Photography, Tips for Newbies, Video Production

A peek behind the curtain

So you have taken the plunge to become a wedding photographer or videographer and your first shoot is scheduled.  Here’s what to expect so that you can look like you’ve done this before.

1. Unplugged weddings are now a thing

In a nutshell, the wedding couple makes it clear to their guests that they don’t want their guests to be hidden behind screens and cameras (or those super discrete, super portable tablet devices).

In our digitally connected society, the unplugged ceremony is now analogous to the ceremonies of old that dared be on a national sporting day (where family members smuggled in transitor radios or walkmans and earphones to listen to the football match). So unless the couple carries through their threat of collecting mobile devices at the door, you can be sure Uncle Bob will be standing in the centre of the aisle between photographer and videographer and any tripods for maximum effect and damage.

You may even have to dodge a child who has been given free reign as the future (insert famous photographer) as you try to capture the first kiss.

2. Wedding vendors who like to operate as an island

There’s no way to say this nicely but the more you work in the industry the more you’ll come across the best and the worst of human nature. There will be the priest who states it’s against religion for photos (but old school video cameras are fine!).

The celebrant who refuses to let you plug into their audio field because you might make her speakers spontaneously combust. The one who wears rockstar glasses for the entire ceremony.

The DJ who thinks his sound track is much more important than clear audio of the speeches and the reception venue that believes a vendor meal is a four chips and a chicken nugget smuggled in the janitor’s closet.

But for all of the poor experiences, know someone is going to go above and beyond to make your day better. The video guy who saves the day when the photographer’s SD card fails; the photographer who provides the video guy lighting when it disappears from his car. The celebrant who helps change a flat tire of the videographer while a torrential downpour soaks them both.

Wedding Vendors Operate Island

This guy wore ‘joke’ glasses for the entire ceremony.

3. Surviving on bottled water for 12 + hours

You’ve got a clause in your contract which states that a human being cannot operate on air and good will alone, so a vendor meal is confirmed.

Most clients understand that every now and then as their team on the day, you should get to sit down… most! But the key offenders on the wedding day are rarely the wedding couple.

Reception venues* are notorious for “running out of meals”, “taking your meal away while you are busy filming the speeches” or seating you on the band’s table, who proceeds to gobble up your chips and nuggets with gusto (because “it was spare”).

A sign you are a true videographer is when you pull into McDonalds on the way home to refuel after 12 hours on water alone!

Food For Crew

*Not all reception venues. Some of our best meals have been as a wedding vendor.

Whilst we wouldn’t change a thing as it makes for great bbq anecdotes, here are some serious tips to make it through unscathed:

  • Unplugged weddings:  don’t get too frustrated with wedding guests. And prepare for multiple angle shots so you can avoid the sea of smartphones in your editing. While you’ve been to hundreds of weddings, remember that these are still likely to be rare and special to most guests. That said, if your wedding couple really wants an unplugged wedding, share stories of successful steps to make this happen for them.
  • Wedding vendor relations: build relationships with the other vendors on the day. It makes the day’s proceedings much smoother. You never know when you are going to need to lean on someone because one of your pieces of equipment fails.
  • Sustenance on a job: pack snacks in your kit bag. Always be prepared to feed yourself in the event you can’t get food at the time.

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