Before Your First Wedding
I remember the first wedding I photographed. Luckily, I was second-shooting so the pressure wasn’t as heavy. BUT STILL. I was so nervous! I knew how special of a day it was. I knew how important the photography part of any wedding was, and like anything you try for the first time, you want to do it well.
First things first, let me be the realest with you.
1) If you’re an aspiring wedding photographer but you don’t know where to start, contact other established photogs and see if they will let you “shadow” a wedding, or they may even let you second-shoot and PAY you. Second-shooting at your first go-around in this industry is a MUST. There’s less pressure, less responsibility, and more freedom in being a second-shooter. I still second-shoot occasionally!
2) Join some photography Facebook groups, follow artists on Instagram, join second-shooter groups, check out forums, and connect with those that are already out there shooting!
3) I would strongly advise you not to solo-photograph your first wedding (even family) without any prior second-shooting experience. You may think you know what to capture, what to say, but when you start looking at the back of your screen and the images aren’t turning out like you want, you’re going to freak out in front of the bride & groom. FYI, they have enough to stress over that day and you don’t want to be on their list of “never again” (whether you agreed to do it pro-bono or not).
Back to my spiel...
I was in photography school and one of my classmates asked me to second-shoot his friend’s wedding. I wasn’t expecting anything in return except practice, but my friend ended up paying me half of what they paid him! This was $75, by the way. Sure, that’s a small amount but you have to start somewhere! I was pretty proud of that $75. I was also pretty encouraged when my photog friend said, “They liked your images more than they did mine!”
The point is: I walked away from that wedding feeling very discouraged, and unconfident. I had been so nervous that I felt like it had affected my performance.
Don’t psyche yourself out! You are more talented than you realize. I’m sharing these photos with you – not because I think they’re contest winners, by any means – but because I want to be transparent, and prove to you that your craft really will improve over time. You just have to stick to it.
Is there something in particular you struggle with when you're photographing a wedding? Time management? Maybe you struggle with posing. Maybe you struggle with finding great light. Feel free to comment below and let's navigate this difficult, but rewarding industry together!