I'm on the verge of shooting my last wedding and to be honest, I'm going to miss it a little. Yes, the day is long, physically arduous and stressful at times. However, there's nothing like taking pictures of people that want their picture taken. There's no worrying about who to shoot and who not to shoot. It's a happy occasion and every (and I mean everyone) wants their picture taken by the professional. Since this I'm nearing the end of the season, I thought I'd share some tips and some of my most recent work.
I have no clue how other photographers run their gigs, but I've been to a good deal of weddings that I wasn't shooting and found that most hired guns treat the event as a job. Yes, professionalism is important, but what I've seen over the past few weddings I've been to, is photographers that are all business. There's no joking around. There's no chatting with guests. It's all about shooting and being the "boss" of the paparazzi (more on that in a sec).
I take a totally different approach:
- I get to know the bride and groom before the wedding. I will friend them on Facebook. Swap cell phone numbers, email address and instant messaging handles (or Twitter for that matter). The point here is that I want to be as accessible to my clients as possible -- anytime, anywhere. They have enough to worry about and the last thing they need to worry about is whether or not I have the shot list, will I be there on time, etc. Getting to know your clients makes the job a lot easier. You will put them at ease.
- Always have a smile on your face. Despite carrying a 100+ pound bag of equipment, rigs, trippod, etc., be sure that you're happy and at ease. Any sign of negativity is the last thing the bride and groom want to see. Suck it up and get the job done, but do it with a smile on your face.
- Be polite. This is key. Lots of photographers don't want other people taking pictures while they are taking pictures. Well, with the amount of cameras at weddings these days, it's virtually impossible to avoid the paparazzi effect. All you have to do is be polite with the guests and ask them if you could take your shots first, then let them have at it. Also, work with the bride and groom so they know to look at you and not at other cameras. It's common courtesy-type stuff, but goes a long way.
- Do the little things. There's so much going on at a wedding that sometimes the bride and groom will forget things or need someone to do something quickly, like fetching the wedding coordinator to run over last minute details for the reception. Offer your services. Ask them if you can get them anything, do anything, etc. Just be helpful in the times when you're not sticking a camera in their face. Believe me, it goes a long way.
- Finally, enjoy it. This is someone's wedding. It's one of the most happiest days for them, their friends and their families. You are in charge of preserving life-time memories so it's important that you are on top of your game, but enjoy the moment as you should feel privileged that this couple is trusting you with the responsibility of shooting their wedding.
Some Recent Shoots:
- Kelly & Jeff -- These guys were fantastic and actually were the first gig I had that was from a wedding in the previous year. Their outdoor ceremony had this fantastic courtyard that was very colorful with flowers.
- Marcell & Raj -- This was a very cool wedding, but a very long day. You see, Marcell works for the Red Sox. As part of the package, she build in some tickets and on-field access during batting practice. The day was the longest day for a wedding for me to date. I started in the morning at Endicott college where I took pictures of the groom, groomsmen and his family. Raj is Hindu and they were having a traditional Hindu ceremony in the morning. The traditional ceremony was later that day, with the reception to follow that. There was lots of driving involved and it ended up being nearly a 12 hour day. But for front row monster seats (four times), it was well worth it!
- Michelle & Tony -- These guys were a blast. Michelle and Tony are friends of my wife and I so it was pretty cool to see our other friends at the wedding, though I was working. This wedding was very traditional, with a wedding ceremony at the church and the reception at the function hall just north of Boston. However, I got some very good shots overlooking Boston Harbor as well as some shots of the groom at home with his dad (traditional Italian family). Overall, it was a very fun wedding and a great day.
There are a few more I did this year that I've yet to process, but will do so and post here soon. If you're reading this, live in the greater Boston area (New England) and know of someone getting married, point them my way. They won't be disappointed.