On Photographing Weddings

Photographing Weddings – A Comprehensive Photographic Experience

Although I’ve been photographing for publications and small businesses for several years now, I started shooting weddings only a few short years ago. The experience (of shooting weddings, especially as the main photographer) can be quite overwhelming, but it can also teach you a lot, and not only about photography.

So, what can photographing weddings do for you?

Whenever possible, I get to photograph not only the wedding, and wedding day, but also engagement and pre-wedding photography sessions. This way, I get to know the couple, which, in turn, helps me tell their love story (and their wedding day story as part of their love story) through images. In addition, by doing all the prep work for photographing a wedding, you get in touch with vendors and other creatives. Share a few images with them. That kind of good karma could come looking for you when you least expect it or when you might need it the most.

Photographing a wedding, sometimes from engagement to the actual wedding day, offers photographers a million possibilities:

portrait photography, and also group portrait photography

environmental portraits, especially when photographing the behind-the-scenes individuals who make the wedding happen–from musicians to florists and from restaurant owners to wedding planners and beyond

product photography, in particular when capturing detail shots at a wedding–that would be anything from the bridal bouquet to the bride’s shoes, the cake, the rings, decorations, and the like

photographing interiors and exteriors–of the wedding venue, place of worship, restaurant…or the beach (when photographing destination weddings, images of the particular destination could very well be part of the photo shoot–an exotic landscape, seascape, etc)

event photography–that’s a given, because, at its core, a wedding is an event, right? That includes images of the wedding party, guests, dances, ‘the’ dance (newlyweds, each newlywed, and their parents, etc), and also candid shots that, together with the wedding detail shots, help tell and complete the wedding day story

Destination weddings. Newlyweds watch the sunset on the beach. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Destination weddings. Newlyweds watching the sunset on the beach. Photo by Alina Oswald.

And I could go on and on. And your job as a photographer does not quite stop here. In a way, the second part of your job is just about to begin. There’s post-wedding, and post-production work to be done: editing the wedding images and designing a wedding album; working with and submitting digital files; printing; etc.

I believe that one can learn a lot from having the opportunity to photograph a wedding. It’s not about the wedding day, but everything that surrounds it, that helped build up to it, and at least in part whatever comes after it.

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