My First Wedding

I shot my first wedding on December 28, 2013. Luckily it was my sister-in-law’s wedding so I felt a bit more at ease. I was there for all the planning, I knew the landscape +  felt comfortable with everyone in attendance. It was a great first and since then I’ve shot another and booked 3 more! I’ve received about 4 other inquires too so now I just have to accept the fact that I’ll be a wedding photographer this year!

I actually have really enjoyed it so far. It’s a burst of intense shooting for 9-10 hours and yet it’s really fulfilling because it’s a continuous sequence. I’m painting a story and I’m excited to get better at it as the year progresses. Maybe I’ll even get to travel + shoot a wedding!

Here is the story of my beautiful sister + her husband’s wedding from December:












What have I learned so far? Not every wedding is going to photograph as easy as the ones on Pinterest do (I mean, obviously). I realized quickly that being in the Midbest will only allow me a few 100% outdoor weddings. In the winter it’s freezing cold (hence, all indoor) and in the summer it’s sweltering hot (also mostly indoor). I’d spent so much time looking at other photographers’ outdoor work that I forgot that I’d be facing much different challenges.

I have a few goals on how to improve:

  • Get better at using flash (on and off camera)
  • Find really comfortable shoes that aren’t extremely ugly
  • Master my “bossy-but-it’s-all-about-the-bride” voice
  • Figure out how involved I want to be in selling prints/albums
  • Second shoot with some amazing photographers so I can learn
  • Get better at editing + my workflow (thinking of taking this online session)
  • Practice, practice, practice

Any seasoned wedding photographers out there? Any advice? Or any amazing (or horror) stories about your own wedding photographer? I’d love to hear any tips or things you loved!

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Comments (38)

  • Congrats on your first (few) weddings and the awesomeness of booking more! Woop! After your first 5 you’ll start to get into a real groove with things and you’ll find your vibe for your work flow and editing really soon. I don’t think you need to do a course for it, you’ll learn as you go, which is what we did. There is SO much advice to give, but at the same time, you’ll totally learn everything very quickly as you go along – and even with mistakes, you end up learning so much from them that they’re kinda worth it in the end. If you do have any questions about anything though feel free to flick me an email! :)

    We’re onto our 2nd wedding season at the moment (we shot 1 wedding when we first launched in the middle of summer so we don’t count that one, then we shot 15 weddings the next season and this season (in the midst of it now) we have 25 I think). I definitely went from considering myself a graphic designer, to now saying I’m a fully fledged photographer first. It’s so crazy!

    The pros and cons of indoor vs outdoor are so annoying. I always hope for all outdoor but with overcast weather with no rain. Hahaha. It’s not often it happens but when it does, it’s the best.

    Anyway, YAY!!! :D

    • Thanks Danelle! You’ve been such an encouragement through it all. I just booked another today. I want to take it a bit slow like you guys did. I’d rather book (at max) one per month and then grow in 2015 if I want to. I’m afraid of overbooking myself and realizing it’s just not my thing. I’ll probably tweet to you with more questions as the year progresses :)

      • Yeah, definitely take your time to find out if it is something you want to pursue – second shooting is probably a good way to do that too. Nothing worse than taking on a heap of bookings a year in advance only to realise it’s not something you want to continue with haha. Hit me with any questions you got! Or just need to vent (this happens often haha). :P x

  • I used to shoot weddings with my Dad when I was in high-school/early college (videography though, not photography) — so fun, but you’re right it’s an intense day!

    This is me officially “reserving” you for our vow renewal in 3 years — haha!

    Also, when it’s not so cold that my fingers fall off when we go outside, let’s grab that coffee. I’m dying to try out the Grandview Grind or Mission.

    • Yay for vow renewal! How many years will it be? And yes once it’s not SO COLD let’s get coffee! Mission is delicious but I love being able to walk to GG!

  • Shooting a wedding of a person you know must really be the perfect first shoot. And the photos are looking great. What camera and lens did you use? Would love to know that :)

    • It really was!! I was using the Canon 5D Mark III and all prime lenses (35mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2 and the 50mm 1.4!

  • No advice but many congratulations. They turned out beautifully, especially the one with them off-set in the left corner. So beautiful!

  • Wedding photography? How exciting! The photos look great.

    I don’t have any first hand experience tips as I’m not a photographer, but I loved my wedding photographers because they were easy going and fun to work with. I found it awkward being in front of a camera, but my photographers eased me into it and made me feel comfortable. Also, they were amazing at posing, which I found important; I personally thought I looked amazing in my wedding photos! Haha

    • Thanks Emily! I love hearing why people loved their wedding photographer. I’m slowly getting better at posing. Usually I see it in my head but it’s so hard to communicate it well to the couple!

  • Congratulations! That’s so exciting to get to branch out into another creative pursuit. And I love seeing your list of goals for ways to improve this new skill — my goals tend to be a bit more nebulous and I may borrow this idea to start creating more concrete steps to take.

    • It is fun to realize it’s evolving as it happens! Setting goals publicly always helps too. I feel like the online community is always quick to help or offer suggestions too.

  • I think you did a fabulous job! <3

  • Wow wow. Congratulations! These photos are stunning, what a beautiful couple. Love the fur! Such a classy wedding. Perfection.

  • The final pictures look great! This is a little off-topic, but if you’re looking for comfortable heels (I think you mentioned once you don’t wear heels very often, but in case you want to…) go for wedges. I have a few pairs of wedges I can wear all day with no problems and even run around with. I’m also considering this pair from Modcloth:

    They seem like they might fit your cute-but-comfortable needs!

    • I HAVE found that wedges are much more doable. I had a pair that I thought of wearing to the wedding last weekend but was still afraid they’d hurt so badly. I’m going to check out this pair now!

  • I’d like to suggest Naturalizer for comfortable shoes! They aren’t the most trend-forward brand in the world, but they have EXTREMELY comfortable, wear-all-day shoes. I own 2-pairs of boots, and 3 pairs of heels from them and they are all very durable.

  • Allie! These are so impressive. I definitely don’t understand as much of the technical side (and am terrified of shooting indoors) but it seems like you are on the right track. You have such a great eye for framing compositions.

    As for shoes, I’m in search of some too (for nannying at a wedding). I ordered Bianca in red patent by EasySpirit but they were a little too high. My aunt, a doctor, suggested Clarks. I was thinking of trying these next…

    My next “vision” is some sort of sparkly flat. I’m still on the lookout for those, though.

    • Thank you Grace! You are too sweet. I’m checking out Clarks now. I agree- I’d love a slight heel (better for shooting) but boy when my feet ache, I am a baby haha.

  • Totally admire you for taking this on! Wedding photography terrifies me. Just learning how to work with brides, grooms and their moms on wedding invitations was quite a process.

    Love these photos, lady!

    • It can definitely be overwhelming. It’s like you meet 2 huge families + all the friends within 5 minutes and then you’re left to hoping you’ll remember them all!! I need to slow down as I book these weddings though. I want to make sure I click with the couple first before agreeing via email…

  • These are lovely! I’m so impressed – Get it, girl. And I loved your note about learning workflow, etc. Though I don’t take photographs professionally, I would love to learn how photographers do their editing/workflow. I hope you get to take the class!

  • Hard to believe this was your first wedding shoot! Such beautiful photos, Allie!

  • I never would have guessed this was your first wedding. You did an amazing job! I have always admired your photography and I look forward to seeing you learn and grow this year!

  • Oh also, shoes. I wear cheap flats only myself. Just plain black ones that only cost about $20 max because I tend to ruin them doing this job. I run through fields a lot, get muddy, walk around on rocks, etc. during wedding days so I wouldn’t be spending a lot on shoes myself – same with outfits haha. The two times I wore dresses that were a sheer material I ended up getting them caught on the focus rings when trying to change lenses. :(

    • Yeah flats seemed to work for me last weekend but I was so cold (it was like 1 degree F) so I also wished I had fancier boots. I have noticed how hot I get so I don’t dress heavy at all.

  • Hi Allie,

    Your photographs are beautiful! Erin Hanson might be a great person for you to connect with. She takes some beautiful engagement and wedding shots and has a similar style. She lives in Wisconsin, I know her brother and have met her a couple times. I’m sure she would be happy to offer advice!


    Hope this helps!

  • These pictures are GREAT!! Way better than my first wedding- I wouldn’t even want to revisit mine- ha!!
    – so excited to see more from this new adventure!

    Ps- I still haven’t found the perfect shoe other than toms with a shoe insert- shows off personality but isn’t really dressy. I’m a baby with my feet too.

    • Thanks Cece!!! I’m excited to shoot with you more this year if you’ll have me (aw so romantic). Toms are super comfy but yeah not super dressy. Although do people even care or notice what the photographer is wearing?

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