I always see a wedding as a series of 8, 9 or even 10 photoshoots stitched together end on end. Each shoot is as important as the last – there is no room for a poor or mediocre one– all sessions must be treated as equal and all must be of the same high quality.
Therefore, although there is not a lot of time, if any, between sessions it is important to quickly reassess the last one– just to make sure that you have taken all of your planned shots – quickly run through in your head what you intend to take in the coming session and most importantly that your cameras are set up for the new session. You learn these lessons the hard way – I always remember shooting a Service on aperture priority – forgetting to change the camera setting when I came out into the bright sunlight and of course because I was using my flash to fill in shadowed faces my maximum sync speed was restricted to 250th second resulting in quite a few over exposed shots before, thank goodness, I realised.
So, regularly check your camera settings throughout the day – you’ll only make mistakes like the one above once but it is a hard way to learn the lesson.
Ok you’re at the church (or the location where the service is to take place) – if you have a second photographer working with you, he or she will have already taken a lot of the guests arriving and hopefully some of those lovely nervous images of the groom and best man as they await the arrival of the bride. This is also a good time to get some shots of the church. If you intend to prepare a photobook or album for your bride and groom these types of pictures can make great background images. Throughout the day I am constantly thinking about shooting images that will look good in the photobook.
This is a difficult part of the day as I am constantly drawn into the church with the opportunity of taking some great images of the groom waiting for his bride but on the other hand I don’t want to miss the arrival of the bridesmaids and more importantly the bride. This is a judgement call and very much depends on time available and the distance you have to cover in order to do both.
There are many occasions on a wedding day when you know that some great images are likely to present themselves. The arrival of the bride is one of those moments. Everyone is nervous, lots of people are waiting to catch their first glimpse of the bride, the bridal party are all fussing around the bride – these are all the ingredients for good pictures- try to resist jumping in and organising things too quickly – let these things unfold for a while in front of your lens – more often than not you are rewarded with some great images.
However, some traditional shots are expected at this stage as well and you would be best advised to get these in the bag. Father and bride in the car, bride getting out of the car, father and bride by the car, bride and bridesmaids, and the whole bridal party forming in readiness for the procession up the aisle.
As soon as you have these images in the camera you have to get yourself quickly in position inside the church – leave the bride with her final preparations – your 2nd photographer can take any remaining images of their preparations.