You are your own best teacher
I photographed it. Last December. This is not at all in my character. One reason I love photography is it lets me focus (pun intended) on a subject and get into deep thought about it. How can I change how the image will be recorded? I can change the lens, play with technical aspects of the photos like exposure and depth of field, alter composition, and experiment with artificial and natural lighting. But with people, I don’t like telling them what to do. Even if they’re listening and willing, they rarely pose (or don’t pose) how I intend — which is my shortcoming, not theirs.
Corralling dozens of people who are maybe nervous, hot, tipsy or uncomfortable into my vision of a decent photo sounded both intimidating and appealing to me. But it was a rush: a combination power trip/covert operation. Besides, my good friend Raquel asked, even insisted, that I be her wedding photographer. I was honored. I also know that she knows I’ll pretty much do what she asks.
I learned many things that night:
1. Take a lot of extra batteries for your hotshoe flash. I went through two sets of four in a night. When you notice the recycle time between flashes increase, change the batteries. It doesn’t pay to get a few extra flashes out of them only to miss important shots.
2. Girls like shoes and girls like pictures of shoes.
3. Bring Your GPS. I’ve lived in Miami 17 years and I got lost between the ceremony and reception. I hate getting lost.
4. Expect bad lighting at the ceremony if it’s held indoors. The church was lovely, but had an awful combination of low natural light, candles, incandescent, etc.
5. Do not be afraid to politely ask people to move out of the way. Your clients are paying you to record a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime event, not the backs of peoples’ heads (you know who you are!).
6. Bring lenses you’d otherwise not. I brought a 100-300mm zoom and was able to get some shots without being too much of an interruption.
A telephoto also lets you get shots without the posed reaction ya get when sticking a camera in someone’s face:
I was lucky. This was my first “official” wedding gig. I’m used to bugs, plants, landscapes, and animals. I don’t know how to pose people and prefer the unposed shots. But some shots need posing. Our bride Raquel is a former Miss Jamaica, so knows how to pose like a pro. Since all the attention’s on the bride, many people say the groom just needs to show up. Though I was fortunate again in that the groom (Wade!) is, like myself, pretty easygoing and patient.
7. Get the cake before it’s decimated.
I still like candid shots the best:
8. No matter the lighting situation, there are always pros and cons. Take advantage of them both. When the reception got relaxed and the lights went down, it was a good time to experiment with long exposures. I zoomed while the shutter was open, and used 2nd curtain flash (where the flash fires right before the shutter closes. It normally fires immediately after the shutter opens) for this ultra disco effect.
9. I worked my butt off! Sure there were no mosquitoes, direct sun, dust or dirt, but wedding photography is exhausting; not to mention the post processing of 325 RAW photos.
A special thank you to Wade and Raquel for trusting me on such an incredible day!