|"In the art of marriage... it is not only marrying the right partner. It is being the right partner."|
|Preparing is one of the most important parts of the big day. Go there unprepared and your photos will show it.|
First things first, I wrote down a list of shots that I wanted to take. I knew the bride and groom already and knew some things that they might want to do and some things that they might not want to. They were not available at the time to ask, so I wrote up my own list and prepared myself to ask them for specifics when they came back from their honeymoon (which they took before the wedding).
|One of the shots that I had on my list. Mike throwing Vicky into the river.|
Once I had the preliminary list, I started searching through the photography blogs that I follow for more ideas and advice. I added more photographs to the list that was steadily getting longer and longer, and decided to visit the venue for the wedding a week early to get a feel for the place.
|One of the shots that I took with the super-awesome amazing flash that I borrowed for the evening, showing how well the light bounced in the reception venue.|
On the day itself, before leaving the house, I made a checklist of all the photography gear that I was going to need - lenses, tripod, flash, batteries, charger, bag, etc. and made sure that they were the first things packed into the car since I didn't want to forget anything. We then made the half hour trip to Port Alfred and relaxed for an hour or two in our accommodation before meeting the bride and groom and getting the day started.
|Leaving your gear behind would be like an artist leaving his/her brushes at home. Thankfully, this was one thing that I made sure to include.|
First of all, I would recommend insisting that the bride and groom make their own list of photographs in addition to your own. They will want to have specific photos taken, as will their families, and if you do not know what those are, you will be thrown off guard when they ask for them. In this case particularly, the bride and groom told me that they had no specific requests and that they just wanted "everything". That is great and all, but your everything may not be their idea of everything and can lead to slight chaos.
Next, I had everything planned down to a tee, and that is never a good idea. What happens then is that when someone comes along suggesting something different, you get thrown off. I had tons of ideas for great shots, but I suddenly found myself forgetting all of them when the bridesmaid refused to pose with the bride's brother (family drama) and when the groom's family (aside from his parents) got stranded in Cape Town and were not able to make it. It is great to be prepared, but try to leave some room for error. Do not freak out when things don't go exactly as planned.
Make sure that you have your tripod everywhere, and that you know it inside out. I had hardly used my tripod before the wedding, and while I used it for the family shots, which was great, I found that the dial used for turning the camera on its side was stuck, and not wanting to fiddle around with it, I elected to leave it instead and only took landscape oriented pictures of the family, which I later regretted. I also regretted not having the camera with me at the ceremony, as the area was dark and there was nothing to bounce the flash off of, which meant that I needed to use low shutter speeds with wide apertures and try to hold the camera as still as possible. I managed to get some good shots by leaning on a tree, and I am still not sure that I would have found a place for my tripod due to the angle that the venue was placed at (I'm not sure I would have found somewhere steady enough), but I know that I would have appreciated it.
|Knowing your gear well is a definite must! I was kind of lucky with this photo as the little girl was the only one who didn't jump and was therefore the only one in focus, since I forgot to set the shutter speed correctly prior to the jump.|
|Showing a little courtesy is always the right thing to do. Being married doesn't mean that courting should go out of the window after all ;)|
What did I do wrong? I over-prepared, didn't know my own equipment well enough, let last minute changes stress me, loitered (a little), didn't insist on the bride and groom's input on my photography list and didn't bring a second Canon battery or my charger along.
|Abandoning your bride on a narrow pier in high heels is the wrong thing to do on your wedding day, much like the things that I did wrong!|