Dear First timer,
Wedding is one challenging photography, not only it’s a piece of art but also it involves a lot of tricky situation, When I first shoot my first wedding I was a second shooter, and only carried 1 lens , I was so nervous and to be honest till now I get nervous! Even if i have 4 lenses to use.
It sounds much cooler to pretend I work magic, but I assure you, there aren't any tricks where my camera is concerned. Although I have to admit it'd be great to make doves fly from my lens during family portraits...that'd get everyone's attention when I need it most!
First things First: Preparation knowing your weakness will make you know your strength and how to break that weak spot, Since this is your brother’s wedding, you have lot’s advantages to know how the day will unfold. The more you are prepared, relaxed and fun the wedding will be for you and for the couple.
- Ask if there’s a wedding coordinator? If none, ask who’s in charge of the timeline , ask who’s in charge of the program. You have to know the smallest details if there’s no timeline no coordinator, ask someone in charge to make one for you, and spread it out to all the people who will play huge part on the wedding day it's important to have everyone on the same page, Having to know the timeline will give you idea what specific images to shoot from your shotlist.
- Shotlist: Create a must shot list, referring to you timeline ( preparations,ceremony,portraits,family formals,reception) write a shot list of things you need to shoot according to these categories, after you shoot those “ must shot list “ from each category then you have time to be more creative on your shoots so at the end of the day you are not worrying “ did I missed something?”. TIP – google “wedding shotlist” and you can replicate those list.
- Ask for assistance: Since most likely you will have a relative that will join the wedding, it’s easy for you to ask for assistance from cousins, friends etc- ask them to check the shot list for you and tell you what to shoot next.
- Assign people: As a photographer you will play a huge part not just a shooter but also a director, you need to know who will be the person responsible for the wedding details( normally the maid of honor) you don’t want to bug your sister in law to be every now and then and ask for ( ring,invitation,flowers) etc. in light of this when it comes to shooting family formals, You have to know who’s that person that everyone listens to or authoritative( normally the father or mother) he/she will help you collect the family members when it’s time to do family portraits, Believe me – family members usually roam around, and you don’t want to shout!
- Light: You already know how important light is, There would be a situation that it’s really dark and you don’t have flash etc. to help you, If there’s a way for you to take the subject out of a small dark room either that’s the bride or the wedding details do so. But if there’s a videographer on the said event! That’s a sparkling help! Ask the videographer about his moves and plans, and you can shadow with him as he film, that way you don’t have to shoot again what he shot, but also you can leverage and use the lighting they have.
- Take it easy – I know you only have one set of camera and lens, it’s your first time and you are thinking “ I don’t want to mess this up!” but it will really help if you will think things through, try to relax and have fun!
You’re lens is a general lens – It’s versatile, Shooting wedding details is one of my favorite part of the wedding day, not only it warms me up before I jump into a more serious shoots but also it gives me freedom to be creative. I always tell everyone that it’s best to put the wedding details using window light, this way you will get soft shadows and ambient light. Try to shoot from different perspective ( normally I shoot top view )
Wedding dress/ suit/Tux – Just like the same with other wedding details, this is best on soft and ambient light, use window light or bring it outside and use the environment to create an editorial flare approach.
Portraits: I normally use 50mm focal length on every wedding portraits with minimum people of 1-2, to make sure I don’t distort their faces, Look for the best light and tell people that it’s the best light to flatter them, you have to educate everyone why you do what you do , that includes keeping the sun behind the subjects, Use natural reflectors - I've said this a thousand times before, I rely heavily on natural reflectors on really bright days. Natural reflectors are elements in nature or the environment that help push light back onto my subject when s/he is strongly backlit.
About your question : Is my camera kit would be enough? – Dear first timer, The only people who can answer this is the couple ( bride and groom) if they are happy with the experience they had with you, and even after you gave their images, you saw their faces happy with their pictures – then I can say – It’s enough! Sure you don’t have all the fancy gears everyone has, but you have the passion,skill and love to share, you just have to roll with the punches, take what you have and make it work.
Hope these helps!