5 Most Important Lessons I Learned About Wedding Photography

I got my start in wedding photography when I interned and worked with two local wedding photographers in my area back in 2012. From there, I fell in love with the beautiful, chaotic process that goes behind documenting a couple's big day! I am forever grateful for the knowledge and experience I gained from working with those two photographers because had I just jumped right into shooting weddings on my own, I would definitely not be where I am today.

I wanted to share with you the most valuable lessons I learned about wedding photography because some people don't have the support system that I did, so I hope this helps even just a little bit.

1. No matter how meticulous a bride/groom/wedding planner may be, ultimately, all weddings are uncontrolled events. What should have been a beautiful Fall day could turn into a blizzard. A groomsman could go missing some time between the cocktail hour and when they need to be announced into the reception. The venue could have accidentally booked your alternate rain location as it is pouring on your outdoor ceremony. (Yes, all of these- and crazier things- have happened!) So, my first lesson to you is simply to relax. Let situations that are out of your control be as they are and make beautiful images of the day regardless of what happens. My go-with-the-flow mindset is something I've been complimented on by a number of couples who really respect the fact that I can stay calm and remain professional when the day doesn't go as anticipated.

2. If you've never been to a ceremony/reception site, or the location the couple wants to go for bridal party photos - GO! Scout out the location the week before and start thinking about your shots before you even get there. This will save time and prevent you from being overwhelmed while you're shooting. It will also give you more time to be creative while you're there, too. If you can't get there, look it up online to get a general idea.

3. It's all about the details! At the time, you might not think that a bride would want a close-up of the lace on her gown, but later she may want that to use as a background image for her album. Or maybe it doesn't seem necessary to get a shot of the flowers from a few different angles, but who knows what will look best when you pull it up in PhotoShop later. Its better to have too many than not enough.

4. KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT! Inside and out. Front to back. I use Canon gear and was fortunate enough to attend a University that had every lens you could ever want and was able to try them out. I would shoot the same or similar subjects with different lenses, pull up the images on my computer and compare. From there, I narrowed it down to my favorites and what would be best with the way I work. Think: Do you like the look of direct flash better or bounce? Diffused or a harder light? Is a zoom or a prime lens more practical or *insert situation here* The more comfortable you are with what you're using, the better off you will be.

5. Shoot as much as you can & assist as many different photographers as you can. Yes, even if it is an internship. When starting out, the lessons you learn through experience are far more valuable than any day-rate. Everyone has a unique skill set that they can share with you and seeing the process first-hand is so important before you branch out on your own.