Things I learned this weekend! | Health, Love & Fire

Things I learned this weekend!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This past weekend I got the opportunity to photograph my very first wedding. I have been in love with photography for the past few years and have a few portrait sessions under my belt, but I was extremely nervous to capture my first wedding. To me, weddings are so much different than your average portrait session. It's such an emotional and memorable day, and people hire a photographer to capture all of that. It's also a day that can never be recreated. I was so nervous about getting every shot I wanted and especially of capturing that first kiss! And would you believe my camera starting freezing right as they were getting to that part of the ceremony?!? I had to just keep calm and make it through the day . . . with the help of a few tips.

And while I'm definitely not an expert or by any means professional, here are a few things that helped me get through the experience of photographing my first wedding:

1. Bring a second photographer - Luckily I had my sweet husband who gave up his day off to help me, but just having someone else with you to help capture more of the day, to calm your nerves, and to bounce ideas off was so helpful. There were lots of times throughout the day that I needed to be with the bride, while other wedding activities were going on, which meant that Dan could still be taking photos while I was capturing something else. Sometimes more experienced photographers will bring less experienced ones with them to events like this to help them throughout the day, which also offers a great learning opportunity that I would definitely look for if you want to get in to photography.

2. Have a backup of everything! Not only did I probably bring WAY too many lenses, but I brought three cameras. One for me, one for Dan, and one extra just in case something went wrong with the other two. Now I know this isn't always an option for everyone else, but it definitely calmed my nerves knowing that I had a backup just in case of an emergency. (Thanks to my father-in-law for his extensive camera collection!) I also came prepared with backup batteries and memory cards just incase I ran out of space, and I definitely did in the memory card department!

3. Find out in detail what your couple is looking for. There are tons of different checklists and wedding photo documents floating around online. Just find one or two that encompass most of the major photos taken at a wedding and go over it with your bride and groom. Find out what family pictures they want, if they plan on doing a garter or bouquet toss, and how long they want you to stay that day. The more you can find out from them, the better you'll feel about capturing everything they're looking for. My bride created a whole list of every family photo she wanted taken so I was able to gather up all the family members and just cycle them all through before the ceremony. This helped me make sure I got every picture she wanted and also calmed her nerves as I checked off each picture as I went. Here are a couple checklists I found helpful:

4. Wear comfortable clothes! We ended up being at the venue for nearly 9 hours and most of that time was spent on our feet! I was very glad I chose the comfortable sandals and long maxi dress because my feet weren't killing me and I didn't have to worry about bending over to get a good shot. (people want to see the bride, not the photographer). Even in my comfortable clothes, by the end of the night I was exhausted!

5. Get there early! I don't know about you, but I hate being rushed. I made sure to find out the schedule of the day from my bride and got to the venue about a half hour early. This gave me time to wander around the partially set up venue, mess around with my camera settings, and get some detail shots.

6. Make friends with the DJ. Chatting with the DJ helped me get some of the pictures I wanted at the reception. He gathered everyone on the dance floor for a photo, got the family to all meet in one place after the ceremony, and helped my photo vision happen! Without him, it would have been much more difficult to herd the guests to do what I wanted!

7. Bring business cards. This is the perfect promotion for your business so you don't want to be without a way to bring in other customers. Unfortunately my business cards are a little outdated and need to be updated so I didn't have any with me, but I would definitely recommend you bringing some if you have them. I was asked a couple times, and would have left some with the DJ, wedding planner, and venue if I had some with me.

8. Visit the venue before the day of. Whether it's with your couple or by yourself, make sure to make time to walk around the venue and begin to get a few ideas before the day of. Not only will this make for better pictures, but you will be less nervous going in to the day if you have some ideas beforehand.

9. Have Fun - If this is something you love, just enjoy it! This might be a stressful, overwhelming experience, but this probably one of the happiest day of your clients lives. Be thankful for the opportunity and the experience and enjoy it!

Have you every photographed a wedding? What helped you calm your nerves and make it through the day (besides a shot before hand which I totally considered)?


  1. Awww! That is so awesome congrats on shooting your first wedding! I am glad your hubby was able to help you! ♥

  2. Those are such great wedding photographer tips! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I photographed a wedding Saturday (my post Monday talked about it)... yep, I was on my feet for over 12 hours. It's a long day.

  4. That is SO exciting!! Congrats on shooting your first wedding! I just know the pictures were gorgeous!

  5. Such great tips, and congrats on your first one! Woo hoo!

  6. Ha ha, A shot sounds like a good idea to me! Congrats on your first wedding, hopefully this is the first of many that you capture in the future.

  7. Congrats on photographing your first wedding! How exciting! I hope you will share some of the photos, I'd love to see them :) I'd love to get in to photography some day, but I guess I need to get a nice camera first. Any suggestions on a good DSLR to start with?

  8. I like this venue. I went here for a party last week. This was the first time I've been to this place and I was totally blown away.
    Houston Wedding venues

  9. Great tips! I just photographed my first wedding a month and a half ago :) Something that made me a little less nervous on their big day was to photograph them a few weeks before the wedding... with engagement photos! It made all of us a little more comfortable with some practice beforehand!