I shot my first wedding two weeks ago and it was nothing like I thought it would be.
Now don't get me wrong, I prepped for this. I watched hours and hours of youtube videos, read blog posts, practiced shooting things that would help me come the big day. I went to the rehearsal so that I could figure out where I needed to be when, and the general feel of the ceremony. But nothing can prepare you for the stress and excitement of shooting a wedding except for just that, shooting a wedding. But it was also one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done.
The whole thing was pretty low key, and only lasted about 6 hours from getting ready to send off but it felt closer to 14. Between running around corralling groomsmen, trying not to miss a single detail shoot, to capturing what seemed like hundreds of combinations of family photos I was exhausted by the end of the day.
Some things didn't go quite as planned, but from what I've heard, that's to be expected at weddings. I missed some things that I wish I hadn't. I only had about 30-45 minutes to get all of the family photos and the bridal portraits done. Unfortunately this was the part of the day that I was not only most confident in my ability to do wonderfully, but that I was most excited about. In that time frame I only got a couple shots of the bride and a couple of the bride and groom in.
But at the end of the day when I got home and sat down to look through the images from the day and start to make the first set of edits I fell in love with photography all over again. I had been panicking all day that I missed things and that I wouldn't be happy with the results but as I clicked through I realized how magical it all was. I got all the important shots, the first look, the mother's tears, the first kiss, all of it. *sigh of relief* but then past that I got so many beautiful things that I was so excited and nervous to share with the bride. I was able to capture so many lovely candids and intimate moments that the couple can now relive over and over again.
So what did I learn ? First of all, I hate family portraits. Not family sessions, no, no, I love those. Little kids make my heart swoon and the glances between parents and children or the side smirks to spouses are to die for, but family portraits, you know the boring look straight at the camera things that people want at big events like this make me want to pull my hair out. As I said before, I'm not a huge fan of posed things but trying to crank out 40 of those suckers in a limited amount of time was not fun. Once I get to the point where I can hire a second shooter you can bet your sweet bippy that they're going to be in charge of those.
Secondly, DRINK WATER. Seriously, you'll thank me later. Set a reminder on your phone or your fitbit or something but make sure you are staying hydrated. You'll get distracted, you'll think you're okay but don't fool yourself. DRINK DRINK DRINK.
Finally, I learned that there is a good reason that wedding photography is so expensive. I respect low budget weddings. You save and bargain wherever you can, DIY the crap out of decorations, have it in your backyard, feed everyone Ramen Noodles, but my advice to you? Don't skimp on the photographer. You're paying them to preserve what is supposed to be the happiest day of your lives. SOO much more goes into it than just showing up and pressing a button. A lot of people don't understand the hours of practice and editing and learning that goes into photography as a whole (don't worry, I'll have a future blog post about that too!) Figure out what fits in your budget and find the best photographer that fits your style for that price.