A Guest Post by John Stebbins.
Life as a wedding photographer can be extremely rewarding. Most photographers think that it is all glitz and glamour and high priced weddings. It is far from it, it is the most rewarding day a photographer has, in my opinion, but it can also be daunting and frustrating if you are unprepared. Weddings, for the most part, occur at an extremely fast pace. The vendors are rushing to set up, the DJ is rushing to set up, the bride is trying so hard to maintain calm while rushing to get ready and make sure all of her brides maids are ready. The groom is rushing to get ready too. When everyone is ready, you have the ceremony, the groom is waiting for that moment when he catches a glimpse of his new bride for the first time, and the bride catches a glimpse of her new groom for the first time. I live for these moments. A photographer has to be extremely fast, to capture moments such as these, for they happen in a split second of time, but they are worth it when you capture them.
The start of a long day:
My first tip to anyone who even remotely wishes to think about wedding photography be prepared for anything and everything. Second tip; get a good night’s rest and wake up before everyone else, you should have checked all of your gear last night, but you should definitely be checking it this morning. Batteries charged for all of your equipment, including the backups. How clean is your camera sensor? How clean are your lenses? Is your gear packed up and ready to go? Third tip; eat a good breakfast, you will need the carbs and protein to get you through the day. Make sure you have a protein bar on your person and a bottle of water with you all day as well. If you are like me, you do not get hungry when you are taking photos, but that does not mean you should not stop for a couple seconds at some point to eat that protein bar. The wedding day is long and you may not get food at the reception, you are there to work you know.
The pre-wedding photos:
It is sometimes extremely hard to get the pre-wedding photos of both the bride and the groom. It helps to have a second photographer with you, but some photographers like to work alone. At the very first wedding that I did, the bride was getting ready 30 miles from where the groom was getting ready and I was the only photographer there. What did I do? I faked it. I went with the bride and got photos of her getting ready. We then proceeded to make our way to the wedding. Wedding goes smoothly (except for me dropping both of my lenses while trying to change them out) and the bride and groom are married. Beautiful ceremony, the lenses still worked thankfully, and I come away with some beautiful photos for them, including that split second shot of the bride seeing the groom and the groom seeing the bride for the first time. Yes, first wedding and I nailed them both. 😀 I proceed to the portrait photos, the after wedding special photos of the bride and groom, and then when everything is settling down, I proceeded to work with the groom and the groomsmen on getting those pre-wedding photo’s. It is easy enough to do it backwards if you have to, just get the groom changing out of his tuxedo for the reception and make it look as if the groomsmen are assisting him in getting ready for the wedding!
First weddings are extremely hard on you, you are nervous, you want to do an amazing job for them, and you do not have all of the equipment that the photographers who have been doing this for years do. Beg, borrow, whatever you need to do to make sure you have a second set of equipment for the wedding day. I did borrow two lenses that I did not have, but I also dropped a lens I had no replacement for and was extremely lucky it still worked. What I am trying to say is this; be prepared, weeks in advance! Go over everything the bride and groom expect from you, and go over what you expect from them. It is a two way street. You are there for them, not the guests, not to take candid photos of Uncle Joe and Aunt Sally, cause while you were doing that, the bride and groom were kissing under a gorgeous tree with the sun setting behind them and you missed it. Follow them wherever they go on this day. Capture those little moments that they steal with each other. Document the things they want you to document. It is not about the family, it is not about the food, it is not even necessarily about the groom, it is about the bride. This is her day, the one she has dreamed of since she was a child. Capture it for her and you will be rewarded with the peace of mind you were able to provide one little girl with amazing photos of her most special day. This holds true for the first wedding or the 300th wedding if you are lucky enough to go that far in your chosen path.
About the Author
John Stebbins is an Austin, Texas destination-wedding photographer with a passion for inspiring photography. His photographic experience stems from a love of art in all forms and dedicating every day to learning and growing in his craft. The philosophy at his company, JDS Fotographie, is Photographic Inspiration. In all that he does, he will always strive to uphold that belief. What this means to you is this: You will always have the best from him when it comes to working with you and bringing you those photo’s that you will cherish for a lifetime. With packages for engagements, weddings and beyond, he looks to be your photographer throughout your life experiences, capturing those moments that mean the most to you, in an inspiring way.