A HAPPY SNAPPY DAY!

A few months ago, I was honoured to be asked to photograph a close friend’s wedding. My obvious thrill at being considered suitable for this job, soon gave way to nerves and dread about the implications of what was involved. I had never photographed a wedding before and didn’t know where to start!

To cut a long story short, it all worked out fine and I feel confident in saying I did a good job. I was really happy with the selection of photos from the day and more importantly, the bride and groom were too (the most important part of it all)!

DREWJANE (126 of 215)DREWJANE (127 of 215)DREWJANE (119 of 215)

So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position as me, here are my top 10 tips for photographing your first wedding – in no particular order!

  1.  Get a professional camera body and lens/lenses.  
    I hired a Canon 5DMkIII along with a 2.8 70-200  and 2.8 24-70 lenses. Sure you can manage fine with a lesser set of equipment but the difference between these and my APS-C Canon and cheaper lenses was incredible. The low light/high ISO quality is a lifesaver and the zoom wide open at 200mm lets you get some great “wedding shots” with a nice blurry background.
  2. Find out EXACTLY what photos the bride and groom want.
    Speak to them, make a list and make sure you get the shots they want. If you end the day with loads of arty shots of table decorations but none of a certain beloved family member, the whole album could be ruined. Don’t finish until you have the exact shots they want. Be flexible on the day and add to that list.
  3. Get an assistant.
    Having someone to carry gear and remind you of what you should be doing is a great help. It’s easy to forget what you’re doing in the heat of the moment and a wingman can save you the embarassment of being the dickhead who left the lens cap on. Plus it’s a shoulder to cry on when it all gets too much…
  4. Visit the venue beforehand.
    If you’re not used to thinking on your feet with regards to lighting and composition, it saves a headache being able to see where you’ll be taking the key photos and how best to set people up. It’s worth knowing where you can stand for good view points and locations for portraits. Knowing this will save you invaluable time on the day.
  5. Nail the group portraits.
    These are probably the most important pictures to have from the whole day. Make sure you know who the bride and groom want to be in these and don’t stop until you have everyone you need. Be confident in directing people on where to stand/how to pose. Be prepared to be stressed. Keep calm. Get someone to help you gather the essential family member (either your assistant or a groomsman).
  6. Take more photos than you need.
    Go overboard taking photos. Sure, you’ll have a sore trigger finger and lots of editing to do at the end of it but you guarantee capturing every moment.
  7. Over prepare.
    Buy extra batteries for flashes. Buy extra memory cards. Read as much as you can before hand about posing people. Look at wedding blogs and magazines to see how other people do it. Learn how to use your flash. Practice taking photos of people in advance if you only ever take pictures of hills. Go above and beyond. You might not need to do all of this, but if you get to the day and don’t know what you’re doing, it won’t be fun.
  8. Practice talking to people and telling them what to do.
    You need to find your voice for this kind of thing. Be confident in telling people where to stand or making small talk when you are setting up a shot. If you can make people relaxed they will take a better photo. Be prepared to shout when organising the big group shot. People at weddings need direction. Be brave and don’t hesitate. See if you can photo an event for practice before hand if needs be!
  9. Learn how to use Lightroom before you need to edit your pictures.
    Once you’ve worked so hard to take the best pictures possible, you may as well process them as quickly as possible. If you don’t know how to do this efficiently, it will take you a long time to get the end product back to the happy couple. Get some software and practice in advance and develop a workflow which works for you.
  10. Make an album to showcase your work.
    Even if you’re not producing prints for the happy couple, it’s always good to get some physical copies made to show off your hard work. If you have as much fun as I did, you might find yourself wanting to do more and it’s a great way to engage clients.
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SAAL DIGITAL PHOTOBOOK REVIEW.

Sometimes it’s nice to be able to have a physical copy of pictures to show people. Screens and digital media have their place in photography but nothing beats an old school album.

I recently used the services of http://www.saal-digital.co.uk/ to produce a photo album and thought I’d share a few thoughts on the process and end product.

For the easy option, check the video out.

In a quick and easy process, you download their creation software which guides you through choosing your album style and its content. There are plenty of options available for size, paper type, paper finish, page numbers and layout. Inputting and rearranging pictures is very easy and the software has lots of built in warning prompts to make sure you don’t mess it up. The final order and delivery process is rapid and I received mine swiftly (and safely packaged) within a few days.

The album itself was everything I’d hoped for. The pictures were reproduced exactly as I had them on screen; no altered contrast or colour and no loss  of resolution and definition. The book felt like a premium product to hold and look through. If I had one issue, it was with the binding on the front and back inside corners. These weren’t fully stuck down and seem to be the one point of the album which could damage with ease. Apart from this the production of it seems very high quality.

In summary:
– a really fantastic album for a fair price.
– a very simple creation and ordering process.
– a company who I would recommend and use again.

 

 

 

LOVE YOU LONG TIME.

Using long exposures for landscape photography has been something I’ve tried on a few occasions but not had much success with. A 30+ second exposure really captures the motion of water and clouds, and adds an interesting element to the picture. Recently, a trip to Northumberland gave me another chance to try this technique and I was really happy with the results!

Beadnell (7 of 4)Beadnell (6 of 4)

 

KIT UPGRADE.

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I’ve been using my Canon 550d for 4 years now and it’s done me well so far. Recently I got a new wide angle lens (Canon EFS 10-18mm) to go on the front and it’s a purchase I don’t regret. It’s much sharper and the extra wide fielf of view allows for some cool shots – see above. There are a few more from a recent trial run in my portfolio!