Fun with wedding photography – part 1

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is one of those genres that can be extremely fulfilling yet demanding at the same time. As a photographer it’s fun to feel the excitement and energy of these events. But then there is the anxiety to deliver bad photographs or even worse to miss those important shots. Last but not least, wedding photography can be exhausting. However, I love this combination and once in a while I accept to shoot the wedding of friends. Just a short while ago, I had the honor of participating in the wedding of our good friends Hanna and Stefan. Here is a short report of the day along with a few lessons.

The equipment

Shooting a wedding requires at least two cameras. I used my trusted and beloved Nikon D800 as primary and the awesome Fuji X-E1 as the secondary. Why two cameras? Very simple: what if one of them fails? Also, I like to have different lenses on each body to avoid many switches. The Fuji X-E1 is also extremely good at taking candid photos of people – the camera is that small and almost harmless looking. Along with the bodies I had a set of different lenses including a 60mm macro, an 85mm, a 24-120mm, a 55-200mm and an 8mm fisheye. Then there were a few strobes plus warming gels. Quite a bit of stuff to be honest.

A subset of my wedding equipment
A subset of my wedding equipment

The big idea

When I shoot weddings, I want to tell the entire story. Some wedding photographers only show up for a few hours to get the ‘important’ photos done. But I think it’s important to capture the entire day. There are so many special moments outside the main part of the wedding that you should not miss. (My wife and I made the mistake to hire the photographer only for the main part – all those wonderful moments before the wedding are lost, unfortunately). Being there the entire day finally allows you to create some fun memories such as slide shows and photo collages.

Getting things done

We arrived onsite early to get as many shots of the little details such as table settings, flowers and other decoration. A lot of work goes into this kind of stuff and it’s these little things that make a wedding so special. Also, my good friend Jen Rolfe (aka Jen’s Just Desserts) was there to setup the most amazing wedding cake arrangement. You should check out her work. Truly wonderful and Jen keeps pushing the envelop for her clients.

I have found that a macro lens is quite handy for this job. You can get really close to your subjects (like the cake) and you get a nice and creamy bokeh.

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Another reasons I like to arrive early at a wedding site is to capture the moments before a wedding. Not every bride or groom is comfortable with that, but my friends Hanna and Stefan didn’t mind. I actually think that a photographer can add a bit calm and humor during those sometimes tense moments. The resulting photos might not necessarily go up in a big frame on the wall but they will be an essential part of a wedding album or a slide show. On this particular day we had a lot of laughs.

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The most important lesson

One of the most important things about wedding photography is to have fun. I am not a big fan of these Hollywood style photos that make weddings look like a fairy tale event. Some photographers literally manage to take the whole enjoyment out of an important event by setting a really aggressive schedule.

The next post will cover the actual church wedding and the official photo section.

P.S:: One benefit of showing up early is that you get to play with the wedding props. And you get to take some photos of yourself! 😉



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