You can never scout enough before the shoot

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 2000, ƒ/2.8, /100

I am in the suburbs of Chicago, IL this weekend in the town of Homewood to photograph a wedding for my friends.

At the rehearsal one of the people said you just don’t see photographers at rehearsals.

That is very true. Now if you are shooting weddings in your hometown and you know all the venue’s there is less reason for you to go to a rehearsal.

However, if you are starting out you want to do what my friend and fellow photographer Randy Wilson does for his weddings and as I am doing here.

Randy and I discovered that by going to a rehearsal everyone gets to know you and feel more comfortable on the wedding day. That is a HUGE!!! bonus for getting better moments.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 4000, ƒ/3.5, 1/250

By seeing everyone practice I along with my assistant Laura Deas Espeut, who also shoots weddings, were able to see what the sight-lines were for taking photos. We knew we had to be at certain places in the church to even get a photo.

At this rehearsal we also noticed that the placement of the unity candle and where they planned to wash each others feet was not just bad for photos, but for everyone to see. By being there we were able to not just help them have better photos, but a better experience for those attending the wedding to see the symbolic moments they had chosen to do in their wedding.

Why Scouting Helps

  • You get to see the location and take test shots
  • You find the best sight-lines to take photos
  • If there like a wedding rehearsal you can plan for the timing so you are in the best location at the right time
  • You get to speak into the event. If you see a problem that could impact the photos as we did, you can call attention to this with the event planners. Here they made changes, which improved the photos.
  • You can plan for bringing the right gear to get the best possible photos
I cannot stress enough how much preparation for anything you do will always impact your end product. 
We have all heard how 20/20 hindsight is always better than in the moment. While last second things can change you can come pretty close to 20/20 with enough foresight. Just showing up and going with the flow means you are always reacting rather than anticipating.

The best photos you can make are the ones where you anticipated–not those where you reacted.