Jonathan & Elizabeth (Wedding Photography – Lesson No.1 )

For the last 2 months I have been advertising wedding shoots for free, in order to build on my portfolio. This is something I’d been wanting to do for a while now, but finding weddings to shoot or even to shoot as a second shooter is easier said than done. It’s that catch 22 of… I need the experience but they want you to be experienced already…. Hmmm….?!?

Weddings are typically a very hard event to capture. There are many people who’d also like to take photos and so, managing the situation can be quite complex as the last thing any photographer wants is to step on anyone’s toes.

One of my friends mentioned a few weeks ago that she’d be attending a wedding and so I asked if she could put in a kind word. Time flew past and on Friday I got a text saying I’d be able to come along and capture a part of their special day. I jumped at the opportunity.

Initially I was concerned because Jonathan and Elizabeth didn’t hire a Professional Photographer for their day. I spoke with Jonathan over the phone a few hours before the wedding and asked if there was anything specific he’d like to to capture. He mentioned that they wanted a bit of chaos. Nothing too posey and just reportage style shots. No one would be directing, there wouldn’t be any group shots and no tick the list shots would be needed at all. They wanted friends and family to take pictures and then they’d compile their own album with a good mix of photos from everyone. It broke my heart to hear him say that, because I knew that although those shots might have a ton of sentimental value, it just wouldn’t be the same as having a well laid out, high quality album full of high quality images that would last for many years to come.

It was a Quaker Wedding held at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton. No pictures were to be taken during the ceremony either and so we waited until everyone came outside.

In retrospect I found that weddings do need a bit more structure and it was very frustrating not to be able to get the shots I needed, people were everywhere and didn’t notice each other taking pictures, getting in front of my camera 90% of the time just as I was about to get a great shot!! But I kept cool reminding myself: I was lucky to be there, and I wasn’t getting paid to do a job.

Once everyone was outside the sun started setting and the lighting was naturally gorgeous, giving everyone that golden glow.

We stayed until Jonathan and Elizabeth left the Meeting House and headed to the reception at the Old Ship Hotel.

It was a great experience to be able to capture a small part of Jonathan and Elizabeth’s day. Every opportunity will enable me to learn more and improve on a plethora of different levels.

Looking forward to many more weddings ahead… ;o)

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