Shooting Your First Wedding - Part 2

Bridal Portrait

Thanks for coming back! If you have not seen my first post about shooting your first wedding, check it HERE. 

Every wedding is different. The only constant is that the timeline will not be followed exactly, and you will run out of photo time quickly. I always tell my couples that two hours will turn into an hour really fast.

7. Creating a Timeline

My I touched on this in #2. Having a plan. The timeline is a specific part of this plan. Below is a sample timeline. 

Sample Timeline

I have my couples check this and email any changes, and at least one week before the wedding we agree to a timeline. This is how I create my master plan for the day. It took awhile for me to realize this, but it makes my day so much smoother. I can communicate with my bride as to where we are at and what choices she would like to make. So take the time and make a timeline. You will have a better experience and you will be more professional. If you need tips on how to do this feel free to email me matt@newhopephotography.com

Veil Bridal protrait

8. Consider a second shooter

Second shooters are great to have. But they are not 100% necessary. Having a second shooter on a wedding day helps with being in two places at once, providing more photos, and lessens the stress. But, I have shot plenty of weddings without one. If you are shooting your first wedding for free or cheap, ask if someone wants to tag along for experience. Be upfront and be direct with what you need from them. In the end they represent you and the brand that you are building so they need to know what you need before hand. Having a second the day of your first wedding will help you and will also provide your couple with more photos. 

Second Shooter

9. Be Honest

When booking your first wedding, be honest with yourself and with your clients. This is a huge day and when you are honest and you set the expectations you have less of a chance of failure. Both in your eyes and your clients. 

This could mean second shooting for awhile before you take on a wedding of your own. This way you will learn the pace of a day and how to operate. Watch the lead closely and ask questions. 

Set up a styled shoot, either with a paid model or a friend. This will give you shots for your portfolio and can help with showing the couple of what to expect after the editing is complete. 

Bridal Portrait

10. Shoot in RAW

If you have never done this before it can be intimidating. You also may need to buy larger cards. But you can salvage a photo that may have otherwise been lost. You can shoot at a lower ISO and boost exposure in post if you need to have have a useable image. 

Trust me. You will never turn back. 

Wedding Rings

11. Have fun & encourage your couples to have fun

Wedding days are stressful. Like I said before it is the hardest job I have done, but the most rewarding. I encourage my couples to focus on the moments as they happen, don't worry about the other things. The day goes by so fast so enjoy it. 

Now if you have you plan and your timeline, you can focus on being in the moment. 

If you know how to use your gear you won't be spending your time fiddling with the controls or chimping (looking at your screen after every photo). 

You can focus on the things that count. The moments and the people. 

Random Tips

  • Turn off your camera beep. Nothing worse than a quiet church prayer and the beep of a camera focusing.
  • Don't worry about lens caps. Not only do these slow you down, but dropping one on the marble floor of a church during a ceremony is embarrassing. It hasn't happened to me, but I have witnessed it. No Fun. 
  • Think about backgrounds. When setting up a photo, think about what is in the background. I.E. beer bottles, trash, cars, street signs. Things that make it look like a person has something growing out of their head. Sometimes all you have to do is move over slightly. 
  • ALWAYS TAKE HAIR TIES OFF OFF THE BRIDESMAIDS WRISTS. Remembering to do this will make your editing so much easier. 
  • Your plan will get ruined, have a backup plan