Recently, my sister got married, and she asked me to be the photographer, giving me the perfect opportunity to have a go at such a popular field of photography. It also meant that I felt more comfortable as I knew the majority of the guests and my client was my own sister, this meant I wasn’t as shy to try different approaches and get a good technique for taking wedding photographs. This was the second wedding I had been the photographer for, the first being my friend’s mother’s. Although this was pretty nerve racking, it was a very small ceremony at a reception office with around 15 people, so I wasn’t too far out my comfort zone. With my sister’s wedding ceremony, I did not know the brother-in-law’s side at all, and there were around 50-60 guests, which left it to feel like a daunting task at first. I was also told by the vicar that there were only certain places I could stand to take photos at the ceremony so I had to work with the angle I was given. Another issue was the dim lighting inside the church; the camera I was using was my Olympus PEN EPL-3 although this is one of my favourite little cameras, its not the greatest when up against artificial light.
However, I was able to get some nice shots of the guests down the pews as well as the bride walking down the aisle, as it was mainly only the altar that was artificially lit. Near the end of the ceremony, I took some staged shots of the bride, groom, best man and made of honour around the desk, pretending to sign the register, as you’re not allowed to take photos when the actual signing is taking place. After this, I took a couple more staged photographs of different family sets; the grandchildren, the bride’s immediate family, the grooms immediate family, and the parents. I managed to use my strengths when the bride and groom were exiting the church, as I was able to use complete natural light, I positioned the bridesmaids in places and took a couple of sequential shots whilst confetti was falling on the bride and groom. These were probably my favourite photos out of the shoot. I also saw a couple of opportunities to approach the wedding in a more conceptual and documentary way, where I caught two of the young bridesmaids sitting down by the door of the church, I felt I was able to create a photograph that had more of a story behind it, and wouldn’t be viewed specifically in a commercial way. When we proceeded to the reception/after party, I proceeded to take photos in a more documentary style, as well as taking some photos of the wedding cake and the performing bands. When it came to the first dance, I only took around three shots, as the bride and groom wanted a video of the dance instead, so that is still a factor I haven’t explored with too much.
Two days after the wedding, I had great positive feedback from the bride and groom as well as the guests who had seen the photographs, as they all seemed pretty pleased with the outcome. Overall I would consider this experience to be very useful in both exploring the subject of wedding photography as well as boosting my confidence in working with strangers and working in the wedding practice. Although I’m still not too keen on the idea, as there is a lot of pressure on getting the perfect photos for their perfect day with no re-shoots, I may not be too reluctant if the opportunity arose for me to shoot at a wedding again.