A couple of weekends ago, my cousin got married, and he asked me to take his wedding photos. I had tried to dissuade him, since I’m not a professional photographer, and I rarely photograph people, but he insisted.
Of course, after that conversation, there were a few months of panic where I checked out every book I could find from the library about wedding photography. And even though I found amazing books with great tips, I still was not prepared. I have been to many weddings, and I’ve been in many weddings, but photographing it is a completely different experience.
The speed of a wedding was something I definitely didn’t expect. During the morning, I was taking “getting ready” shots, and the day was moving at a leisurely pace. Once the bride was in her dress, the rest of the day just flew by. In my head, I was going to take all sorts of arty shots while people weren’t paying any attention to me. In reality, I would be working on taking a shot, and the second I was finished, I was called away to take a shot of someone else. It was so fast-paced, that I actually forgot everything that I had read in the library books. It wasn’t until another woman, who was taking photos as well and had photographed other weddings (I think she was the bride’s aunt) started helping me out and posing people, that I remembered a lot of the things that I had read. I was super grateful for her help! The only downside was that when I started going through the photos afterwards, the subjects were confused as to where to look. Oops! It turned out ok, since I had at least one photo of everyone looking in the right direction and having their eyes open. Score!
I also found out how important equipment is. I own a Canon Rebel XSI. It’s a good camera for what I usually use it for. For a wedding, it’s not fast enough, nor does it handle low-lighting very well. I thought I would be ok, since the wedding was outside, but it was a foggy day, and I had to crank my ISO up to 1600. Luckily, the photos did not turn out as grainy as I had expected them to be.
During an entire week in Jamaica, I had been just fine with one battery and two memory cards. I had thought about purchasing more memory cards or an extra battery, but since I’m considering getting a different camera, and mine is pretty old now, I didn’t know if the new stuff would be compatible. Luckily, I made it through, but I was surprised when it was 1:30pm, the wedding hadn’t even started yet, and my battery charge was down halfway! Right before the ceremony, I had switched to my faster memory card, and it was full shortly after the ceremony ended! So for anyone out there thinking about becoming a wedding photographer, you really do need extra batteries and memory cards. You will burn through them quickly!
As for me, I think this has concluded my short career in wedding photography. Maybe in the future, if I get some different equipment, and I’m not the main photographer, I will try it again, but at this point in time, I’m ok with sticking to photos of nature.