Okay, you're a photographer and you love photography for the art of it but it's not really paying the bills is it? I will always advocate shooting weddings, it's the ultimate pressure test for creativity. You have a few hours and you're going to get some amazing shots and the bride and groom are going to love them, but can you push yourself and become better as a photographer?
So it can seem a bit intimidating, shooting that first wedding and figuring out the whole schedule or things and the flow of the day. There are a million different ways to price your wedding photography and what you'll include in your packages and how long you'll stay. I personally keep my packages ultra simple, the bride has enough to worry about and the less details the better. I'm not there to squeeze every last penny out of a bride and groom, my only goal is to capture the day and do such a good job that they brag about me to their friends and family and that's how i keep getting business. My basic package is a photobook and a dvd of pictures and the rest is up to them.
Okay so back to the flow of the day, where everything starts and goes from. I usually like to meet the bride while shes getting her hair and make-up down and follow her back to where she gets ready. I take posed journalistic shots of her getting ready with her bridesmaids and then i head to wherever the groom and groomsmen are and start getting pictures of them getting ready. The groom usually only takes 30 minutes to capture pictures of, they get ready quick and usually aren't too into getting pictures taken.
The best way to get ready to take all these pictures is to check out wedding photography books and wedding magazines and pictures online of brides and grooms. I usually drill these images into my head and either try to recreate, put a spin on it or do something completely different that what i've seen.
So the next phase of the day is when the bride and groom are actually getting dressed for the wedding. This could be done at one location but more often then not it's at two separate locations so you'll have to divide and conquer. This is your chance to shoot the artsy stuff that you've seen in magazines, books and online. This is your time to shine and you should take advantage of an hour or two of prep that they have to do to get ready.
I suggest typical shots such as groom getting shoes on, checking watch, hanging with groomsmen + a dozen other great ones. For the bride it can be as simple as her talking to a flower girl at the fg's height. The bride helping her dad put on a tie, the bridesmaids helping a bride into her dress. This is one of my favorite times to shoot, it's relaxed and everyone is typically in a good mood.
Now here's the most stressful time if you can call it that. You will shoot the ceremony which will last most likely all of 20 minutes. Shoot as much as you can, cover all the angles and for god sakes make sure you're shooting in RAW! Once you're done shooting now you have to shoot group shots and just the bride and groom.
The biggest thing about the next part is having a loud voice and being able to organize people. Basically figure out what groups are important to the bride and groom (beforehand) and now is your time to shine. Get people lined up, check their clothing make sure no oddities ruin it, make sure shoes are pointed in and a dozen other details which you're going to have to research for yourself. When it comes to shooting the bride and groom you have to know some basic poses and be very clear about what you want and know what they want. One of the main things you want to focus on is getting to know the bride and groom and making sure they're comfortable with you. By then end of most of my weddings i'm good friends with my bride and groom and it makes things alot more relaxed when dealing with them professionally.
So now that you've done the hard part you are about to head into easy street, the reception. You're basically going to be hanging around taking dance pictures and the typical things such as first dance, mother son, father daughter dance and cake cutting and bouquet toss. After all this you can call it a night.
The next thing you're going to do is process those photos and get them back asap.
The idea of this post is to get people less scared about shooting a wedding, i'm breaking it down to show you that its not all pitchforks and fire and brimstone.