Things I’ve learned from shooting a wedding

I have filmed around 10 weddings and photographed a small one but this time it was different, this time we had to photograph the entire day, from 9:30 to 21:30. Thankfully I wasn’t alone, photographing together with Cindy under the name of “Bruidskruimels“. Photographing a wedding is way different than filming. With video you have your composition and record the moment frame by frame, barely missing anything. With photography it’s constantly anticipating moments and trying to not miss anything. You’re shooting outside a lot so the light changes like every minute so you have to watch your exposure carefully. I have learned a lot and I have made a list of things I ran into during the day (or thought would be useful tips):

  • If you can’t expose perfectly all the time (because weather changes etc.) then try to under-expose. You will thank yourself later when editing because it’s a lot easier to fix than blown out highlights. (And this is a no-brainer and should already be doing this if you’re photographing a wedding but please shoot in RAW).
  • Shoot more than you think you need. It’s digital and moments happen so quickly so you don’t have time to check your LCD-screen all the time. I don’t mean to just spray and pray the entire day (ha that rhymes), but burst mode can help to avoid having people blink on your portraits etc.
  • Charge your batteries and empty your cards before the wedding day and carry one extra on you at all times. At this wedding I left my stuff in the car a kilometer away from the venue so I had to run back because I forgot an extra CF-card. No fun when it’s 34 degrees outside.
  • If you’re shooting outside in the middle of the day and the sun is shining then try to shoot your portraits in the shadow (trees, clouds etc.). Shooting in the sun increases the chance of creating harsh ugly shadows on your subjects faces and the shadow functions as a natural softbox creating soft lighting which will always look beautiful. If there’s no other way and you have to shoot in the sun then try to position your subjects with their backs towards the sun.
  • Of course the bride and groom are the centre of the entire day, but don’t forget about the parents, guests, children etc. The moment they’ll be looking in awe at the bride in her dress, the kids playing, their parents crying. These are all beautiful moments which the bride and groom are probably missing so they’ll love to see it on the photos.
  • Close-ups! Details! Don’t forget the details. Flowers, signs with their names on it, custom menus, balloons, other decoration, drinks, the rings, shoes and all other small and weird stuff.
  • There will probably be a videographer, also doing his/her best to get the best shots. Communicate about where you will be standing during important moments so you will not be ruining each others shots. It will definitely make the day a lot less stressful for everyone.
  • Print out everyones contact information, addresses and program so when you get lost you can easily check where you have to go.
  • Do not photograph people when they’re eating, there’s nothing more unflattering than someone taking a giant bite of a sandwich, food flying around, sauce dripping everywhere. Not their best look.
  • Same goes for people kissing each other on the cheek when congratulating.
  • Be a fly on the wall, don’t block peoples view (if you have to, do it quickly) and try not to draw much attention to yourself.
  • Non-photography related but fill up the gas tank of your car. Couples getting married have spent a lot of time strictly planning everything and they can’t be waiting for you because you need to find a gas station.

Shooting a wedding is a challenge. I’m used to being in control of lighting and directing everything but with weddings that’s all gone. Every moment goes by fast and you have to be able to see it coming to capture it the best way possible. But when you do and you come home to memory cards full of beautiful memories (Haha) it really is satisfying. Our bride and groom both were very nice people so that also helped a lot.

Here are some of the photos: