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Beginner Photography: Wedding

You guys! This is a big one. A few months ago I got the honor of being a second shooter for my friend’s wedding, assisting my¬†very talented friend and wedding photographer, Carina of Love Me Do Photography. Our friends, Rick and Nicole, got married in the backyard of their huge community house in Germantown, Philadelphia. The wedding was quirky and fun and I wanted to do my best to capture their unique personalities.¬†

So the second shooter for a wedding has different responsibilities from the primary shooter. If you have Stunning Digital Photography, there’s a whole chapter on wedding photography which includes a very helpful checklist for what you need to prepare for before shooting a wedding. I used it and I highly recommend it. As the secondary shooter I was responsible for shooting details of the space, the groom and groomsmen preparing for the ceremony, candid shots of the wedding party and guests, and the all-important reaction shots of the groom, family and guests. I’ll show you examples of all of these below.

I can’t speak too much on the preparation before the shoot as I was not part of that, but it is integral to meet with your couple before hand and make a list of what shots they need, posed and otherwise, and what events will happen throughout the day that you need to be prepared for.

For this shoot, Carina lent me her¬†Canon 5D Mark III¬†with a 24-70 lens and a Canon 600 external flash. After the wedding, she¬†gave me .jpgs of the best shots I took, so I did some editing on them, but they aren’t as intricate edits as I would have attempted with raw files.


It is important to capture parts of the wedding that make it special. Keep your eye out for the little details and decorations that the family put so much effort into.

The bride’s bouquet


These adorable pins of the bride and groom were the wedding favors

A glimpse of the groom’s socks

Getting Ready:

The primary shooter will most likely shoot the bride getting ready. She’ll get shots of the wedding dress, shoes, rings, etc.¬†

Requisite tie-in-the-mirror shot


Waiting for photos

Posed Photos/Candids of Posed Photos

The primary will do the majority of posed shots, but you can get the moments in between where you can catch some great moments of joy and nervousness.



Fun family photo

Goofy groom


The ceremony is the time to get shots of as many of the guests and family members as possible. It is important to capture the important people in the couple’s life and their moments of shared joy. Make sure to be present for the important reaction shots like the guests seeing the bride for the first time, the wedding kiss, and the reactions of the guests to those moments.¬†

Waiting to enter the ceremony

Here comes the bride

Guest reactions to the bride

Husband and wife



The reactions of the parents of the couple are very important to capture, as well as the dance of the mother of the groom and the father of the bride. Not all weddings will follow these traditions, but find out in advance which of these will appear so you can be prepared to shoot them.

Surprise guest

Reaction shots to the toast

Bride and groom dance

Father of the bride dance

Mother of the groom dance

This was such a great experience. I would highly recommend offering your services to a professional photographer if you aren’t one yet yourself. I took thousands of photos and got a handful that I am really proud of. It was a long and physically strenuous day (I didn’t consider how much I’d be crouching and running around!) and the experience was invaluable.¬†