Hi I'm Nisha - Chris asked me to write up my experiences of shooting a friends wedding.
Really it is a good idea to get a professional to do it!
I charged an extra battery and packed 2 spare memory cards (just incase) the night before the wedding and also formatted each memory card in the camera, as I had heard that sometimes they can get corrupted and I didn’t really want anyone’s hands around my neck!
Before the Wedding
I got to the brides house an hour before she was due to leave for the venue to get pictures of her getting ready and her family. This actually proved to be quite useful, because I now have a start to the ‘story’ and some really good shots of the bride when she is looking fresh. I should however have planned my time a bit better and gone to the grooms house as well, just to get a shot of him putting his tie on, or something of the sort. This was also a good time to get pictures of the 'details' such as the brides outfit, bouquet and accessories.
There was no way that I could have taken the pictures without a flash at the brides house as my lens's min aperture is f4.5 on a 70mm focal length and because I wanted those candid shots of her getting ready, I couldn’t use a tripod. Also shooting in RAW, with continuous mode and flash on was a little slow as I guess the flash needs a bit more time to recycle.
When I got to the venue, I found out how much time we had in the venue and the grounds after the ceremony was finished, so I could plan where to take the various family group and couple shots. It turned out to be a pretty wet and windy day, so having checked the forecast, I brought large black umbrellas with me, but they never got put to use and no-one wanted to go outside to get their hair messed up. This meant I had to find spots inside the venue to take family pictures and ended up using two different locations, but having looked through the photos, wish I had picked at least two more locations inside, so that there is some variation in the backgrounds. This isn’t so much of a problem when looking through the photos on the computer, but I’m making a photo album and the same background starts to get boring after a while!
I was shooting in Program mode with flash indoors, and cranked up the ISO to 400 as I didn't have an external flash, which is definitely something to invest in!
I didn't get much of a chance to shoot outdoors and when I did, it was pitch black and this was for the couples shots so I had to push up the ISO again! I had compiled a list of shots that I wanted from the couple so got these out of the way first and then just let them be natural around each other and 'do their thing'!!
What I Learnt
For a complete beginner like myself, who got thrown in the deep end, the first thing I would say is RELAX! When taking the group shots, people aren't always smiling, relaxed or comfortable (sometimes having to stand close to other people!) so you have to interact with them and make them smile. I kept an eye out for the couple giving each other 'looks' and just general candid shots of the guests enjoying themselves. Having looked through my shots, I have to say that I did focus mainly on the bride, so should have also got more close up candid shots of the wedding party in general.
Part 2 - Some Hints and Tips