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I shot my first wedding as the hired lead photographer...here are my take-aways

crossover37crossover37 Member
edited February 2013 in wedding photography
I shot my first wedding as the hired lead photographer...here are my take-aways

- I forgot poses that I thought I would remember and even though I put the poses on my card so I can more descretely look at them, I totally forgot to look at them most of the day. That's how rushed I felt.

- The time flies...to a degree that is simply insane. I got to the bride's house at 7:30am and left the reception at 9:30pm.

- I was having inconsistent results with my ttl flash in the church because of how it meters when you focus and recompose. The bride walked in and the guys left the doors that enter the church open so I had that big bright light beaming in. I was underexposing the ambient and tried to ride my flash on top, sometimes I had images that were too bright and boarderlining clipping the highlights

- It seemed flash was annoying a lot of the people at the wedding

- When shooting the group shots at the reception, I was asked by the groom to take the pictures but I had to set up my flash with the umbrella on the stand. Feeling rushed with people all around waiting, I only set up one flash and instead of adding a fill flash with umbrella on the opposite side, I upped my ISO to 6400 to get some fill light from the ambient in the room. I had my shutter speed at 1/200 to avoid camera shake and my aperture was f5.2-f5.6. The pictures looked fine on the camera screen but we’ll see how they look on the computer. I knew I should have lowered my shutter to around 1/60-1/100 since the groups weren’t moving and the flash would have frozen them anyways and that way I could have shot at ISO 3200 or a little below. The best option I think would have been to add a second flash and have my ISO super low around 400 and get cleaner images.

- I used the 135mm f2 during the time the bridal party walked in and luckily I had my second shooter using his 35mm because the 135mm was pretty limited once they got closer to the front of the church.

- Before the reception started, I was asked to take some group shots with immediate family and I positioned them outside on a path with nice trees and feeling the light was soft and nice, I decided not to use my flash with the umbrella as a way to sweeten the light. My assistant had it ready to fire but I told him I won’t be using it. I probably should have used it because it would have helped make the image that much better.

- I forgot to take the macro "ring shot"! I was trying to remind myself to take it and practiced it at home and I completely forgot. I was and still am pretty upset with myself about that. I plan on just asking the bride and groom if I can go over and take the picture since I forgot to get it. I know the groom so it shouldn’t be a big deal but that doesn’t matter because it shouldn’t have happened….ugh!

Weddings are hard work and much respect to the photographers who shoot them. It was definitely a challenge but I learned a lot and hope my next wedding in April will be an improvement.

Comments

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    crossover37 said: It was definitely a challenge but I learned a lot and hope my next wedding in April will be an improvement.
    It will be. Everyone suffers from the first few weddings and I think you learned a couple of lessons.

    1] Church entrance, leaving the doors open flooding with backlight. Yep. That's why I shoot with 70-200 [also helps negates the too close with 135mm you used] and I position myself half to 3/4 way in, zoom in, but I have already pre-judged exposure when they are near entrance. Then adjust on the fly as they come closer if need be.

    No matter what, you will always get flare around their heads with doors open and especially if that's the way the sun is falling, until they move a far way into the church.

    2] Images 'borderline clipping highlights'. Not a problem, shot RAW I presume, just drag exposure back until *relevant* highlights are where you want them, then you can adjust background/ambient light. That's not a problem at all in my books. It's the big 'blinkies' on relevant areas you need to be concerned with.

    3] Group shots. Shutter at 200th probably slightly too high, [as you now realise] but you should be able to shoot 100/125th no problem at all. You may have been slightly better at f8.0 also, depends on how many rows people and how far back you were from them.

    4] Shots before reception, light already set up then decide not to use. Yep, if already set up, don't miss the opportunity to give a blip of flash in my books, unless pressed for time and you are not set up.

    5] Macro ring shot. It happens, you just have to try to remember. At least you are lucky and know the groom so yeah, a 'get out of jail free card' if you can shoot it later and just blend it in with other shots in order of day.

    It's a learning curve, and regardless how long you do it, you will *always* learn something new with each wedding you shoot.

    Trev

  • - I forgot poses that I thought I would remember and even though I put the poses on my card so I can more descretely look at them, I totally forgot to look at them most of the day. That's how rushed I felt.

    - The time flies...to a degree that is simply insane.

    Yep. Like I said that first one is the hardest thing for me. You need to do it on a regular basis. When people ask about what it is like to shoot a weeding I reply "you have zero time". I'm always pleased when there are multiple locations so I can have a few moments of peace when driving there.

    My respect of professional wedding photographers climbed to a new high after my first. I get a real kick when I read or hear people ask why to they charge so much, all they do is push a button all day.

    I was an instructor in my previous career. There was a total quality initiative at work and they wanted more involvement from employees so we trained volunteers to teach and run workshops. One volunteer colleague came up to me later and said I have whole new respect for your job. You have to be ready and you are on the stage. If things are not going well at your desk you just put it aside and go for a coffee or work on something else to give your brain a break. You can't just tell everyone to leave and come back in an hour when things are not going smoothly. Same goes for weddings and any other similar profession.

    Well you got through it and good for you. It is definitely an experience. Like Trev said you learn and it gets easier.
  • Thanks for your input. Great advice for sure.

    I'll repost after my second wedding and let you know how it went. I will be flying solo so we'll see how that compares.
  • Looking forward to it.
  • Crossover, thanks for your honesty. I feel for ya! I have my first wedding as the lead in April. I'm already sleeping less ;) I have the photog I use to second shoot for assisting me. Good, but I'm still getting anxious! I only was 2nd shooter a handful of times.

    Good luck to you!! I can't wait to hear more.
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