia