shooting a wedding: survival tips

As a general rule, I’ve shied away from shooting weddings because I always thought that they were just too stressful. I hesitantly say that I’ve enjoyed event photography, but I definitely don’t enjoy the stress that goes along with it.

I worry myself sick that I’m going to miss something so I’ll “machine-gun” it like a mad-woman trying to capture e v e r y t h i n g. This usually leaves me with a stomach-ache and roughly one million and eight photos to go through later.

So when my first friend from college asked me to shoot his wedding, I immediately said yes, but then panicked. I told Vasily he had to shoot with me and of course he agreed. We also recruited the lovely Ashley Danaila to assist us. You can check her out on Facebook.

To make sure I didn’t develop stress ulcers, I tried to think of every detail beforehand. And it worked: No ulcers!

These were some of my tactics:

1. Meet with the bride and groom in person way before the big day. (Ideally a good month or two.)

Here you might talk about a “first look” v. waiting til the aisle to see each other. I would also recommend recommending they have a wedding coordinator to channel the bridal party to the right locations. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it usually doesn’t hurt.

2. Plan, plan, plan.

Vasily and I drew out diagrams of where each of us would be during the ceremony and who would shoot what. We also had to coordinate the groomsmen & groom and the bridesmaids & bride so the bride and groom wouldn’t accidentally catch a glimpse. Lots of pre-planning, but as I learned in my tv production days– this is what makes your shoot a success.

3. Play to your strengths.

Vasily knows gear. So I deferred to him for all lighting, lens and crop-sensor questions. And it was great! I didn’t have to worry about any of the stuff I would normally worry about.

And I think that about sums it up– basically plan ahead, ask for help and let everyone play to their strengths. Your stress level will drop and I’m convinced that the less stressed everyone else is, the less stressed the bride is and therefore everyone has an awesome day. Win-Win-Win.

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