Monday, August 8, 2011

Photographing a Wedding For the First Time

This past Saturday I photographed a lovely wedding with the help of my good friend Elissa as my assistant. I will be doing a large post with all of the wedding and bridal pictures on my photography blog soon so be sure to check them out.   Now that this couple is married I can finally share a few of my favorite bridal portraits and dish on what I learned after photographing a wedding for the first time.  I want to also apologize in advance as I will be quite MIA from the blog world for a few weeks as I am editing wedding pictures for the next several weeks during every nap and bed tine break.  Wish me luck!


I actually rented the 24-70 mm Canon lens to shoot the wedding and I'm not sure I want to give it back!  I've been planning on buying this lens for some time now but, after shooting for 8 hours and getting beautiful, crisp and consistent results I am in awe.  It's wide 2.8 aperture was a life savor in the rather dimly lit church and reception hall.  The zoom overall was great, though at some points I do wish I could have zoomed in more when I was standing further away.  It's all good though because that's what legs are for. LOL.  I will say that after 9 hours of carrying my camera around with this lens I had a crazy full body muscle workout.  That sucker is a lot heavier than my lighter zoom lenses and the prime lenses that I use for portrait sessions.  I did get use to the weight quickly though. Seriously, I just LOVE this lens and will def. shoot any and all weddings with it in the future.  Now I just have to save up for it or perhaps you would like to buy me one?? hehe

I brought lots of extra camera and flash batteries.  I never had to replace my camera battery and I was pretty impressed by that.  I replaced my flash batteries 3 times and even had a bit of an issue with my flash over heating (possibly due to a short?).  Yes, that was very frustrating especially during the ceremony.  I am not sure exactly what that was all about so I will have to read up on it and possibly take my flash in for servicing or buy a different one.  That little hiccup affirmed all the more that it is essential to have a backup flash, camera and lens (which I did) when photographing such a monumental event.  I brought an extra memory card as well but, never completely filled my original 16 GB card.  Gotta love those huge memory cards!

Just hours before the wedding, I ran to Wall Mart bought a tiny cross chest purse (like really tiny) to carry my extra batteries, memory card and detailed list from the bride of special shots she wanted taken.  That little purse was a life savor and I seriously can't imagine ever shooting another wedding without it.  It never got in my way and it was so light that I forgot I was even carrying it! I didn't want to be lugging around a huge camera purse or backpack but, I did need to have some essentials on hand.  This was a perfect solution!

For me, a quality assistant was invaluable.  I could send my friend to take pictures of the guys while I stayed behind shooting the bride since they were getting ready at the same time.  The church was really small inside and navigating between the crowded pews and small aisles was a challenge .  I knew that my assistant would be capturing one angle and I could capture the other in the tight space.  It was very reassuring and honestly kept me from ever stressing or worrying.  Plus, during the few down moments we had, I was able to chat with my friend about what we would do next and how things were going.  It was fun to have a buddy!  I don't know if I would ever want to shoot a wedding alone to be honest.  There were so many positives to having an assistant!

I got uber hot...and my feet got really sore.  I learned never to wear even an elbow length, knitted sweater to a Southern wedding in August.  The church AC is very old and struggled to keep the temperature at 84 during the entire ceremony.  I was drenched in sweat to put it lightly and I think most of the wedding party was also.  I wanted to take the little sweater off but, was too afraid of stinking up the church or having sweat puddles showing through my white blouse underneath so...on it stayed and I think I lost just about all of my weight in water that day! haha.  As for feet; I wore a simple pair of black ballet flats and my feet were not only cooking but, super sore as the shoes don't offer any support nor did they bend well when I had to squat up and down.  I would love to get a really comfy pair of dress shoes or at least some squishy insoles before I shoot another wedding! LOL
Note to self: Bring light snacks and a water bottle next time!  I did bring a nutra-grain bar and an apple but, it simply wasn't enough to hold me over for an eight hour wedding session.  I was a lucky photographer because the Bride's family generously offered us ice cold water bottles and a dinner plate (which can I add was the best southern meal I have ever had in my life!!).  In the future though I would rather not be eating or drinking the wedding parties things so I will remember to bring my own.  Live and learn right. :)

I can get easily discouraged if I look at too much online before a big event like this.  Some people thrive off of internet browsing and aren't swayed by it in the slightest but, I am simply not that way.  Knowing this about myself I chose to print off a picture check list and then mentally go through the shots and come up with my own ideas and I kept my internet research to a minimum.  I wanted the shots I took to be my own, the editing style to be my own and my creativity to go unhampered by what I had read or seen.  This might baffle some but, I do not regret my decision in the slightest.  I was 100% at peace all day and my mind never got clouded or bogged down with all the mumbo jumbo that I could have filled it with. 

Final tips: Relax.  Have fun.  Be yourself.  Definitely my life mottos and these things are just as important when photographing a wedding.  Shoot in your style.  Get creative.  Think outside the box.  Cut yourself some slack...for example:  I am a natural light photographer but, there was no way I could shoot a wedding in a dim church without a flash.  Yes, the pictures look different than natural light pictures but, that is okay. They still turned out great. Remember, every photographer's editing style is different and that is okay.  Photography is an art and you get to be the artist.  Create your art in such a way that you are proud of it and don't get discouraged by what you see around you.  Be proud of yourself at the end of a long hard day of shooting! You did it and you did it well!

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29 comments:

  1. Casey these are awesome!!!! I love that they look very original and so beautiful and so YOU!! Love em!

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  2. that dress is beautiful and these pictures are great! i wish i had a camera/lens that made pictures look this good in dimly lit areas and rooms.

    my favorite is the black and white one with her back toward us.

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  3. I LOVE her wedding dress! So far the shots are amazing, I would have been very pleased if I was the bride. Good job!

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  4. Ok, I'm with Courtney, I love the dress...and you did an awesome job on the pictures. I've heard this is one of the hardest things to do for a photograper is it true? So much to capture, getting it all in, having everyone cooperate, yikes! It looks like you pulled it off fabulously though.

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  5. Yay!! You did it! I look forward to seeing more of the photos as I know you did an excellent job.

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  6. These are so beautiful Casey - I know exactly where you are as my bestie got married there in 2007. I can't wait to see the wedding!

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  7. You did a phenomenal job Casey- WOW. I have to say, this would be the most intimidating thing for me. I love how you talked about all your experiences- as these are all things I often wonder about.

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  8. Gasp! These are amazing! You're so brave...I don't know if I'll ever attempt a wedding...unless I knew my pictures would turn out like this!

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  9. Great job!! Beautiful pictures.

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  10. Fantastic shots - I can't wait to see the wedding shots!!!! I love that red door, too! Was that just where she got dressed or where the reception was or what?

    My friends that shoot weddings actually always have a meal as part of the contract - since they are there all day long it's much easier than trying to bring their own food & sometimes they are with the wedding party from getting dressed in the early morning until late at night for the reception so a meal is always included.

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  11. Wow Case! I know I've seen these before but I could just look at them over and over again. So lovely! Marme

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  12. Casey these are beautiful! The Bride is lovely, her dress is gorgeous (I would even say I want something like that for my future wedding) And your shots are absolutely wonderful! I love you! I'm glad you lived through the experiance. :)
    ~Anna

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  13. What a great learning experiance for you! The pictures came out wonderful!!! Wish we lived closer, I would love to have you take family pictures for our crew.
    Great job!

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  14. These are gorgeous! You did an amazing job as a wedding photographer. Can't wait to see more images. :)

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  15. Great pictures!!! Too bad I'm already married! LoL! Otherwise I'd use you!!

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  16. Beautiful! I can't wait to see more! Where did you rent the lens?

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  17. Great lessons learned...thanks for sharing. The photos turned out beautiful!

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  18. these photos look so good. way to go girl. keep living your dream!

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  19. Good HEAVENS Casey! These are outstanding!! Oh my word... I've looked at them 3 times now! :-) You are so creative with the posing (something I can't do to save my life), and yet the bride looks so natural. LOVE the white house (building?) with the red door - she just pops against the red. Wow. Truly impressed! Beautiful job. ♥

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  20. Congratulations on a job well done my friend! These shots are so, so pretty! I'm loving the one where she's lifting up her dress to show of her shoes--adorable and lovely!

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  21. It sounds like you got quite the workout! I love your beautiful photos--gorgeous!

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  22. Your first wedding, how exciting! Congratulations, the pictures turned out great. Love the black n white photo too. Hope your editing goes well and the b and g are happy.

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  23. Absolutely beautiful! The bird's eye view of her back (black and white) is my fave!!!!!

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  24. Girlfriend! love that shot of her sitting on the steps in front of the red door. Gorgeous! I'm so proud of you...this is a huge step to take and it looks like you conquered it!

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  25. awesome photo!!! you're so talented
    my favs are the one with the red door in the background & the shoes :)

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