Wedding Photo Lessons Learned

Last Friday I had the opportunity to do something fun and new for me photographically speaking. A friend and fellow non-pro photographer was going to be photographing a friend’s very small wedding and wanted to know if I would help. While I had (and still have) zippo interest in wedding photography as a career path, I thought it sounded like a really fun experience.

Turns out it was a lot of fun, despite some stressful moments! I learned some lessons along the way though…

Lesson #1 – SpeedLights are awesome!

We knew the lighting was going to be challenging for our bottom of the line DSLR’s, so we rented a couple of Speedlights. Let me tell you… I’ve always, always been anti-flash but I think perhaps a big part of that is that the on-camera flashes stink and are annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much into natural light photography but a Speedlight would make my in home, night time picture taking a joy instead of an annoyance. Look at this test picture I took the night before the wedding…

That amazing little contraption made my living room look like it has the most amazing lighting and it most certainly does not! Wow! I want a Speedlight now. Too bad the model I was using (600) retails for about $300. Ouch.

Lesson #2 – Make sure your battery is in the camera

This was a big “whoops” moment. I had the brains to make sure my battery was fully charged for the wedding, but did not have the brains to then put the fully charged battery back into my camera. Doh! It wasn’t until I had driven 25 minutes away from home that I discovered I did not have my battery.

Lesson #3 – My husband is awesome

I called Nick and told him the stupid thing I had done and before he even hung up I could hear himtelling the boys they needed to get in the car. They met me half-way and said they were all superheros for bringing me the flash. Absolutely! Superheros is an excellent description.

Lesson #4 – Speedlights behave very differently in little stone churches

While the Speedlight was super fun and awesome in my own house, it was a totally different animal in the church. There was just too much space for that light to bounce around in and my friend and I both ended up completely frustrated by the whole experience. I finally gave up on the flash inside the church and dialed my ISO to 800 and just tried to hold as still as possible.

At one point during the ceremony I even went to ISO 1600 just in hopes of capturing a few moments but the result (as I knew it would be) was just a grainy mess. *sigh* At that moment I found myself wishing for the Nikon D7000. The Speedlight did come in handy again during the reception though, so that rental wasn’t a total bust.

Lesson #5 – I love capturing the little details

While I found the ceremony to be stressful to capture, I absolutely loved capturing the little details leading up to the ceremony…

The reception proved to be fun too when it came to taking pictures of the bride with her close friends. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot while capturing those images!

Lesson #6 – The smiles you get before the ceremony are very different than the smiles after

We tried to take as many “posed” shots before the ceremony as we could. You know, pictures with various family groupings and such. There is a visible difference in the smiles on the bride and groom’s faces before the ceremony versus those after. I had forgotten how brutal those pre-ceremony jitters can be and it was rather fun to relive them!

I did get this shot of the bride just before the ceremony was about to start, and I love it.

And while this next shot was a recreation of them actually exiting the church post-ceremony, you can see the natural, joyful smiles on these two!

Lesson #7 – It’s hard to take pictures at a reception without feeling like you’re annoying people

There really isn’t any explanation needed on this one. Ha!

Lesson #8 – This kind of photography is too stressful for me

Weddings are too much stress I think. I hated the feeling during the ceremony of possibly missing or messing up shots, because there is no do-over with those moments. I just don’t think I could handle that on a regular basis and major props to you pro’s out there who do handle it and handle it beautifully!

I will say this though – being at that wedding last week made me that much more excited for Laura’s wedding in about 6 weeks! Today I get to go to her first wedding dress fitting and I cannot wait. Any bets on whether or not I cry when I see her in it?

Speaking of more wedding stuff, a very happy anniversary to my mom and dad! Thank you for being such a great example to us!

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  • Achelle

    Great feedback on your experience as a “wedding photographer”. I know that I can’t do something like that at all…way too stressful and definitely kudos to those that are in this line of business!ReplyCancel

  • I love my Speedlight! Good job on your first wedding.ReplyCancel

    • Sarah, I had never even heard of a Speedlight until I read about yours on your blog… I can see why you love yours so much!ReplyCancel

  • Alicenne

    I love those pictures, especially the flower one! So cute! I also really like how the pictures aren’t “stiff” or “boring”….you totally captured the fun!ReplyCancel