Hey wedding photographer! Booked your first wedding? How stinking exciting. I remember all the jitters, and nervous butterflies I had in my stomach the night before my first wedding. I remember sitting in my bed, reviewing how to shoot on manual, because I was so scared I might blank. I wrote a prompt and shot list that was about 15 pages long. Why? Because the idea of capturing the best day of someone’s life is EXHILIRATING. And terrifying. So you’ve booked your first wedding? Here are five things that you need to make sure you have to help the day run smoothly.
Hi! I’m Ruthie. I’m a full time wedding photographer based in Omaha, NE. I went from booking $15 senior photoshoots to making a steady income from my business. Once I realized how to advertise my business, I went from booking 10 weddings in a year, to booking 40 the next year, and am passionate about mentoring photographers who want to turn their hobby into a full-time job. Send me an inquiry to receive more info on my digital mentoring.
We’ve all heard those stories of brides whose photographer lost all the photos. What a nightmare. Here is the gear you NEED to have before taking on the task of capturing someone’s big day.
-dual SD card slots (or CF): It is crucial to be able to have your photos instantly backed up when shooting. You never know when an SD card may malfunction. Most professional cameras have two SD card slots. In camera settings you can make it so your camera shoots on both at the same time. This ensures you have every photo in two places after the wedding.
-two cameras: Once again, we cannot trust technology. If one camera malfunctions, you cannot be caught without a working camera on a wedding day. Make sure you have two cameras that you are well-versed in how to use. Just last month, I had a camera break within the first hour of the wedding day. It was not dropped or anything, the shutter just broke overtime. This could have been a DISASTER. However, because I always bring a second camera, it did not put me behind schedule at all. I quickly switched to my second camera, and continued on with the day. The bride and groom never knew.
-off camera flash: Especially during the reception, it can get very dark in the environment you are shooting in. An off-camera flash ensures that you can easily capture events like the cake-cutting and the dance floor without having your ISO at 60000 and getting images that are unusable.
In a wedding, you will encounter a hundred different lighting scenarios, so you must be well-versed in manual mode and how to properly expose in any lighting scenario so all the moments of the precious day are captured.
In any wedding I cover, I create a timeline with the couple, so both them and I can enter the day feeling confident about how the day will go. If this feels intimidating for your first few weddings, at least hop on a phone call with the couple, asking them when all the important events are, to make sure you are ready for them. Often, the venue will even make a timeline, so you can follow that. No matter what, make sure you chat via phone or in person with the couple to go over expectations for the day, so you can provide them the best experience possible.
The nerves of working with a couple on their big day is A LOT. Even I get nervous on a wedding day. For this reason, it is essential to prepare ahead of time with a list of prompts for the bridal party and the couple. You can have this list pulled up on your phone and use it in case you forget or blank on a pose. I always have a list of 20-30 couples poses and 10 bridal party poses ready, so we do not waste any precious time on their big day.
Weddings are a formal event. To emit professionalism PLEASE dress the part. All wedding vendors dress in darker colors to avoid being a distraction. It is also helpful to pick out an outfit you feel comfortable sitting, squatting, standing, and running around in. I love to wear a comfy dark skirt with a neutral blouse, or a comfy dress with pockets.
Phew. That was a lot. More questions? Send me an inquiry for 1 on 1 mentoring. The most important thing is to feel confident. This is such an exciting step in your career, and the bride and groom hired you because of your skills. They trust you, which is such a compliment to your art.
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