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What I learned from shooting my first wedding

Over the years I've done family portraits, PR headshots, business groups, product photography, events, interiors, you name it . . . . but nothing quite prepares you for a wedding! In this instance, it was a fairly casual affair for a 'friend of a friend', and I was shooting in a team of two - but none of that made it any easier. I had to call on every one of those skills mentioned above, and switch between them seamlessly at the drop of a hat, in order to capture a set of shots from the day that really told the story.

Happily, the bride and groom were delighted with the images we submitted, shot over nine hours from guest arrivals at the church (in the rain!) through to the first dance - sending us this lovely review afterwards:

"My partner and I wanted a mixture of both formal and informal shots, our overall aim being to capture memories of the day. We initially met with Gill and Helen to discuss all aspects, and found them professional, helpful and friendly - offering many suggestions we had not considered. They later visited the church and the reception venue with us, so they could familiarise themselves with layouts, lighting etc. Throughout 'the day' they were friendly, smiley and discreet - our guests later commenting on how nice they both were!

The end results were fabulous, we were absolutely thrilled and delighted with the photographs they provided. I would highly recommend these ladies for any special event you wish captured on 'film'."

We were of course delighted ourselves to get this feedback, but what did we learn along the way? Firstly, shooting in a 16th Century church by not much more than candlelight, on a grey and rainy morning, is a serious challenge. A combination of low light and moving subjects are two of the hardest things for any photographer to deal with, which is why the lighting test the day before was so essential.

I was shooting the service as I use mirrorless cameras which have a silent shutter, so most of this responsibility fell to me. I know that the results would not have been as good as they were without great planning, both in terms of positioning within the venue, and also the best settings to use to balance light levels and shutter speed, so everything stayed sharp. There were still some compromises, but knowing I got the best images possible on the day is satisfying from a professional perspective.

Staying with planning for a moment, the fact that Helen and I worked out in advance exactly who would be responsible for what also made a huge difference. We split