I shot my first wedding on April 9th, now about 10 days ago. I went into it pretty unprepared as a wedding photographer, mainly because it was my first, and also since the bride and groom liked my style of photography versus traditional wedding photography. The groom is also my Uncle, so that made it a little bit easier, the photographs being their wedding gift. There were very few actual shots that he wanted specifically, more of a documentation of the day. All that was required was the church and the reception, none of the preparation.
Of the shots that he was specific about, they are your regular run of the mill wedding shots:
- Bride getting out of the limousine
- Both wedding parties separate
- Both parties together
- Family shot (two families coming together)
- Shot of them coming down the aisle
These are shots that I also would have taken without direction, since they are really all part of documenting the day. I would say in this way, there isn’t too much difference between wedding photography, and photojournalism.
The wedding took place in a small church, maybe at capacity holding 100 people. Everything for me was limited, but for the most part I was able to stay out of the way…and off the furniture! We made it there plenty early. Early enough so that I was able to get some nice shots of the church, inside and out, before anyone else arrived. Downside was it was a pretty overcast day; lighting was tricky at best, changing every few seconds at worst. I try to shoot fully manual all the time, but somewhere deep inside of me wanted to put the thing into auto mode. I resisted.
Before the reception, we did the family and party shots. The bride and groom picked the location. Not a bad spot beside the reception hall, overlooking a nice flowing creek. The hard part was posing. I’m not a wedding photographer. I’m not a portrait photographer either. In fact, in all the shots I’ve taken (other than of my nephews) I’ve only ever ONCE asked someone to pose for a shot. I don’t like to have people pose, it makes the scene…unrealistic. At least in my mind, based on what and how I shoot. What made it that much more difficult was a children’s play set in the park behind the location. Bright colours that made it stand out against the overcast day. Trying to strategically place people to block it was a little tough!
The reception went well. I got some good ‘regular’ shots of the tables, the food, guests milling around, dancing, and speeches. You know, the usual. What surprised me were the compliments of how well I stayed out of the way. I thought for the most part that I was in the way. I also kept getting asked for my business card. Good thing we rushed out that morning and had some printed up by the reception!
In addition to the ‘regular’ shots, I was still able to throw a bit of my style into it. Some high angle and low angle action shots. Shots through crowds of interesting moments. Getting into weird places to shoot from: like on the floor, on my back, with a group of people dancing in a circle around me. For me, these are the shots I like, right in the middle of the action as its happening. I guess that’s what happens when your first ‘public’ gig is as a citizen blogger for a major news organization…for the G20. You do learn to move pretty fast, and as inconspicuously as possible.
Will I ever become a wedding photographer? I’m not sure. It was a fun day, filled with many interesting moments, and some people I haven’t seen in a while. I think because I was more relaxed, with it being family, and NOT a paid professional gig (the photos are a gift) it was a little bit easier for me, and not really what it is like being a wedding photographer. For that reason, I would likely say no, I’m not going to switch over to wedding photography. However, if the situation arises where they like MY photography, and would like to have their wedding shot that way (with minor changes and some traditional shots), I think I would easily say yes.
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