Shooting your first wedding ever is a lot like falling in love.
Falling in love if you take every terrible part of falling in love and take out all of the good parts.
Your emotions are running high, you’re deathly afraid of doing something wrong and there is a beautiful woman you’re trying to impress.
I still remember the stress of my first wedding like it was yesterday.
To be clear, this wasn’t technically my first wedding, I had done two weddings the year before, but this was the first wedding where I felt I was actually getting paid real money. I wasn’t doing this on a dime for experience, I was an official wedding photographer who was expected to make great photos because that’s what they paid for.
It was terrifying.
I think I spent weeks researching wedding poses and elaborate poses and scenes for the wedding party that I found on Pinterest. I had so many poses and ideas written down that I was fully prepared to keep the bride and groom and all of their bridesmaids and groomsmen busy all day with portraits.
That mindset made a nerve-wracking experience all the more stressful with a hundred different ideas bouncing around in my head.
I worried so much about the poses, that the actually bare bones of photography was really far away from my mind. By saying that, I mean the easy to remember basics, which I employ for portraits more than anything else.
Of course, it’s easier for me now, because I have a lot of poses in my repertoire that I can go to without thinking, but now I can relax enough to think about simple things: where is the light, what’s the light doing, are the bride and groom relaxed, what angle is best and so on and so forth.
For doing a first real wedding, I couldn’t have chosen a better couple than Stacey and Richard. They were absolutely the sweetest couple I can ever imagine. I was introduced to them through a mutual church friend. Stacey was in Christian Ministry and her and Richard met through their church only a six months before their marriage.
It was a whirlwind romance and the two were so very sweet toward each other.
I met them early in the day and we actually went straight to Humboldt Park in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee to do the first look and take portraits.
It was an awesome time, because they scheduled so much time to take portraits before the wedding, that even though I was working slow at times because I was letting the situation get ahead of me, I still had plenty of time to get so many great photos. We even had plenty of time to do fun and nerdy photos that Stacey and Richard were all about!
The wedding ceremony itself was a doozy of a setting for the wedding, because it was set at Mercy Hill Church in Bay View and for anyone that’s been inside of that church it is super dim lighting with candles and lights which make it a beautiful venue for events, but an absolute nightmare of logistics for a photographer. They even had a pillar in the middle aisle that I constantly had to shoot around.
Make no mistake, it’s a great place for a wedding, especially for a couple that wants a beautiful venue with beautiful lighting, but the human eye is incredibly more adaptable and sophisticated than the camera.
The reception was in the same place, which was very nice to be able to relax and stay in the same place while tables were rearranged and a dance floor was prepared. The building the church was in was also a renovated factory building.
Using this fascinating factory/urban setting we took an elevator to the second floor of the building and took even more couple portraits. It still remains one of my most innovate and unique photo shoots.
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