Last updated on July 27th, 2022 at 03:48 pm
By design, my freelance photography big dream does not include becoming a wedding photographer. However, a dear friend asked me to photograph her wedding.
When I receive this kind of gig request, it’s hard not to say yes be a freelance wedding photographer for, at least, one day.
8 tips on how I shoot a dream wedding
What I do:
1. Start by downloading my “How to be a successful second shooter” checklist and use it.
If you have your own helper or second shooter, give it to them as well.
2. Get information from the bride and groom ahead of time so you know going in what shots to get.
Some brides don’t care about family group shots; for others, it’s the most important shot of the day. Write it down, you will be glad you did.
3. Show up early, leave when it’s time, and dance at least once.
Early arrival lets you map out the place, find some cool setup shots, and get mentally settled. Stay as long as you have to capture the wedding’s “story.” And dance one dance with the bride, the groom, or your handsome second shooter (if applicable).
4. Connect with everyone behind the scenes.
For my friend’s wedding, I know the only reason we had special access upstairs is that we connected with the owner ahead of time. Introducing myself to the event staff and bartenders helped out when we needed help moving tables for a large group shot. You are not an island, and you are not working alone, even when it feels like it. If you have the mindset of working together to create a great day, you will not go wrong.
1. Do NOT wait until the last minute to prepare.
Do yourself a favor by also defining the last minute as a few days before, and not the NIGHT before. You will save yourself a lot of heartaches and a “morning of” running around if you just get everything organized.
2. Do NOT match the bride’s energy style–it’s important to just be yourself.
Brides’ emotions vary from freakishly calm to off-the-charts insane on their wedding day. Center yourself in your genuine personality, and get to work.
3. Do NOT abdicate responsibilities–if you have a second shooter or an assistant helping you, make sure you don’t abdicate.
Instead of stating, “Go get the wedding cake shot,” try, “I need four photographs of the cake before it’s cut–one traditional, one close-up of the topper, and two artsy ones.” Never assume someone’s ability to know what you are thinking or what you want. Common sense is too subjective of a thing to rely on for wedding images.
4. Do NOT follow the ‘wedding photo playbook.’
Take some shots that are non-traditional. Use different lenses, and set up on some different angles. You will get the shots that are important, but remember to have fun with them too.
Remy Gervais is a business coach and freelance photographer residing in the northern California wine country.