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I'm shooting a friends wedding in a couple of months and have a nice list of online resources to read up on but does anyone have any sage advice to prepare me, in any aspect of shooting a wedding?

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I manufacture Luxury photobooks and Wedding albums. So I deal with 100's of weddings.


One thing that always gets said is "We don't want any formal Pictures, just reportage" (it's the in thing) when you get there it suddenly dawns that a wedding is a family occasion and Mum & Dad, Aunt Bess etc all want a group shot(s) so be prepared for that. You will do Formal shots whatever has been said before hand.


Also some Venues won't let you shoot the ceremony, won't let you use flash etc so be prepared. Some of the Vicars etc are very helpful some want to shoot off as soon as the "I doo" has been spoken. It is illegal to take pictures of the signing of the register, you should take a mock image of this.


If your having an album, make sure you take filler shots for the back ground. i.e rings, flowers, Menu, Table plan, car etc...


Take an umbrella in case it rains for the bride, and I don't mean a scruffy old golf one. Make sure the car doesn't shoot off so you can do a few shots of it and the couple.


Have an assistant to look after your gear etc as you can't always be with your bag, It's also helpful if you can speak to the venue organizer with regards times, places suitable for pictures etc time of first dance etc


Are you doing images at the Brides house?


When taking the image think about things like Fire extinguishers, signs  etc in the background. it's amazing the amount that don't!


Oh and remember to charge the battery have spare cards and maybe a spare camera body.

Edited by red vtec

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I've done a great deal of weddings over the last few years Bibs.  Started out, like you, shooting a friends wedding, then  it was friends of friends, friends of friends of friends... now UK wide.  I don't actively promote 'doing' weddings, but people seem to seek me out regardless - Even ended up shooting one in Krakow, Poland, last year!?


I'd echo all the comments above - make sure you have back-up gear with you - shoot RAW, and keep your images on many smaller memory cards, rather than a couple of large capacity one's.  (I had a mid-wedding card failure last year, and lost around 300 images, when the card controller chip decide to fry its self - nil recoverable... Luckily, I'd switched cards about 20 mins earlier, so didn't lose much, but still - very frustrating.)  If possible, have a 2 body set up - I do, 2 x 5D Mk2 - one with the 24-70 2.8 and the other with 70-200 IS 2.8 on.  Then, for other stuff, there's the option to swap on to one of those bodies, a wide angle/tiltshift/fisheye as you feel creatively fit.  Those first 2 'work-horse' lenses are a must have for most weddings.


If you're shooting a late wedding - make sure you've got 'fast glass' and a body that shoots well in low light. Similarly, with flash, if you have to use it, make sure you've practiced lots before hand, and bear in mind that if you're bouncing it off venue walls/ceilings, any fancy decor colours can colour-cast your shots, so just be prepared for it in post...


Formals: the worst bit of the day for me - scout the venue before hand and figure out where's best to shoot them - try and get them done and dusted early, before the booze starts flowing, otherwise you end up with non-cooperative, occasionally rowdy, and iften shabby looking guests... fire of 5-6 frames of the same shot- Aunty Jean s is usually looking in the wrong direction, chewing, or blinking, guaranteed...


Take a look at some other wedding shoots at the same venue if you can - Google it! You'll get an idea of what works for that venue and what doesn't, arm yourself with shot ideas, and maybe come across some things you'd not thought of...


Most valuable bit of advice?  Try to relax and enjoy it - first one is always nerve-racking, but get a few good shots under your belt, and you'll be flying - try not to 'chimp' all the time, although the odd in-camera review and peek at your histogram always set's you at ease.  Oh, and don't worry about Uncle Bob and his £5000 camera set up - you've been asked to shoot their special day, not him - Don't be afraid of getting in the way of other guests with fancy camera's - You take precedence!  Don't feel self conscious about being the only one at the ceremony who's moving around and shooting - that's what you're there to do and that's what every one expects - most of the guests wouldn't know you from at full time pro, so expect you to be doing what you're doing...


Oh, and don't touch a drop of alcohol until you're finished for the day! ;-)


I actually enjoy doing them...!

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Seems sensible to me to spend a bit of time with your friends first, maybe ask to take preliminary shots of them sitting , standing etc to see how the compositions work, ie if one is taller etc, low light situations, . take those shots home to process and see how they look. Gives you an idea in advance of their photogenic nature. If this were a regular gig you can't do it, but friends might appreciate your effort and get relaxed at you directing them.

Just an idea

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  • 3 months later...

Wait until the church bell ringers have done their bit before shooting the formal groups in the church grounds. You've no idea how annoying they can be when you're trying to herd cattle above their din. I lost my voice doing this.


If some stupid woman interrupts your shot list routine because she wants to throw confetti, tell her she can do it as long as she doesn't mind taking the rest of the pics herself. If you get no co-operation, tell them they're doing it for the bride and groom, not you.


Best advice, avoid weddings like the plague. You'll stay sane longer.

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