Just shot my first wedding, here’s what I learned

May 19, 2015

Oliver Ruffus

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Just shot my first wedding, here’s what I learned

May 19, 2015

Oliver Ruffus

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Editor’s note: Oliver Ruffus used the r/photography Reddit sub as a resource for purchasing gear as well as getting tips for shooting his first wedding. To show his gratitude, he decided to give back by talking about his first experience with a wedding so that first-timers know what to be aware of. Oliver was kind enough to allow us to share his post on DIYP as well, as his way of passing it on and helping others.

As Oliver stated, some of this info might be redundant with other sources but hopefully something new will catch someone’s eye.

I shot a wedding yesterday. Here is the gear I used:

D3200

D3200 + wedding = does not compute I agree. Please send me a nicer camera at your nearest convenience. Until then… I must work with what I have.

Here are some tips that I’ve compiled from a few different sources, and some that I came up with:

1. Bring multiple copies of everything

BackupBatteries, memory cards, cameras, clothes, picture lists. Bring battery chargers, too. I got pretty lucky in that nothing went wrong, but there were several occasions when I found myself thinking “Oh god, what if that drink had been spilled two seconds earlier?” or something along those lines.

2. Scout the area before the day of the wedding

VenueI can’t stress this enough. If possible, do this with someone who knows the ceremony. The day of the wedding will be hectic and the last thing you want is unfamiliar territory. Get to know the lighting, outlets, and most importantly find some good shots that you would like to take on the wedding day.

3. Get a picture list

Ask the couple for a list containing each subset of the guests with which they would like a picture. Make sure to do this days before the wedding so that it can be edited.

What I mean by “picture list” is a list of people that the couples want pictures with directly after the ceremony. These are the pictures that are framed and hung around the house most often and you want to be sure the client gets what they want. I’m not talking about micro-managing BS like “I would love a picture of this chair at this time of day with my grandmother’s picture next to it”. Sorry, I’m too busy shooting your wedding.

4. Know the ceremony like the back of your hand

Where will the partner be entering from? Any religious/spiritual traditions that need to be captured? What time of day is the ceremony? Don’t try to wing it!

5. A TIP for Crop Sensors: Bring a lens that can go in the range of 18-24mm

I wish I had a smaller focal length to capture large group shots on the dance floor and during the actual ceremony. Because I was shooting DX the effective focal length of the 35mm was around 50mm.

6. Prepare for rain

Wedding_Rain

New Englanders, you know what I mean. Some plastic shopping bags and rubber bands will serve in a pinch, but you can find commercial products that will serve you multiple times.

7. Relax

A wedding is supposed to be a fun time and you are there to capture everything. Smile, talk to people if they talk to you, and in general don’t be a stranger to the guests. People are more likely to let down their guard and enjoy themselves if they know you aren’t just some person with a camera.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It is simply what I think were the most important aspects of shooting my first wedding, and a low-key wedding at that.

Smile

Some people have WPPSTD (wedding photographer’s post-traumatic stress disorder). This having been my first wedding, I can see how this would happen. Luckily this was a pretty relaxed wedding. I wouldn’t let a wedding photographer veteran snub your dreams of doing it. You might love it, or you might end up with WPPTSD. Never know if you don’t try.

About the Author

Oliver Ruffus is an amatuer photographer who learned from the web and wants to give back.

[via Reddit | Images by (in order of appearance): A La Moda Events, Jes, Jonathan Day, John Hope, Funk Dooby]

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We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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3 responses to “Just shot my first wedding, here’s what I learned”

  1. Grendel Avatar
    Grendel

    Thanks for share. I would have loved to know about other issues, like focus, wb, camera settings with different lights, and how you managed with that in no time!

  2. Yours Truly Wedding Albums Avatar
    Yours Truly Wedding Albums

    The #2 tips is really a must. Every photographer need to check the wedding area or location for him/her to be more familiarize with the area and plan on how to shoot perfectly images.

  3. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    I do photography with the same body plus a battery grip and a 32 gig Sandisk Card… absolutely perfectly matched for the event… rent a sigma 18-35 art a sigma art 50mm 1.4 and use the BEST 55-200 Nikon VR2 (which is included with the kit of the 3200) and you will be ready for anything.

    Ive used this body for 3 years and it is awesome!