This is my first rodeo...
I've always pictured myself as being a family/lifestyle photographer. Capturing families and the love + bond they share has always been my passion. I never pictured myself as being a wedding photographer. Not because I don't think I have the ability, or that I don't have the talent or the "eye" for wedding photography. It was mostly because weddings are a MASSIVE undertaking. And, when you go from easy going family shoots to a wedding day, it's a 360 degree flip. You have to be on the ball, and capture EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL of that day.
Now... when a photographer decides they would like to get into the wedding photography field, they will usually second shoot for a more established wedding photographer. Basically being their assistant for the day, capturing more candid moments so the main photographer can focus on the most important parts of the day. It's a great way to dip your toes into the industry and see how the main photographer works, and watch their workflow like a hawk. Is that what I did, no? Is that what I wish I would have done? ABSOLUTELY YES!!
When K contacted me back in the beginning of 2023, I was totally honest with her. I told her I had never photographed a wedding before, I hadn't even been a second shooter for one. I had absolutely NO experience or idea of how to capture someone's most important day ( or at least one of them ) of their life. She loved my work regardless and wanted to go ahead and book me anyways.
The months leading up to K+C's wedding were filled with nights of studying other photographers images, watching YouTube videos, reading blog posts and basically soaking in every ounce of information I could get my hands on. I reached out to my peers in multiple Facebook groups and got some amazing advice. And before I knew it, I was a few days out from the biggest photography job I've ever had, totally freaking out and doubting myself wondering why on earth I agreed to take on a wedding without having any prior experience. But, at that point I had to put my brave face on and charge forward because the day was here and K+C were counting on me.
How the day played out...
On our drive out to the venue, my stomach was in knots. I was so incredibly nervous. We pulled into the venue and the nerves got worse. Seeing their beautiful wooden arch where they would be saying their I Do's made everything much more real.
Luckily, I had my best friend, and fellow photographer there to second shoot for me. Having someone you're comfortable with alongside you definitely helps in times of panic!
As I was getting my harness on, getting both of my camera's attached, getting my lenses and SD cards ready to go I started to feel a bit more at ease. I told myself I could do it, and I needed to have a bit more faith in myself that I was 100% capable of capturing this wedding and providing beautiful images for K+C.
Both Jaimie and myself introduced ourselves to the Bride + Groom and started on getting the detail shots, and doing some flat lays. We had about 40 minutes before the ceremony started so we shot the Groom with his Groomsmen then the Bride with her Bridesmaids and before we knew it, it was ceremony time. The night before I had watched a video on where to stand and when (which totally helped) so I was feeling prepared.
Once the music started, and the bridal party started coming down the isle something just clicked for me, all the nerves went away and I went into work mode!
Their ceremony was beautiful and I was able to capture all the images I needed to. Afterwards I chased K around while she gave all her guests a huge hug and then we jumped into family portraits and Bride + Groom portraits.
We we're only there 3 hours to capture their intimate ceremony but let me tell you, it went by in a blur.
After we finished up, we said our goodbyes to K+C, drove down to the Sooke Potholes, threw our swimsuits on and went for a celebratory swim!
Top 3 tips I have for photographing your first wedding
Definitely second shoot for someone more experienced a few times before going it alone. Not because you're not talented or capable enough, but because weddings are SO, SO much different than regular sessions. I wish I would have been a second before jumping into the industry feet first. Seeing how another photographer times things, and how they pose for certain shots would have been tremendously helpful.
Trust In Yourself...
You were hired for a reason. Your client's love your work and they trust you enough to capture their day. If you feel you're capable, you probably are. If you don't feel you're able to do it, be honest with your client. There's no shame in turning something down especially when you don't feel ready. But again, if you do... I promise you won't regret it and you'll leave that venue feeling so accomplished.
Don't be afraid to take control....
You're there to do a job. You're the photographer. Aunt Kathy with her iPhone isn't. Don't be afraid to tell people to move, or to tell someone to put their phone away if it's distracting. Get in there and touch people, move that piece of hair from their face... move them exactly where you need them. Be confident in yourself and do what you need to do to get the shot.
Now that it's over...
Now that the day is over, and I can breathe... I'm glad I took it on. I'll be forever grateful to K+C for the trust they put in me, and with it being my first wedding it will always hold a special place in my heart. Is there things I would have changed looking back on it? ABSOLUTELY! Do I think I did an amazing job? ABSOLUTELY! Am I going to second shoot a few more times before taking on a solo wedding again? ABSOLUTELY!!!!