My first wedding

Are there any amateur photographers out there who haven’t been approached to do a wedding for a friend for free?

“You’ve got a nice camera, can you do my wedding?”

“I saw a nice photo you took on Facebook, can you do my wedding?”

“I can’t afford a proper photographer, can you do my wedding?”

Sound familiar?

Not to me. After several years of serious photography, I’ve only ever been asked just once and recently. I was flattered, worried and seriously concerned. I’m an amateur, I’ve seen what professionals produce and I can’t measure up, but I knew the couple would want me to even though they also know I just do this as a hobby. If you have a good camera you can take good pictures right?

I only agreed because it was neither of their first weddings and they were pretty relaxed about it. I have a candid style and that is what they were looking for.

I prepared for it like a military exercise, knowing it would be completely different on the day. I had my checklists leading up to the day, everything out, tested, practiced, charged and synchronised.

I was afraid I would miss the special moments, like the kiss. I use an older model Fuji and focussing can be a bit hit and miss. What if my camera is hunting for focus when it mattered and I missed something important?

I decided all I could do was my best. Prepare as much as I could, stay focussed and hope it went well.

On the day I had to contend with humongous backlight on the group shots outdoors, focus hunting at the night do when the lighting was poor, and a flash that overheated and stopped working.

But my preparation had paid off. I had thought through the various scenarios and when I encountered a problem, reverted to what I had prepared ‘just in case’. When I hadn’t thought it through, I used my experience such as it was, to deal with it. It all worked on the day. It was a relative success. Out of 2,500 taken, 10% were unusable for various reasons, 75% were discarded and 15% went into the presentation box and onto the USB stick for the client.

Would I do it again? Yes I would. I enjoyed it; it was a great learning experience. I knew I could do a decent job and I did. I wouldn’t do a formal wedding; it’s neither my experience nor style. The more candid approach works for me, and if the couple are good with that then I’m good to go.

One day I hope to do this as a part time job. Whilst I’ve been unable to do a second shooter gig at a wedding so far, I know I can only gain the experience I need by doing it myself.

One down and after the photos were published I now find I have another wedding to do. After I get a few under my belt I’ll look at the money side. But for now, I’m happy to enjoy myself and contribute to their big day.

You can see some of my photos on my website. But wear sun glasses because they are dazzling mhbphoto.uk

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