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:
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