I've sworn for the longest time that I would never shoot a wedding ... having been a part of wedding parties, I think a wedding photographer has to be some kind of genius-saint. Well, be careful what you promise you will never do. I took a step close to the precipice this past weekend and shot a wedding reception. It was a good experience and I learned a few things.
A bit of background and some reasons why I moved that much closer to the edge ...
First off, the people who were involved are just all-around good people. I know them (the bride more than the groom) as well as the bride's parents. Second, it was a latino event and the sense of timeliness and schedule are vastly different than the North American weddings I have been a part of, where everything is timed down to a five-minute schedule. For this event, it was scheduled to start at 7pm. When I asked the bride's dad about the "real" starting time, he said, "Well, maybe you should be there around 7:30." I knew I wasn't going to have a bride's mother beating me over the head with a checklist and a stopwatch. Lastly, I knew that I would have the freedom to do what I wanted to, when I wanted to.
With the above in mind, I had a great time doing the photos. I did get a little flustered when the bride finally showed up (an hour and a half late) and I had to scramble to get out and get some photos of her and the groom coming into the reception hall. But I had set up a small studio area - I wanted control, control, control over as much as possible, lighting, flow of people, etc. - and that worked out well.
I ended up shooting the bride and groom, bridal shots, family shots, plus shots of EVERYONE in attendance in the studio with the bride and groom. The studio was a small area, which helped the bride and groom from getting bombarded by dozens of people at once, and also provided an intimate area where people (in small groups) could chat with them for a moment and get a picture with them. We could control the flow of people so the bride could sit and rest when needed (my feet were sore and I was wearing comfortable shoes - can't imagine what she felt like!).
All of this helped the bride and groom relax. When they first got there I was afraid the bride was going to hyperventilate, but she quickly got calmed down and really seemed to enjoy the photos once we got going. In between family and friend photos, we would occasionally get some more of the bride and groom in a more relaxed atmosphere:
I'll try to write some more on how I set things up, but that will be for a later post.
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