A Nerve Racking Day Taking Wedding Photo's

hobbs Plus
16 1.3k Japan
20 Feb 2006 1:14PM
I thought I'd write this as I've noticed a lot of people mentioning that they have been asked to do wedding shots for there friends or friends of friends.

I was asked by my friends 12 months ago if I would take the photographs for there wedding, they weren't trying to save money by asking me. Having seen some of my wildlife shots (I'm quite selective over what shots I show my friends :o)) ) they thought I would make a really good job of them. Initially I felt flattered and pressured into doing them, but after having some time to think about it I realised that having not done something like this before it was more important to ensure that they got someone who had experience of doing wedding photography.

After a couple of weeks chatting to them they finally came to the same conclusion as myself. As I explained to them wedding photographs are something that can only be done once and it was important to make sure they got someone who had experience. They started hunting for a pro but said that they would still like me to take some reportage shots for them of the day. I agreed to this as long as the pro was fully informed of what I was doing thinking I was getting the easy side of the deal.

Well the wedding was this weekend just gone and I've got to say I'm so glad I'd managed to convince them of the merits of having a pro. I arrived at the location on Friday afternoon, a fort over looking Whitsand Bay. Having spent the night before checking and cleaning all my gear. The first thing that hit me was how dark the fort was inside. It had been built for firing canons so all the windows were old gun emplacements, meaning they were quite small and didn't let much light in. The main room had several archways going across the room cutting the light down even more. At this point I thought what the h*ll have I let myself in for.

Well the first thing I did was to get my camera out and see what sort of camera readings I could get with the two main lenses I had with me. (24-70 f/2.8 & 70-200 f/2.8) This is were the panic kicked in the best I could get was f/5.6, iso 800 @1/125 of a sec with a flash gun on the camera and this was next to a window. once I managed to start thinking straight again I decided that I needed to think about were I was going to take photographs from.

Luckily they had arranged for a marquee in the grounds so that the rooms function could be changed after the ceremony. I realised that this meant that the majority of the reportage shots could be taken at this point as light wouldn't be an issue. :o)

I've got to say the day of the wedding was the most nervous I've been in a long time and I wasn't even getting married. I found it very difficult experience at first but once I started to get into the flow of it things became more natural and the shots rattled off. The best thing I found from the day was actually watching the pro at work and I would recommend to anyone considering doing photography for a wedding who hasn't before to watch the pro at the next wedding they goto. I learnt a lot more over the day by seeing the situations were they didn't even try and take photos than when they did.

Now I'm home and have done a initial preview of the shots I've seen lots of areas were I can improve. It's also confirmed what my initial thought was when I was asked to be the photographer for the wedding. I didn't have the experience to be able to do justice to the couples day and thats the key thing. It's not about having the confidence to take the task on, it's about having the confidence to say no and realise your own abilities.

Would I do a wedding in future if asked? The answer to this is yes and no, I wouldn't as the main photographer until I'd had enough experience and developed my skills in this area quite a bit further. In other words I wouldn't in the next year but give it 12 months and I'll reassess my ability.

Please note this is only my experience of the day and not everyone would feel the same way as me, but I thought I'd share it with everyone in case anyone got any benefit from it.

Did I enjoy it? yes I did, got to say I even found it quite addictive. I ended up spending about 8 hrs taking photos, in the end I had to force myself to put the camera away. :o)
UserRemoved 16 6.2k 1
20 Feb 2006 4:06PM
Many thanks for that - reappraising the request to photo my brother's wedding! Smile

And the pics for the MoS when in Oz........ and the photoshoot for The Woodland Trust! Sad
Snapper_T 16 867 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2006 11:36PM
Good points there hobbs! I was asked to shoot my friends wedding last year and declined for the same reasons, but said that I'll take some candids of the day.

Alot of friends etc may see your work and think its really good, but maybe don't appreciate the amount of work involved let alone experience.

As hobbss says, watching or assisting a pro gives you a hell of an insight.

KatieR 16 6.2k 6
21 Feb 2006 12:10AM
Interesting and informative account, Nick.
Well done to you for having the sense to acknowledge your limits - and how great to have been able to enjoy what you did do, despite the nerves.
Good for you, my friend!
hobbs Plus
16 1.3k Japan
21 Feb 2006 12:13AM
Mark I would look at the other stuff you've been asked to do differently to a wedding. If I was asked to do a shoot for something other than a wedding then I would be more prepared to do it. Not that it's any easier, you just don't have as much pressure.

I recently shot a softball tournament for some friends and they were very happy with the results I produced for them. I mainly did it for the experience and enjoyed it greatly. But the situation was different and peoples expectations were not as high.
hobbs Plus
16 1.3k Japan
21 Feb 2006 12:15AM
Thanks Katie, just need to see if the couple like the shots I've taken. I've got a lot of processing work to do. :o)
UserRemoved 16 6.2k 1
21 Feb 2006 12:15AM
Thanks, Nicholas - kind of committed to the other two anyway!

But will certainly be taking a long hard look at the wedding - few months off yet, anyway!
CatherineD 15 25 United Kingdom
21 Feb 2006 3:27AM
Hmmmmmn.... The first wedding I ever did was for friends and I found it to be one of the most rewarding photo expeiences Ive ever done.

I think I just like working under pressure lol.

Definitely need to think about it before you take a job on tho. Its not as easy as it may look and if things go wrong, a bride isnt the easiest person to explain it to Grin Infact brides can be down right nasty lol.
waaaaam 15 32
22 Feb 2006 1:42PM
I have been lucky enough to get a job as a part-time photographer along with my studies at college. Although only having done a few so far I enjoy it immensely, I was nerous at the start but soon realise I should just get on with it, and nerves ebb away.
I only really do the candids during the day but its what I find most fun, spotting likely characters and predicting what might happen next.
Talking about it makes me want to do more! And of course the fact that I, being a student, am skint.

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