Photographing your first wedding can be a scary business. It may be the happiest day in a couple’s life but for a photographer this first one can be one of the most stressful in your whole career. There are so many emotions invested in the occasion that failure is really not an option. Here are seven tips to help you prevent it from happening – and to stop you from having a meltdown on the big day.
Know the basics
This is not the time to work out how your new camera works or to start trying to brush up on your knowledge when it comes to shutter speed, aperture or depth of field, for example. The couple will expect you to know your business and you simply won’t have the time to start messing around.
Visit the location
Make time before the event to scout the location at a similar time of day to when the wedding will be held to give you an idea of what the lighting and conditions will be like on the day. Take some test shots to help you discover any problems and find solutions before the event.
Different wedding venues will have different rules that photographers will have to abide by so make it your business to know what these are. This can be particularly important when photographing a church wedding.
The Methodist church has its own photography guidelines which can be found on the official website at methodist.org.uk or you could speak to a particular vicar, priest of clergy at the church involved. Most dioceses now have their own websites, such as the Anglican diocese of Winchester at winchester.anglican.org, which are a good starting point for contact details or advice.
Prepare your shot list
An experienced wedding photographer working for the likes of Lemon Tree Hampshire Wedding Photographer would never think about turning up at a wedding without a pre-prepared shot list and you shouldn’t either. This will ensure you get the shots you want and don’t get led astray by the ‘chaos’ of the day.
You should try to involve the couple in planning this list to ensure you get the shots they particularly want and fully understand what they really need you to achieve.
Get your spares ready
You’re not going to become the number one wedding photographer in Hampshire, or anywhere else in the world, if your only battery fails or your memory card is full even before the ‘I dos’ are said.
Enlist an assistant
If you can, take an assistant with you on your day to help ensure you don’t miss out on important shots and with positioning of groups. An assistant of the opposite sex can also be helpful if, for example, the bride or groom wants ‘getting ready’ shots and wouldn’t be comfortable with you in the room.
Remember that you are there to do a job. Be polite but firm to get the results that you know the couple want. Try to get the couple on board before the event to ensure that they have told their guests about you, as this will make them less likely to jump in front of you with their own cameras at important moments.