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How I’m Preparing for my First Wedding as a Second Shooter

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I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by. In just a few short days, we will already be in June!! Which means two things:

  1. My business is hitting 6 months of growth.
  2. Wedding season is finally upon me!

I shared with my followers, especially on Instagram, that my goal for 2019 was to shoot my very first wedding before the year was up, even if only as a second shooter, even if it was only one wedding. Within less than three months of starting my business, I was able to accomplish that goal by signing on as a second shooter with an old college roommate of mine, Alyssa Hurley!

Just when I thought my dream came true, shortly after booking with Alyssa, I was able to book not one, but THREE additional weddings as a second shooter with Gracie Withers Photography here in northern Virginia! And another with Chelsea Schaefer!!

Later on, I booked my very first wedding as the solo photographer with a client in Bedford, VA!!

Not even six months in, God has blessed me with a total of six weddings this summer. I am blown away, but also very nervous. I feel the weight of the responsibility photographing a wedding holds. You are in charge of preserving and making permanent representations of one of the happiest days in a couple’s life together! And there are NO do-overs.

My very first wedding is THIS weekend… June 1! I am shooting alongside Gracie Withers, and I am so excited to learn from her and serve her and the couple she booked. I have only a few days to prepare myself, and if you are reading this as a first-time wedding photographer, or a photographer still waiting to shoot that first wedding day, here are all the ways I’m prepping myself for Saturday:

  1. Refresh my memory! I have so many awesome education resources I’ve been consuming for the last six months, thanks to Katelyn James Photography’s courses and monthly KJ All Access videos. This week, I am rewatching some of those more complex lessons and reviewing my notes to refresh my brain — kind of like studying for a big exam!
  2. Gather, charge, and clean my gear. I have all of my lenses packed into my camera bag, along with the memory cards, extra battery, car port battery charger, etc. I’m cleaning my lenses and camera, and making sure they are in top shape for the day.
  3. Pick my outfit! Believe it or not, this is something photographers actually have to think about. I didn’t think it was a big priority as to what you wore until I began coming across blog posts about it. There are different mindsets in the industry around what a photographer should wear to a wedding day, but I choose to believe that photographers should:

    a. Dress for the kind of wedding you want to shoot. For me, that’s higher end weddings, so I’m naturally going to look professional, classic, and a little more dressed up. Maybe a plain dress with a cute necklace or scarf to accessorize.

    b. Blend in, and let the bride stand out. This means muted colors, solid colors, or prints that are not too bold or distracting. It also means wearing simple pieces, like a dress without too many ruffles or details, or a plain jumpsuit.

    c. Be comfortable! Wedding days are long hours, plus add the summer heat for most weddings. I have a few pieces in my closet that I know are light, flexible, and comfortable to help me get through the day.

    d. Be modest. As the photographer, you’re going to be moving around a lot to get the right angles and perspectives. You’ll squat low for some shots, and if you’re shorter like I am (my 5’4″ gals and under… where you at?!) you’ll probably end up climbing on top of a picnic table, chair, bench, or rock at some point in the day. Choose tops cut not too low and skirts cut not too short, and you’re golden.

  4. Study my primary shooter’s Instagram feed and website. While I am hoping to get a thick portfolio of images to showcase my own work and creativity, ultimately, I know that my job is to serve and assist the primary shooter and her couple. I am a temporary employee of her brand, and I want to make sure my images reflect her style, because that’s what the bride and groom are expecting and it sets her up for success!
  5. Get PLENTY of sleep, and drink plenty of water. The week before my first wedding, I’ve tried drinking more water, eating better, and getting more sleep to make sure I have a healthy habit and good energy boost for the long day ahead of me. I’ll also go shopping for some snacks to keep me energized on the wedding day, and bring a bottle of water that I can clip to my camera bag to stay hydrated and focused.

There’s so much on my to-do list before this wedding, and I am sure after it is over, I will have a better idea of what helped and what I wish I did instead. All the nerves are definitely there, but they are serving as motivation to be as prepared as I can and enjoy this monumental moment of shooting my first wedding.

Wish me luck, guys!! I’ll update you how it went on my social media channels, and maybe even share more for next week’s blog! And, if you are a photographer looking for a second shooter in the D.C., Virginia, Maryland area, please reach out!

Check back here every Tuesday for new content, and find me on Instagram at @emilynicole_photos, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmNicolePhotos.

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