Wedding double up – 200%

This is a sequel to my first blog post and what I learned/confirmed from shooting my second wedding ever. My experience as a wedding photographer inclined 100% and to make things short and informative;

Yes: I was slightly stupid not to follow my own advice/experience from the first wedding
No: My pictures did not get 100% better.
Yes: I did have more fun during the proces (both as a photographer and guest).
No: The rush of doing something for the first time, was not as big the second time around.
Yes: I had the same camera setup. (Almost…)
No: I don’t think it will be a major part of my future endeavors in photography.
Yes: I was still nervous if I would be able to capture those the nice, magically and storytelling moments of the wedding.

The gear and gadgets

As some might have read in the first blog I do an effort to simplify things. I shoot two different focal lenghts during the whole day. Last time I used two identical cameras (two Fuji X-T1), but this time I borrowed a Fuji X-Pro2 (lovely camera by the way) and used my X-T1. To make things very short; borrowing and using a camera that you don’t know very well for a wedding job is not a good idea. I did not fail miserably, but my handling of the camera during the course of the day and the events was not as intuitive as I could have wished for. I shot the day with Fujinon primes XF 23mm and XF 56mm.

Lastly, for the sake of having a lot of fun for myself, I decided to bring a flash (Nissin i40) with a flash cord, so I could have the flash of camera in my hand, as I had an idea of going Bruce Gilden style the late part of the wedding (see the experiment of firing a flash close range in peoples faces at the end of the blog).

Fujifilm Fuji Gear Gadgets
Gear porn X-T1 with XF 56mm and X-Pro2 with XF 23mm
What went down

So this wedding was very different from the first. The setting was the beautiful castle Valdemar Slot in southern Denmark, the ceremony took place in a church and the “party” was in a small house with an intimate space for the guests.

The wish from the couple was actually that my wedding gift for them, would be the photography – more specific the formal shots of them. A little from the church, a little outside in different spots and that would be it. No photography of all the guests, no photography of the speakers, the toasts, the gimmicks during the wedding etc. At least they did not expect it, but as I was there I could not help my self during the day. So I ended up shooting anyways, but the initial agreement meant, that I felt more free during the day. That was nice!

Key learnings

Yet again I did learn some things. Or at least confirm some of the things that dawned on me the last time.

  1. Be prepared and know your gear. Yup… still very important, especially since I chose to borrow a camera that I didn’t have any experience with and I do not recommend it. So I was slightly stupid not following my own advice…
  2. Coming to an understanding of what and when the photographer is working turned out very well. This time I had fun as photographer as well a guest. It frees up time to relax and regroup and tune in those photographic senses.
  3. Since there is a general understanding/acceptance of a photographer being present and shooting everything that moves, try to be bold! You have the opportunity to get close and intimate since you kind of have a special permission that particular day.
  4. I was actually told by the priest I could not run around in the church during the ceremony which was a small annoyance and surprise. So try to get hold of the different venues and ask what, where and when are you allowed to shoot during the day.
  5. I kind of imagine that the professional photographer have a shooting manuscript of the day – so I googled it and I was right. Either mentally or physically I think it is a good thing to have so you don’t have to go around remembering all the different shots you could/should make. (You can find an example here – it is quite extensive but you can google a lot of different lists). Just skimming the list makes me stressed!

No further comments compared to what I experienced the first time. Well… It was easier being wedding photographer second time around. I did enjoy myself, but it is still hard work. Don’t use equipment you don’t know… It’s as simple as that and I had to try to confirm that my first notion was right. Stupid me…. 🙂

I hold a lot of respect for those who do it professionally, week after week, month after month and every year. Wauv!

My ongoing reflection about the wedding photography craft is the following; I believe that the approach to wedding photography matters a lot; There is a big difference between doing a job as professional photographer delivering a product to customers or doing the wedding photography from an artistic point of view to mainly satisfy yourself. These two viewpoints can of course be combined but for me it will feel very different what I decide upon.

Do you have any thoughts to share?

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