I recently shot my first ever wedding.
I’ve refused to do a few weddings in the past for various reasons. Lack of interest. Not wishing to be placed under pressure. Not needing the cash. Not really being a ‘people person’. That sort of thing.
This changed when a friend of mine used all of his cunning and timed his request at that pivotal moment – which was the fine line between my being drunk enough to agree to such a thing, but also just about sober enough to still speak.
Well played, Groom…well played.
So suddenly I found myself in the position of having agreed to be the wedding photographer. Additional details, as they were dripfed through to me, made it better and better. Oh, it’s in Spain. It’s going to be outside during peak sun of the day. It’s going to be 30 degrees.
Anyone following my work will know that I’m not really someone who takes photos of people. Buildings, yes. Landscapes, yes. The occasional animal, yes. Portraits and events – hell no. Still, with 6 months to go I figured I had plenty of time to either practice or find a way to break my fingers.
Before I knew it I was packing my bags for the trip to Spain. I had done no real research or planning, and absolutely zero practice. I figured I had a few days out in the sun to see what the scene was and practice on people before the big day.
What followed was a fun week. Most of it was spent sat beside the pool and drinking beer in the sun. I took a few photos of folk enjoying themselves, but mostly sat in the shade scowling at the sun. I’m not good in high temperatures.
As we were staying in a villa where the wedding was to take place it allowed me to understand where the ceremony was going to be and which angle the light was going to be coming from. I also had the chance to head out into the nearby old town and check out a few scenes where we could whisk the married couple off to in order to grab a few images once the ceremony itself was done and before the evening reception started. Most importanly I was there for the rehearsal, so I could see where the guests would be, where the bride would enter from, where people were going to be standing and – also very importantly – what the key parts of the ceremony were and when they were going to happen. It didn’t help me to capture every moment as I had wanted, but I was better prepared for it.
When the big day came, I still felt extremely underprepared. I woke up at 3am with my mind racing and didn’t get back to sleep until around 6am, but then was up shortly after 7am. I know I wasn’t the person getting married, but I was still quite nervous. Before I knew it the time had come…everyone was ready, and the ceremony began.
As the day progressed I found myself quite enjoying it, especially after the ceremony when the happy couple could finally relax a little…indeed it was pretty visible in the photos that they had relaxed, leaving the venue and taking time out for a few images away from the guests was certainly a lot of fun.
I took the evening off so that I took could enjoy the celebration. During the ‘time off’ I set up a photo booth scenario and used Trigger Trap to allow people to take photos of themselves by making enough noise to trigger the shutter. Though drunk people moving around a lot meant they didn’t always obey the fact they had a line to stand on if they wanted images to be in focus, it turned out t be a lot of fun and resulted in some great shots.
All in all it was a good experience. I still don’t wish to do wedding photography, but in many ways I do wish I could repeat the day over. Not because I don’t think it went well, I feel that I got a few excellent images and handled the weather conditions quite well. However I do like to do things to the best of my ability so could obviously use my hindsight to make the whole day run a little better from my perspective, there are a few images I wanted that didn’t quite work, and I would also have written a list of things to shoot throughout the day, or indeed the week, that I was there. In the hustle and bustle of the day itself it’s pretty easy to forget the simplest thing.
Primary gear Used for the wedding:
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens
Occasional use of the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Lens throughout the week, and the Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM Lens for the speeches.
Photo booth setup:
Canon 5D Mark II
3 Legged Thing X2.1 Eddie Evolution 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod System with AirHed 2
Canon 580EX II Speedlite Flash Unit
TriggerTrap Mobile Kit MD3-E3
OnOne Software Photo Suite
Nik Software Color Efex Pro
I set up a mini website for the wedding so you can see the other images over at nancyandmichael.wedding
- Camera: “NEX-7”
- Shutter speed: 1/30s