I photographed my first wedding recently. I think I did a pretty good job but I definitely think it was a learning experience so I thought I would just put down some of the things I would do differently if I had a time machine:
- Follow the bride. I had intended to do this but I made the mistake of assuming I knew where she would be arriving….this meant I was not there when she arrived at the church and I missed some shots. I am still kicking myself about this because a few quick questions at the right time could have sorted this out.
- Look for moments. The shots from the day that I am most keen on are ‘moments’ rather than stagy posed shots. I did get some but I think if I do it again I will be much more on my toes for these. In general I think its a great idea to shot as much casually as I can – this is where my strength lies I think.
- Shoot as much as you can. Don’t be shy to shoot away…you only get one chance so better to take some extra shots than not enough. As it turned out I think I ended up with enough good shots but I can think of some that I saw but missed and there must have been a load more I didn’t even see.
- Use your creativity. I think I was quite focused on documenting the event and thats good but I think I could have used my creativity a bit more.
- Trust your photographic instincts. When the ceremony was over and it was time to do the ‘formal’ pictures the light inside the church was wonderful.
My first instinct was to do the formal portraits and group shots inside but I decided to go outside. What I got was fine but I cant help thinking that posing them inside would have been better. I think the main reason I did this was just that there were so many people milling about inside but I could have worked round this / moved people away from where I wanted to use.
- Spend more time with just the couple. I don’t think I spent enough time with just the couple – I think I should have tried more shots with them and also tried to take a mixture of formal and more impromptu ones while I had them alone.
- Pay attention to what going on around you when you are doing the formal shots. I spotted these while lining up the group / formal shots but these are the only 2 like this. I am sure there must have been dozens of moments like them. Having your 35mm camera to hand while using my Bronica is a good idea.
- Find way to have your film to hand – I was constantly searching my pockets for film!
- Learn to use a flash! I would have liked to shoot at the reception too but it was far too dark for anything but 3200 speed film and even then only in some places and its very grainy and I think less suited to wedding photography. I have been putting off learning about flashes but if I want to do any more of this I just have to bite the bullet and learn a little bit about lighting.
- Get more of the kids. It occurred to me a couple of times during the day to get some good ones of the kids but I never quite got round to it.
- Be in the right place at the right time.
Easier said than done I know but I think if I had asked more questions about the running order I could have planned my movements a bit better.
- Shoot the parents. Well, take some photographs of them anyway
I had actually thought of this before hand and intended to get at least one good impromptu portrait of each of the four parent but I forgot somewhere along the line…
- Em, I knew I should have written this sooner … can think of the rest of what was running through my head the day after right now! I am sure it will come to me and I will come back to this…