You are a first-time wedding photographer and you recently booked a dream wedding – now what?!
Let me begin by saying that I know what you are feeling! Without a doubt, you are experiencing an overwhelming excitement that YOU are the one trusted to capture the day, create art, and be a massive massive part of someone’s wedding day. Not only that, but It also comes with this flood of anxiety, pressure, and probably a bit of unknown!
There is a lot of expectation when it comes to documenting a wedding day.
The general expectation is that you will capture each moment as it unfolds while creating a quality photo for the couple to cherish forever.
Of course, you are going to need a camera.
I recommend only shooting weddings with a camera that has a dual slot (shooting two SD cards simultaneously). If you have an SD card that becomes corrupted or gets lost, you have another SD card with allllll the images.
Knock on wood – this has never happened to me, but I am prepared if it does!
Imagine shooting a whole wedding and losing the images! This would be the worst-case scenario. However, you need to do anything you can to avoid this!! Honestly, you could even take this concept one step further and have two cameras.
OTHER MUST-HAVE GEAR
I recommend a 50 mm. If you have two, I recommend a 35 mm & 24-70 or 85 mm
Multiple SD Cards
Flash or LED Light
External Hard Drive
Computer (Laptop or Desktop)
Lightroom Classic (for Editing)
I recommend offering to second shoot or shadow a few weddings for free! This should be done BEFORE the wedding you booked.
This allows you to see an experienced photographer in action.
Please note that this isn’t the time to ask a ton of questions or be trained by the lead photographer. Be a quiet observer and assist when asked! Someone else’s wedding day is not your personal mentorship BUT it is a great opportunity to watch a wedding go down as a photographer!!
If you end up second shooting, be sure to ask the photographer when you are allowed to use the photos for your portfolio! The typical etiquette is to wait until the full gallery has been delivered to the client by the main photographer or 8 weeks.
As a first-time wedding photographer, make sure your client knows how they can get ahold of you and when. Trust me, there is nothing more frustrating than not having a clear way to communicate especially with wedding-related things.
The couple is probably juggling many vendors so be clear on how they can communicate with you from the beginning!
Personally, I only communicate through email… some photographers prefer text. However, I find that it is easier for me to stay organized in my email.
My email signature offers information such as – my email address, my Instagram, and my office hours.
I want to be clear that I am a resource for them and want them to have an easy experience leading up to their day. I let them know when they will hear from me and what the next steps are so they never have to guess!! My clients know from the beginning that once they book, I will check in on them periodically via email. Also, I try to follow them on Instagram so I can have a more personal connection with them. Thirty days prior to their wedding, I will schedule a timeline call with them.
Although I have the above specifications, I do ensure that they know that they can contact me as much as they want. Of course, I will ALWAYS answer any questions that they have or schedule a phone call with them.
Make sure that before their wedding, you create a timeline together for photos.
A lot of times there is a coordinator with a master timeline, but you will want a specific one for photos.
KNOW THESE THREE TIMELINE SPECIFICS
Time for Each Location
Allotted Time For Each Location
To start off, there should be a clear expectation when you are arriving and when you are leaving. This way you can make sure you capture all the moments they want to be captured.
If you are booked for 8 hours you can plan strategically when photos will get done throughout the event before you leave.
Check out my timeline template BELOW
If you are interested in doing wedding photography long-term as a career, I absolutely recommend investing in mentorships/educational courses.
Find a photographer you look up to and invest in a mentor session!
We are forever growing, evolving, and being challenged. That is the beautiful thing about art! You are always in the position to learn more and evolve as an artist.
I personally invested over $2,200 my first year in education and courses from photographers that I looked up to. Honestly, I learned that the quickest way to learn and grow your business is to learn from others who have done it before you.
Mentorships I recommend for First-time Wedding Photographers
There are so many things to think about when capturing someone’s day
During the first few months as a first-time wedding photographer, I was so nervous before and every booked wedding. The biggest thing I did throughout my first year of shooting weddings was to second shoot… A LOT.
Please know that throughout this growing process, you will make mistakes, you will learn a lot, you will be humbled, but most importantly you will create beautiful photos that the couple will cherish for the rest of their lives.
Always keep that in the center and you will succeed!
The last thing that I want to mention is whether someone is paying you $50 or $5,000, this is someone’s one day that cannot be re-done. You are being TRUSTED! Don’t ever take that for granted.
Of course, there is so much more that goes into documenting a wedding day than anything I can fit into a short blog. If you have any questions or want to learn more about getting into the wedding industry, creating beautiful galleries, and being a successful wedding photographer let’s chat about my mentorship availability.