What to do when the wedding goes wrong, and you’re the photographer

Jun 26, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

What to do when the wedding goes wrong, and you’re the photographer

Jun 26, 2023

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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You don’t have to be crazy to be a wedding photographer, but it definitely helps. You’re mostly there to record the memories of a couple’s special day. Except there are usually heaps of expectations and layers of pressure. Add a couple of family feuds that would make an interesting Shakespeare play, plus a strict timeline and thousands of dollars, and you’re in for some fun!

Something inevitably will go wrong. At the last wedding I shot (and I’m hoping it will stay as the last!), the bride’s car broke down en route to the venue, so she had to flag down a taxi in the street. Meanwhile, one of the pageboys fell in the pond, fully dressed in his little suit and ended up walking down the aisle in bare feet. Still, it was a beautiful day, and we just rolled with the punches.

In this video, wedding and portrait photographer, Katelyn James recounts the story of one wedding she shot recently where everything seemed to go wrong.

It was a massive event. Clearly, the couple had spent a lot of time and money meticulously planning everything. And Katelyn was on a tight time schedule to get the portraits done before sunset.

But in the video, Katelyn recalls watching as one of the groomsmen collapses in the middle of the ceremony. The ceremony is postponed while an ambulance is called. Meanwhile, Katelyn is concerned about the march of time and that impending sunset. Eventually, the ceremony restarts from the beginning again, causing even more delays to the schedule.

Luckily Katelyn is a seasoned wedding photographer and was able to whisk the couple away immediately for some ultra-quick portraits, and the couple was happy.

Alternatively, she could have used the time while waiting for the ceremony to begin again (as long as the couple agreed), or she could have been prepared to use a different location, perhaps with a strobe. They would be different photos, of course, but still could be just as creative and beautiful.

The upshot to all this is that inevitably something will probably deviate from the plan. You need to have a plan B up your sleeve for when these things do happen, and you can just adapt and go with it. At the end of the day, you still need to produce beautiful images of the day. That is one reason why weddings can be so stressful for photographers and why you need to charge accordingly.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you when shooting a wedding? Tell us in the comments!

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

Join the Discussion

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