Shooting My First Wedding(s)
Written 6 years ago by Mark Evans
As any half decent photographer will find, there always arises in ones photographic lifetime, the opportunity to shoot a wedding. Be it a relative or close friends, its still a tough decision to make. Lets face it, you’re the man (or woman), all the pressure is on you to produce some stunning pictures of the gushing bride and groom, and if you screw it up… well it doesnt bear thinking about.
So it came to be that I was charged to be the photographer at not one but two weddings back home in New Zealand. My sister had asked me to be the photographer at her wedding a few months back, to which I had no doubt I would say yes, as it would be a great opportunity to test my skills as a photographer and possibly gain some more in the process. Then I was surprised to be asked by a good friend of mine if I wanted to be the photographer at her wedding, which was also coincidentally in Christchurch where my sister was getting hitched; no brainer really, why do one when you can do two!
My first port of call after finding out I was shooting two weddings was the trusty Practical Photography mag. I managed to dig out an old back issue that was choc full of wedding tips, which I browsed through most days to keep a few tips fresh in my mind; “Make a shot list”, “Do a trial run before the wedding”, “Practice on friends”, yadi yada. A few of these did come in handy like the trial run and scoping out your shots the day before, and others like the shot list, I totally forgot about and probably should have done as I did forget to take some minor shots my sister wanted of the table settings, oops!
The first wedding was my friends wedding, which by the turn of the weather was held inside at the last minute – A bit of a nuisance, as I had to shoot at ISO 3200 on my 5D while inside (and using a flash) because of the low light conditions. And it didnt help that my 28-135mm lens I was shooting on, only opened up to f/5.6 when it was at 135mm zoom. This was definitely a lesson learned – use faster lenses for inside/low light. Anyway it came the time where my friend Kim was pulling up outside the venue in the wedding car, and I’d have to say that after all the preparation, and trials and reading up, its still didnt calm my nerves at all. My heart felt like it would leap out of my chest as she walked inside with her father at her arm, and at one time I had to tell myself to chill out! As the wedding went on I felt more comfortable so the group shots and bride & groom shots seemed to be a breeze. (I scoped out and planned the shots the day before which definitely helped)
The second wedding was a different kettle of fish all together. It was an outdoor, in the garden type wedding with groomsmen and bridesmaids (my friends wedding was just bride and groom), and I didnt want to have to suffer again if it had to be held inside in low light so I hired a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens and a Canon 30d body to give me a better zoom range and better capabilities in low light. (I hooked the 70-200 up to my 5D and put my 28-135mm on the 30d with a 130ex flash on it as well) Apart from looking a bit like a gimp with all the camera gear, the combination actually worked really well, and I was a bit more at ease having already shot a wedding, so the day went really smoothly including some nice shots down at the beach with the wedding party.
After looking at my shots for the second wedding I was really impressed with 70-200 lens; compared to my lens it was sharper, the colours were better and the bokeh was awesome! So i’m really hanging out for one of those lenses now, and seriously considering taking up wedding photography. The only thing I did struggle with was telling people what to do in the photos, but I guess that will get easier with time. Now all I have to do is sort through all those photos…