Weddings Require “Going With The Flow”

Ashley Nicole Westbrook & Mark Loggins Wedding [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Manual, ISO 1250, 1/50, ƒ/9, (35mm = 24), off camera flash with the Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL]

The best part of shooting weddings is helping making one of the most important days in one’s life memorable. I know that after the wedding day very little is left for the bride and groom other than the images captured on their day.

One thing I love to do for all my brides is getting the photos to them quickly. I usually have all the photos delivered in 48 hours.

Now weddings are often about crisis management. Plans are made and at the last minute things are often changing.

The photographer needs to be the one helping solve those issues as they rise and not the one creating crisis for the bride or groom.

Groom & Groomsmen [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/60, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 24) off camera flash with the Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL]

This past year has had wedding planners and couples adjusting their plans all the time. COVID-19 has had people have to be quarantined after coming in contact with someone who has COVID. Then people you planned to be part of the wedding have to drop out.

I often find that the guys have less changes and tend to be ready to go and need little time for photos.

Bridesmaid helping the bride with her veil. [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/250, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 35)]

Hair and makeup just take time with a bride. I love capturing those moments.

The bride and her son see each other for the first time after getting dressed and ready. [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/40, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 35)]

Camera & Lighting Changes

Because things are changing all the time on the wedding day, you are having to be super flexible.

I am jumping from one location to the other as the Bride & Groom are getting ready. I am shooting inside, outside and moving from different inside locations to another inside location.

First Dance [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1000, 1/6, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 38)]

When the couple does their first dance I am changing settings to create some motion blur to show movement. Then I am having to adjust for other photos.

Finding those “moments” [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 3600, 1/30, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 35)]

I am constantly looking for those “moments” and they do not happen in the same place and with the same lighting.

Ashley Nicole Westbrook & Mark Loggins Wedding [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Some of the wedding party sneaks outside to decorate a car. Then back inside for dancing.

Mother & Son Dance [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 5000, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 35)]

If you were to walk around behind me taking photos on your latest camera on your phone, many of the photos would not come out. I am adding light.

[NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/80, ƒ/4.8, (35mm = 65) off camera flash with the Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL]

While you can shoot a lot of the photos without a flash, I use it to help get better colors.

Using flash to get good skin tones [NIKON D5, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1400, 1/30, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 35) Godox V860IIN on TTL with Magmod Sphere]

I use the Godox V860IIN on TTL with the Magmod Sphere on a lot of photos where I cannot setup an off-camera flash. I normally have it pointing straight up.

Because I use flash a great deal to get better colors this is why I can turn my photos around a lot quicker than many wedding photographers.

Here are some ways Brides & Grooms can use the photos, since they are getting these in 48 hours of wedding.

Saying “Thank You”

While most couples dread handwriting 150 personalized notes, the deed must be done. And sooner rather than later—for gifts received after the wedding, the rule is you’re supposed to get thank-yous out within two months after you return from the honeymoon.

My couples can use photos from the wedding day with their thank you cards.

Ashley Nicole Westbrook & Mark Loggins Wedding [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Manual, ISO 500, 1/25, ƒ/9, (35mm = 58) off camera flash with the Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL]

Change Your Name

Once you’ve changed your social security card and driver’s license, everything else should be a piece of cake. Some places may only require a phone call. Make a list (post office, employers/payroll, voter registration office, alumni associations and so on) and notify each organization one by one. Change everything else!

Now for those changing their names, you may want to send cards to some people with your new name change, address, phone numbers and email addresses.

Ashley Nicole Westbrook & Mark Loggins Wedding [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/80, ƒ/4, (35mm = 28)]

While you have so many things related to the wedding to use the photos for, you can use some of these for those holiday cards, like Christmas Cards.

Ashley Nicole Westbrook & Mark Loggins Wedding [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1600, 1/160, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]

Usually at the holidays many people send out Holiday cards and even include letters to catch up their friends and family on what has happened the past year.

Because I am a FAA Part 107 certified drone pilot, I can take photos at weddings. Do to limitations on flying over people, I arrive early and try and get a few photos of the venue.

Drone Shot [DJI Air 2S, 22.4 mm f/2.8, Mode = Normal, ISO 100, 1/1600, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 22)]
Drone Shot [DJI Air 2S, 22.4 mm f/2.8, Mode = Normal, ISO 110, 1/2000, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 22)]

Camera Crisis

While everything above is actually pretty normal as far as weddings, there are other things that I often am dealing with other than people getting ready.

My camera decided to not work like I usually anticipate it to do in one situation. I finally reset the camera to factory settings and started over getting it so I could take some more photos.

This doesn’t happen when you are in between shooting. I had just finished shooting some photos inside and went outside. I was shooting the dress by itself and I just started to use my off camera flash for the first time. The settings were not working the way I was expecting. They needed the dress for the bride to get dressed. It took me a good 5 minutes to temporarily solve the problem.

This is why brides and grooms would be best hiring seasoned pros and not having a relative with a camera shooting their first wedding to save money. After all, if someone screws up and you don’t have photos, you can’t easily reshoot everything.