#25 in the Judging a Photograph Series
I don’t really know how I ended up photographing weddings. There was no masterplan, it just happened. I got lots of work experience as a second shooter. A second shooter is the extra photographer who helps the “real” wedding photographer. I did that over several years but in the end I gave it up and didn’t become a wedding photographer in my own right – long story.
Photographing Weddings – Behind the Scenes
Being a good wedding photographer is 80% organisation and 20% photography. It’s about getting the shot in a dynamic situation. To do that you have to be able to make a connection with people who are probably not used to being photographed or who are not ready to allow the time for it. Having a big brassy personality helps, but I don’t like being the centre of attention.
On the other hand being a second shooter suited me quite well. I thrive on finding an image without a heavily prescribed shot list. There’s a bit more time to compose and find new angles when I second-shoot. I also like not having to get the important shots of the ceremony; oh the number of times my flashgun or focus have powered down at the moment of the first kiss! I definitely have some bad luck there.
One of the simplest and most satisfying shots to get is the bridal accessories. I always try to put them on a windowsill for some flattering natural light. I’m lucky enough to live in a very photogenic town and so half the weddings I have shot have included a lovely view out of the window of the room where the bride is getting ready. Although it’s tempting to shoot all the accessories on a very wide aperture, I just stop down a little to give an impression of the town in the distance. A photo like this fills out the story of the day nicely in the final album.
People still regularly ask me how my wedding photography is going, not realising I stopped three years ago! It was an interesting time and I could write a whole book of memoirs and crazy tales. I am very happy NOT shooting weddings at the moment although I would perhaps like to second-shoot again when my children have grown and left home.
Read the Judging a Photograph series from the start.
Read the previous blog in the Judging a Photograph series, all about editing filters.