13 June 2008

It's Been About a Week

My own wedding was just a few months ago. Before that, the pro photographer at a friend's wedding asked me when I was going to take the plunge, and this past weekend I had the opportunity to test the waters and myself: my sister got married and she asked me to be her photographer, along with our Aunt Robyn.
I read a lot about Wedding Photography in the weeks and months leading up to the big event. I acquired a second camera body, a better flash unit, and studied other photos. I made lists, met with both Robyn and Katie, and the night before felt pretty jazzed about the whole thing.
The great thing about digital is that you can shoot and shoot and still shoot more. Of course at the end of the day you have to sift through all of the crap. The trick is to know which shots to get and which to not get. This being my first real outing for the entire day (I've shot prep stuff for friends and taken pics "on spec" for practice) I shot everything. Between the rehearsal the night before and the big day itself, over 1100 exposures between the 2 cameras. That's a lot of megabytes.
As I began to sift through the photos I realized that I was a bit too itchy on the shutter - better more than less, I know, but at the same time I learned some and had some lessons reinforced.
I was reinforced in the rule of choosing the right shot to get, and not just shooting to hope you catch something good. I did a lot of the latter, but way more of the former than I am comfortable with. I think I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, and when I'm nervous I'm fidgety (I see you all nodding your heads), and when there's a camera in my hands that means I'm taking pictures. So as I get more comfortable with the bridal scenario in the weeks and months to come, I'll be less fidgety, more choosy, and will therefore not have so much to slog through in processing. My delete button is mighty, but I need to to last with the rest of my computer.
The lesson I learned is that I need to stick to my list when it comes time to take the posed group shots, and I need to take firm control. no matter how take-charge of a person the bride may be, no matter how much she might have planned for this day and discussed this moment with you, she's way too busy working on the fact that she just got married, and how she's hungry, tired, and just wants to sit down and have a large drink of something cold. So when I get that list of shots with all the people and the order they are in, we stick to the list in that order. I managed to get the shots, but it took longer than it should have and the bride should really have just stood there and smiled, instead of helping round people up. This is a lesson firmly learned.
I've had time to do my initial round of sifting, and I've even pulled out the 113 images I think best tell the story of the day, but later tonight I'll sit down and really work that post-production magic to give my sister the best present I can: the memories of her day that she can always look back on.
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