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  1. Rooster

    Rooster

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    John
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    Had my first wedding on Saturday. I'm strictly an amateur but a work colleague was asked to shoot it and asked to borrow some lenses and it ended up with me doing the shooting with him as second shooter.

    Anyways, the shoot was just for the three hours before, during and after the ceremony, which was a civil ceremony in a rather grand hotel. That was one of the most stressful three hour periods of my life and no mistake. I learned a number of things for future shoots, major and minor, thusly:

    1) Don't wear a jacket. I was literally dripping with sweat, so harassed and overheated as I was. Is it acceptable to wear just shirt and tie, maybe putting the jacket on for the ceremony itself? I would like to get away with cool, comfortable clothing but I don't think that would be welcome at most weddings.

    2) Take your time with the formal shots. Take as many shots as necessary. Take the time to check your screen and see that all is in focus and no-one is blinking. You can get away with a lot in the candid shots, no-one expects perfection there, but you must get the formal shots right. I read somewhwere that many pros specify four minutes per shot, which sounds about right. In future I intend to take some safe shots with one camera on a tripod and pre-focused and then take some more at different angles and distances using a 50mm f/1.8 on a cropped body for some variation and very shallow dof.

    3) Work with a second shooter whenever possible. While I was taking the main shots, my friend Mark was getting loads of lovely informal shots of the guests watching and kiddies running around in their best clothes, the bridesmaids looking pretty etc. I would never have got any of that.

    4) Learn how to pose people. Luckily I had looked up wedding poses and got some of the basics into my head. Most people just waddled up and stood there directly on to camera, looking like the cast of Fraggle Rock. Get them to angle their body, conceal hands (hands look weird and distracting in photos), weight on the back foot etc. Take the time to pose them properly and it makes so much difference.

    5) Learn how to talk to twenty half-drunk blokes who are messing about and some don't really want to be photographed!

    6) Cultivate a persona - I am naturally quiet but since no-one there knew me but Mark, I put on an outgoing persona. instead of saying "smile!" I shouted "ok, happy, happy, happy!" when taking the shot. The cry was soon taken up.

    7) Use an unclutterd background if possible for the formals. I had a grand staircase for the background and it's a bit distracting but not too bad with shallow depth of field blurring it.

    8) Try to use two locations if that's not too much trouble. However, having got the lighting right for the grand hall we were in I was reluctant to start over again in another location, time was limited.

    9) Visit the location in the days before the wedding. Get some good exterior shots in the bag in ideal conditions. Visit the church/room where the ceremony is to take place, take some test shots, establish if flash is allowed.

    Anyway, those are my major lessons. I'm going on a wedding photography course soon. What did you learn from your first time?
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  2. Iris

    Iris

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    Jen
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    I learnt that you need to take control - don't apologise for getting under Uncle Bob's feet, ask him (politely) if he can just move back until you are finished.
  3. towershot

    towershot Points percy at the pedestal

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    Rick.
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    Did mine for a niece that could not afford a tog.
    Lesson learnt.....................Never Ever again..........:eek::LOL:
  4. jpw

    jpw

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    Of course, a shirt & tie is fine, I used to have a jacket as well but it just got in the way and was something else to carry.

    Main thing for my first one was be aware of your backgrounds, and not just for formals - there's nothing like that feeling of 'why didn't I notice that?!' when you're going through the images on the computer the following day :bonk: Generally, just be aware of details that you could easily overlook, but could spoil an otherwise great photo. I had great fun in PP trying to sort out a groom's pocket flap that was half in and half out for most of the formals & portraits... lots of extra work that could (and should) have never been a problem :banghead:
  5. Vixen

    Vixen

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    I learnt that controlling a big group is definately not easy. Everyone just wanted to go to the bar. and once I had them all where I wanted them I turned to go back to my shooting spot and when I turned around the naughty people had moved!
    Also I was surprised at how nervous I felt during the actual ceremony even when I had felt extremely calm up until that point!
  6. Russ77

    Russ77

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    Russ
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    +1!!!!!
  7. markmullen

    markmullen

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    Mark
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    I posted this a couple of weeks ago;

  8. Little John

    Little John

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    The never agian was my reaction as well the family were least co operative as they knew me so messed about all the time. I have since done another where the bride and groom and the rest of the family appreciated what I was doing and were far easier to work with and I actually enjoyed it and it showed in the photos.

    I am never going to sell myself as a wedding photographer but I know I can produce somthing that can be classed as wedding photography and not just snaps.
  9. Daryl

    Daryl

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    Daryl
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    That's called reportage :LOL:
  10. Little John

    Little John

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    LOL, I have done another today and considering the bride hated having her photo taken and the groom didn't care about photos it went very well and I think it was more of an act about not having photos as once we got started they were very willing as long as they could stop for a smoke every few minutes, and they wanted more and more shots taking even let me play with a few different ideas for a bit of fun. This was a freinds inlaws so no personal connection which really helped. Even given the challenge of getting a shot of a young child smileing which was easily achieved throwing beer mats like frisbys and she brought them back (fetch) laughing away.
  11. Hooky

    Hooky

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    Alan
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    "Your first wedding shoot - what did you learn?"

    Remember to pee......
  12. Rooster

    Rooster

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    John
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    One thing I learned is that you can't rely on your technology. My cheapo Yongnuo flash triggers inexplicably failed to work, I had autofocusing problems with my 24-70 L and had to go manual until it decided to work again. Always have alternatives handy. It's easy to get flustered when stuff goes wrong and everyone is gazing at you expectantly.
  13. paul_g

    paul_g

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    Paul
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    4 minutes per group shot? I typically take 12-15. No way that can take an hour, thats often the total time for all the photos. 20 mins tops for the groups. I shoot them at f8 & take about 10 of each in a few seconds. One will be fine.
    The tie got ditched years ago. with a black rapid double harness & 2 cameras always attached to me I don't look like a guest & see no need to dress like one

    What I completely forgot on my first wedding was to drink plenty of water. Damn near passed out at one point
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  14. specialman

    specialman

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    Pat MacInnes
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    I can barely remember my first, but the enduring memory of the bad bits was not thinking enough about where shadows were going to occur when i set up posed shots. And like the OP, it was sweltering so a suit jacket made me feel really uncomfortable.

    That was all shot on film that I had to scan in on a flatbed - thank God for digital
  15. buckas

    buckas Mister Forum Regular

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    Drew
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    Loved my first, its a very busy day but looking back on the pics is all worth it!
  16. Tugster

    Tugster

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    Tug
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    Take your time and prepare, prepare and then do some more preparation. If you do this successfully your confidence will be high on the day.

    Being dressed comfortably yourself reduces your own stress. I always make it clear at the pre wedding brief that I will be wearing tidy comfortable attire.(Not a three piece suit)

    Don't promise what you cannot deliver, this will also reduce the pressure that you place on yourself.

    After the wedding be critical on your own performance ...Learn from what didn't go well, but also remember the things that went well and use them the next time.

    Taking charge of people comes quite easy to me, (Ex Military) but I always explain to the Bride and Groom that on the day, I am there for them, to get the shots they have told me they want. This takes up a lot of time if people are messing about, so it is important that I control the group shots. Even more so if the weather is looking dodgey.

    Last Friday I had a wedding and the weather was looking seriously daunting, however, we managed to get the group shots done quite quickly. I indicated to the B&G that it may be better to get the larger group shots out of the way first, they agreed. That way the majority of people could go back into the venue and get some refreshments. This could have backfired if the rain started and the bridal group got wet.I had already asked the venue that if the weather soured, could we use an area to do a studio shoot. I had my studio lights and backgrounds in the van just incase.

    Prepare for a wet weather routine,this could really upset the day if the weather is against you.

    Finally, enjoy it ! If you do, the day will go faster and much smoother than if you were uptight and under pressure.
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  17. Irritable_Rabbit

    Irritable_Rabbit

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    My first wedding shoot. :)

    I learned that the bride's mother fancied me and spent most of the day checking my bum out.

    I also learned that I was too busy to take advantage of the attention. Professional see! :bonk:
  18. john_e

    john_e

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    1. Don't leave your bottle of water at home.

    2. Even in only a shirt & tie you get very warm, very fast.

    3. Make sure you change the batteries in your flash before the first dance, regardless of whether you think there's plenty of charge in them. Waiting for it to recycle knowing you've only get 3 minutes doesn't help the stress levels.

    4. After 10 hours of shooting you're likely to be in a world of pain the next day.
  19. Sausages

    Sausages

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    Damian
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    Make sure you have plenty of space incase you need to step back for the group shot. I slipped down a grass bank out side the church and and put my 24-70 through my top lip as I landed doh
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose

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    should of given her a business card and told her to call when you were less busy ;)
  21. salsa-king

    salsa-king

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    Phil
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    lol

    was it that bad?
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose

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    Pete
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    My first solo wedding (many moons ago) I learnt that when the guy you are second shooting with tells you - "just pop along to the church and do the groom and best man shots, i'll do the bridal prep and be with you in plenty of time for the serious stuff" - its not a good idea to take him at his word.

    He had car problems and I wound up shooting arival of the bride, the whole ceremony, the group shots, the bouquet throwing, the bridal walk and the early part of the reception on my own (nervous ?, I nearly pooed myself) before he finally arrived in time to take over for the first dance.

    Moral of the story - make sure the second shooter has a copy of the shot list and any other sailent info - I did get everything but making it up on the fly is not the most stress free approach
  23. markmullen

    markmullen

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    Ouch.
  24. PDub

    PDub

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    Philip
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    My lessons.

    Pack food and water somewhere.

    Befriend the best men. They can help massively for formals.

    Do your homework, family, the couple, the venue, the timings etc..

    Buy more memory cards and batteries than you think you'll need.

    Dont bother wearing a tie. Smart shirt and trousers. Ties get in the way and you're not part of the wedding.

    Take control with a smile on your face, look interested and flirt.

    Comfy shoes.

    Have a backup of equipment.

    Make sure you got fuel in the car.
  25. dan_yorkshire

    dan_yorkshire

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    Dan
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    Nice to see a wedding thread which hasnt taken its usual route.

    18months ago I gave myself 5 years to be at a stage where I wanted to photograph weddings/portrait shoots etc. I am in no rush and fairly happy in my full time job so no pressure really.

    Last year however a workmate got dropped in it when 'a mate with a camera' chickened out days before so me, 'other mate with a camera' was asked. I couldnt really lose and saw it as a great chance to see where I'd got. I managed to borrow a second camera and backup lenses just in case.

    1) You cant be too early. Some of the best, most natural shots I got were when waiting about at different venues. Can also use the time to check over everything.

    2) Get friendly with as many people as possible. I only knew my workmate but in the few days I had spoke to the priest and then at the rehearshal got to know his wife/best man and other immediate family by first name. That helped massively over the day.

    3) Google Earth is your friend. It not only helps your find houses/venues/churches before you visit them but you might find a bonus like I did..... spotted a national trust venue near their venue (they didnt even know it existed). One call to owners and I used it for formals of bride and groom.

    4) Backup ov everything is a fairly obvious thing but it was reassuring knowing if anything failed I had more cameras/lenses in my bag or car.

    5) Food and drink are essential. Was handy to be able to stuff an energy bar down your mouth when you had 5mins. Nothing worse than being hungry and having canapes wafted under your nose.

    6) Dont be shy in asking strangers to 'just stand there for two seconds' whilst you make sure settings are correct in camera. I did this before arrival of bride/groom for wedding breakfast.

    Overall I absolutely loved it, I was happy with the job I did and it was so rewarding getting good feedback. Not getting carried away tho, lots more experience, practice.... and saving for new gear before I would want to committ to anymore just yet.

    Dan

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