"We would like you to photograph our wedding?" - Is just the most terrifying thing a friend can ask you, if your a photographer who doesn't really do people shots. There is no expression like it for putting the wind up your average landscape photographer -my advice is "just say no".
Ever wondered why professional wedding photographers charge such a lot of money for taking a few snaps? Do a wedding yourself and their charges will seem entirely reasonable! It is a job that requires a special blend of skills:
First you have the technical challenges like a bride wearing white and a groom in a dark suite, this is usually combined with a bright sunny day that can make for an exposure nightmare. Alternatively if the weather is grim you need to be able to shoot indoors and have sufficient lights/flash to cover the groups you need.
Then you need to be able to deal with a wide variety of people, from precocious small children to boisterous grannies. Coral them into various groups before they disappear into the bar.
Satisfy the mother-in-law who wants lots of formal group shots with all the family in, whilst producing the relaxed reportage images the couple want.
The most important issue with weddings is you only get one chance, mess it up and the day is gone.
You need to do all this without upsetting anyone and ensuring the wedding doesn't end up as one long photo shoot.
I have only ever done one wedding and I have to say its not something I would be rushing to do again! In short - get someone else to do it.
In Part two I give some advise for those of you who feel it might be a good idea to shoot a friend's wedding.