5 Things I wish I Knew When Shooting my FIRST Wedding!
TODAY! I'm gonna share what I WISH I knew about 3 years ago on my first wedding day! For those of you who are thinking about getting into weddings OR are just about to shoot your first solo wedding (not second shooting for another photographer), I wanted to share a few things to think about before you head to the venue! Lemme know your thoughts or if you have any questions for me after reading the post! Thanks, friends!!
1. KNOW MY CAMERA
This was probably THE most stressful part of my first wedding, to be honest! I was definitely still in the process of learning how my camera operated in different lighting situations.. which STRESSED me out! I didn't realize that during a wedding my mindset would mostly be focused on clearly communicating with my clients over figuring out camera settings. Wedding days are fast pace, so knowing your camera well enough to create great images at all times of the day, helps you enjoy time with your clients & get more creative in your photography style. If I had to go back and redo the day, I wish I would've gone out and shot in the worst lighting situations to just get more of an idea of how my camera reacted to sucky lighting rather than the lighting I choose to shoot all of my session in!
2. COMMUNICATE BEFOREHAND
Communication is KEY! Now, I have a questionnaire for my clients to fill out. I educate my couples on lighting & the importance of a timeline for the day so we can get the photos they want. I call or meet with them beforehand to get an idea of what they envision for their day & explain what I can provide for them during the x amount of hours they have me at the venue! I wish I would've done this WAY SOONER! I was honestly so nervous that my couples would 'find out I didn't know what I was doing' if I talked to them too much.
THIS THINKING IS SO WRONG!
I've found that the more communication, the better I understand how the flow of their wedding day (aka NO surprises!), I understand my clients expectations, & I can go into the wedding confidently!
3. HAVE A SHOTS LIST
So, for my first wedding, I had a small shot list I got off of Pinterest on my phone! BUT I wish I would've had a more detailed one ready to go for my very first wedding. It took me about 10+ weddings to really memorize my "wedding shots-list." Technically, I don't have an exact shots list for every single wedding I shoot, because I now have more of an understanding of what my type of couples expect from me (& this is after 3 years of shooting)! BUT, when I didn't have a consistent clientele, when I only shoot maybe one wedding month, I did go on other photographer's blog post & check out what they would capture for each wedding & then I'd make my own shots list from there (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING THIS!).
4. IT’S OKAY TO BE ASSERTIVE + CONFIDENT
I can NOT stress this one enough!! So, before I started shooting weddings, I was much more quiet & timid with people. I would talk softly, I wouldn't ask people to move over two steps to be centered.. it's the little things! I guess I felt like if I just took the picture, then I was doing my job & making my clients like me. So, again... I was wrong. I wish I knew that it's OKAY to be assertive & confident! And sometimes it takes assertiveness to get that shot! Your confidence in what you do - in your camera + artistic skills - actually makes people feel relaxed! It makes your clients TRUST you & what you do! I feel like I've done a full 180 after my second wedding season! I am much more alert, I am loud(er) & I am confident in my skills! But, I truly wish I would've developed this mindset at the very beginning.
5. DON’T BE CRITICAL OF YOUR WORK
And I'm gonna end this BLOG post with this one! When I first started, I was in a photography community where I was the youngest, I was the "beginner." So, I consistently compared my work to my mentors! And because of this, I ended up crying after my first wedding... yep. I cried. I looked at my work & thought "wow, I suckkkkkkk! I will never be as good as _______." OKAY! Obviously, this mindset is again - WRONG!
And I ask you now.. please, please, please don't do this!
I think it's okay to understand where you are in your creative journey. Yesterday, I listened to a great podcast about the benefits of being average - click HERE to take a listen. I wish I heard this podcast before my first wedding! Because I didn't appreciate my work the way I should've! Now, I look back at that wedding and say to myself "Damn, Sydney! You killed it!" No, my work doesn't look like that anymore! BUT, that wedding was the first time I got the chance to improve my skills in the wedding industry. And from there, I just kept growing. Ultimately, being "average" at that time, got me to where I am today. And I would NEVER take that back!
SO! I hope that was a bit of an encouragement to you today! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me over Instagram or email, if you wanna chat more about getting into the wedding industry! I am an open book!
INSTA | @sydneyymarie + @sydneymariephotography
EMAIL | firstname.lastname@example.org