I was asked by close friends to be the main photographer at their wedding last November. Although I’ve been developing my photography for over 10 years now I can’t say weddings or social events photography was ever my thing. Nevertheless I do enjoy challenges and pushing my comfort zone, but someone’s wedding isn’t always the ideal occasion to be trying out something completely new!
The only reason I agreed was because I knew the couple well and they didn’t have exacting and demanding expectations, they were just keen to have some half decent photos from their special day by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Having said that I would have to say I’ve gained (even more) respect for full-time wedding photographers. How they can capture seemingly every single important moment, while right in the middle of the action and deliver outstanding photographs is quite beyond me, and I was only shooting with a simple 2 camera setup and some wireless flashes on a stand with a reflector! I constantly felt like I was missing important moments, with people getting in the way or two things happening at once, never knowing what’s coming next or where the couple might be going.
It was all quite hectic and stressful and well away from my acquired ‘style’ (if I can call it that) of photography. I don’t even know the first thing about getting people to model or pose! Normally I prefer to take things very slowly, walk around, see what’s what and observe a bit before lifting the camera up. I would say I take an average of about one photo a minute (unless it’s wildlife I’m shooting), normally trying to form the image I’m planning to take in my head before I put it to the camera. I personally need that time to really see the shapes, textures, colours etc that I want to show in my pictures and admittedly struggle to feel pleased about my images if they’ve been rushed.
Bearing all that in mind there is a positive side to being in a rushed hectic environment like a wedding. One simply doesn’t have time to adjust everything perfectly or to walk around, chasing an interesting viewpoint. Those luxuries are taken away and one must simply pick 2 or 3 settings that will generally work, try and get a half decent position and then simply react and try to capture some good moments. Yes, some skills take a back step, but others come forward and allow a slightly different form of expressing one’s vision.
Would I say this is the best set of photos I’ve taken – definitely not! Am I pleased with at least some of them – definitely yes! Does any of that matter in wedding photos – not really! The most important thing is that as far as I can tell the newly wedded couple are very happy with the photo book I put together for them and so is everyone else, so job done!
I will not be quitting my day job any time soon though! Wedding photographers worldwide – respect! and good luck!