Marissa Eileen Photography » Columbus, Ohio Wedding & Engagement Photographer

5 Tips for Photographing Your First Wedding

Today’s blog is five tips for photographing your very first wedding. I wanted to blog about this before I was too far removed from shooting my first wedding. I shot my first one as a second shooter in the late spring/early summer of 2015. I then photographed  my first wedding as the primary photographer in the summer of 2016. I don’t have the photos from my from my first wedding as a second shooter because I had just received my new camera and was still figuring out how to use it! I hadn’t ever shot to two cards at the same time before and was afraid of messing something up by doing so! I never ended up getting any of the pictures from the photographer but the wedding was absolutely gorgeous. So you can see the photos from my second wedding here. Also if you’d like to see the pictures from my first wedding as the primary photographer you may look here. It’s so crazy to think that I’m about to go into my fourth year of shooting weddings! I can hardly believe that the time has gone by so fast.

Fake It Till You Make It

If you’re about to photograph your first wedding as the primary or even as the second photographer you may not be that confident in yourself. What I mean by “fake it till you make it” is to act like you know what you’re doing even if you’re not 100% sure of yourself. You need to be confident in your abilities to put your clients at ease. Be clear and concise when it comes to keeping the flow of the day and posing. Even if you mess up a little bit it’s likely that no one will notice. If you’re dressed the part and act the part then you’ll start to feel better and begin believe in yourself. Whereas if you’re unsure then the bride and groom, wedding party, and other guests may doubt your abilities. You’re the photographer and you’ve prepared for this moment. You’ve got this!!!

Prepare the Timeline

One of the most important factors in a wedding day is the timeline. If you’re about to shoot your first wedding you want to be sure to go over the timeline with the bride and groom beforehand. Let them know how much time you will need to photograph each part of the day. I recommend trying to get the bride and groom to partake in a first look so that you’ll have more time for photos. I also would  allocate more than enough time for each portion of the pictures so that you make sure to nail them. I know that I worked in ample amounts of time when I shot my first wedding on my own so that I could slow down and be confident that I was capturing everything I needed to. If you need help creating the timeline I have a post on that here..

Get the Family Formals List

Something that I was nervous about when shooting my first wedding was the family formals. I knew that I had a small window of time to gather and pose the family for the pictures. It’s important to always gather the list of the family formals from the bride and groom before the wedding day. This is the one part of the day that you need to have a list to go off of. If you’d like to read tips on photographing the family formals portion of the day then you can do so by clicking here.

Hire an Experienced Second Shooter

Another tip for shooting your first wedding is to hire an experienced second shooter. I highly recommend this if you have only shot a few weddings as a second or never shot a wedding before. Look for someone who has experience and ask them to come along for the day. Even if this means having to pay them quite a bit, taking a chunk out of your profit. The peace of mind and the knowledge you will glean will totally worth it!

Don’t Be Afraid to Direct the Shot

This goes along with the “fake it till you make it.” Don’t be afraid to direct the shot and do what you need to get the pictures that you want and that will be best for the client. If you need to move stuff from the background or move the couple to a different location don’t be shying in asking. They will thank you for making their photos look their very best. You’ll also end up with better pictures for your portfolio making it a win-win!


Finally remember to smile and enjoy the day! You are photographing your very first wedding and that is an amazing accomplishment!


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