WOW! Summer is over and it’s time to catch up on many things, including my blog posts! I had the wonderful opportunity to be the wedding photographer at my first 2 weddings. The first took place at the LDS (Latter-Day Saint) Los Angeles, California Temple. My hubby was my second shooter, using the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS to catch people from a distance. The bride and groom were stunning against the dark green doors of the temple.
The second wedding took place at the LDS Manti, Utah Temple. It was a windy, cloudy day but fortunately the rain held off until we were on our way to the reception in another town! The other photographer at the event was fantastic (Curtis J. Morley Photography) and between the 2 of us, we were able to capture some great moments at the temple and reception!
What is the difference between doing portrait photography and weddings? Why are there so many articles, forums and discussions that recommend AGAINST shooting a wedding unless you are a pro? In the age of digital photography, you have INSTANT feedback about your work. I cannot imagine shooting a wedding in the age of film, not knowing for sure if you have succeeded in capturing some unforgettable moments or – NOT! Surely, weddings captured in film are (or, were) not for the faint-hearted. I think EVERY photographer should shoot a wedding! HOWEVER, here are areas where you HAVE TO BE proficient before you attempt your first wedding, as you will be doing ALL of these:
Portrait photography – get used to shooting on manual, and always, ALWAYS shoot in RAW. period. You must understand ALL the basics; aperture, ISO, shutter speed, depth of field, focus points, and may want to expand your understanding to back button focus if it applies to your camera body.
Landscape & Architectural photography – practice taking photos of churches or other buildings, inside and out, with all kinds of light including noon day sun, on cloudy days, and even a few rainy days.
Macro – have a lens or set up that works for macro photos, as you will want to capture details of the event…the lace on the dress, the wedding rings, the flowers, the wedding cake, etc.
LENSES…I would highly recommend renting, borrowing or purchasing the following for wedding day. I shoot with Canon, so you may have to adapt this for Nikon:
24-70mm f/2.8 L You need this range for group and family photos! If you shoot ONLY with primes, just be sure to have this range covered…
50 mm f/1.4 L You will need a good, fast portrait lens, and the 50 is hard to beat.
70-200mm f/2.8 L IS With the monster weight of this lens, IS is a helpful tool. This is great for low light, across the room when you can’t get any closer and need the shot…
I would also recommend purchasing and practicing with a speedlight/flash and studying bounce flash techniques indoors so that you don’t have ugly shadows to clean up in post production processing!
Does this mean that I now want to be a wedding photographer full time? I learned a great deal from shooting both of these weddings, and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. However, my goal is STILL to be one of the top contributing photographers for Shutterstock. Having a child with disabilities, I value the flexibility of choosing my own schedule and work, based on his needs, therapies and medical appointments.
I encourage you to give wedding photography a try. It is stressful, exhausting and demanding. And it’s one of the most rewarding things you will ever do!