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5 Tips For Shooting Your First Wedding

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If you are new to wedding photography, shooting your first wedding can be intimidating! I get it. I was so nervous before my first wedding! In this blog post, I am sharing some of my favorite tips for new wedding photographers!

Talk About the Timeline

One of my biggest tips I give to new photographers is this: plan ahead. I know it sounds simple, but I cannot stress the importance of this enough! When you plan ahead you take some of the stress that naturally comes with a fast paced wedding day and get it handled long before the big day arrives.

My personal favorite way to plan ahead is by going over the timeline with the couple several weeks before their big day. Even the most simple of wedding days needs at least a loose timeline so that you can make sure that you aren’t missing anything. Plus, making the time to go over all of these details ensures that you know exactly what your couple wants.

If your couple is using a wedding coordinator or planner, be sure to reach out to them prior to the wedding to work together to create a timeline that works for everyone. This is important because photography plays a big role in the timeline of a wedding! When you’re just starting out, it can be hard to know how much time you need exactly, but do your best to estimate this and communicate with the planner or coordinator. If you need a good place to start with how long things take, check out my sample timelines here.

Have a Plan B. And C.

This next tip goes hand in hand with the one above. While weddings are fast paced and hectic at times, they are infinitely less stressful when you have a solid game plan. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan? What if it rains? Will you know what to do if hair and makeup run over cutting into your portrait time? What if a parade blocks your route to the venue? (Yes, all of these have happened to me, including the parade!) The answer is simple. Have a backup plan.

On a wedding day, brides and grooms will often look to you as their photographer to have a plan when things don’t go well…according to plan. In my opinion, it’s part of our job to remain calm, cool and collected so that the couple can relax. They deserve that! So thinking through potential issues long before the wedding day and having a solution in mind is part of serving your couples well.

Communicate with the Other Vendors

This is something I wish someone had told me sooner. Instead of waiting until the day of the wedding to flag down the other vendors, reach out to them before hand! When I am chatting with my couples about their timelines prior to the wedding, I always make sure to ask who their other vendors are. This not only helps when it comes to tagging and giving credit to the entire vendor team after the wedding (something I am very passionate about) but also so that you can introduce yourself ahead of time.

You likely won’t be working closely with the entire vendor team, but you will probably be teaming up with vendors such as the coordinator, hair and makeup stylist, videographer and DJ. Teamwork is EVERYTHING on a wedding day, so reaching out to introduce yourself can help get the ball rolling with that. I like to email them before the wedding day to introduce myself and let them know that I am happy to help them in any way that I can to make sure we have a smooth day for our shared couple. Plus, when you do walk into the wedding, you can just jump right into working together because you will likely already be on the same page.

Bring Back Up Gear

When I walk into a wedding, I have everything I could possibly need with me in case something goes wrong. I have two camera bodies that each contain two memory cards at any given time. I have more flashes than I need and of course, extra batteries. You’ll also find an entire lens line up in my bag in the off chance something goes wrong with one of them.

But what if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a bunch of gear at your disposal? When I was first starting, I rented gear from Camera Lens Rental!

Know Your Poses

I know I’ve stated the obvious a million times already, but wedding days really do move so quickly. There is so much joy to fit into one day! And one way to very quickly derail that joy train is by fumbling over your posing causing portraits to take longer than you might plan for them to. To avoid this, my best suggestion is to create what I call a posing playlist.

Go back through all of the photos you’ve taken and figure out which poses you like best. Or, check out Pinterest for some inspiration. From there, order them in a way that will allow you to move between them quickly. Keep like poses together and then just add in small tweaks like having the bride turn her head or having the couple share a kiss and then look at each other. These small movements will give you a lot of variety in a very short amount of time. Once you’ve done every combination inside of that pose, move onto a different pose or “song” on your playlist and continue with those micro movements!

I hope this blog helps as you as you prepare for your first wedding! Planning ahead really is the key to success and serving your couple well. Good luck, friend! You’ve got this!

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I'm Alison — brand and wedding  photographer in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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