How To Photograph A Wedding For The First Time?

As you may or may not know, I have a huge passion for photography that I would love to pursue further in the future. I am currently in the process of creating a professional website to present all of my captured photographs. About 3 weeks ago, I had the most amazing opportunity to photograph a wedding in Basingstoke (as a second shooter)  for the very talented Isla. I have been wanting to photograph a wedding for a long time now as that is the area of interest that I would like to develop further. This was an amazing opportunity for me as I was able to gain experience without feeling under pressure of capturing the desired shots. I am looking forward to sharing with you all the beautiful photographs as well as give you some tips for shooting your first wedding.

Research is key! As soon as I found out I was taking on this amazing opportunity, the first thing I did was research wedding photography as a whole; including poses, shots, photo editing and how to dress like a professional photographer. I found this very useful as I was able to learn from these photographs. I remembered a few shots I wanted to take and how I needed to take them. Wedding photography is very different to the standard portraits I am used to taking which is why I knew I had to get more of an understanding prior to the shoot. I really enjoyed experimenting with my camera and capturing the different shots. Take a look at my Pinterest board for inspiration: Wedding Photography Ideas.

It is very important for you to take the correct equipment, not only to make sure you get the best shots possible but also to not carry too much whilst in the venues. Unfortunately, I do not own a lot of photography equipment, however, this was good for this wedding shoot as you want the carrying to be at a minimal. It is so much easier to get to the places you need to as well as keep the noise down when you need to move around. For this wedding, I took with me my camera (Canon 1300D) and two lenses (18-55mm and 75-300mm) as well as my camera bag. It was a sunny day, therefore I did not need my flashgun.

I would 100% recommend observing the venue beforehand to get used to the surroundings as well as adjusting the camera settings, as well as finding places to shoot. You will also know what equipment you will need which is very useful, so that you are prepared. I wasn’t able to view the venue until 10 minutes before the ceremony, so if you can get the chance too, I recommend doing it. As I was a second shooter for this wedding, it did not matter too much as it was purely for experience. However, I now know that if I was to shoot at a venue that I am unfamiliar with, I will view it first.


A photoshoot checklist is a must! I did not know anything about this until I met up with the photographer where she explained to me that we were on a tight schedule and therefore we had to make sure that we got all the appropriate shots possible. A photoshoot checklist is a list of all the group photographs and any main ones that the bride/groom really want. You can tick these off your list once they are done. As a photographer, it is your job to ensure that all of these shots are done to fulfil the married couple’s wishes. Group shots are really important at weddings as the guests and bride/groom get very bored. You must ensure all the necessary shots are taken as when they are looking back at the album they will be very happy at what you have created. Personally, I think that for any shoot that requires numerous poses and groups of people, I would definitely use a checklist.

Of course, it is important as a second shooter to assist the main photographer by helping them with any photos needed as well as capturing candid’s of the guests. These are the kind of photos that the guests like to see most which shows everyone having fun throughout the day. It is important for the main photographer to get all the right shots and then for the second shooter to capture as many extra as possible. I think that having a second shooter is very important and handy at the same time. Some weddings can have a lot of guests, so getting some photographs can be tricky. I think that Isla and myself worked very well to ensure all the appropriate shots were taken.

REMEMBER… YOU’RE NOT JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER. You might even be a help in hand to assist with any major problems. It is your job to help in many ways as possible, whether if that is keeping track of the time and schedule or helping the bride get ready. Never get in the way and give space if anyone needs it. Always keep a positive manner to make others feel at ease. It is so important for you to be chatty to ensure there is no silences or awkwardness. It is always good to know a few jokes or ways to make everyone laugh. THESE CAN BE THE BEST PHOTOS!

Now, it’s time for the best part… THE PHOTOS! As a second shooter, it is important for you to send your best photos over to the main photographer, so that they are able to select appropriate ones to edit and add to the wedding photo album. However, once you have done this, you can experiment and edit as much or as little as you like. As I am just an amateur photographer and still learning everything, I am not an expert at editing. However, I was told by Isla that a majority of photographers edit wedding photos and that I should try it out. So, that’s what I did. I decided to download DxO and Lightroom as I wanted to try out different software’s to figure out which one I prefer. I would definitely recommend getting the practice in before you have to edit a whole wedding album as it will take some time.

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Everything that I have learnt is from the incredible Isla Ng who has given me this incredible opportunity. There are so many more things that you have to do as the main photographer, of course, but if you follow these simple steps you will be a very helpful second shooter. If you are an amateur photographer wanting to pursue a career as a wedding photographer, I recommend finding a photographer and being their second shooter. It is a perfect way to get experience as well as learning what to do and what is expected of you.