Dear A&J,

First of all I want to thank you both for always being so helpful, and sharing some of your knowledge with other photographers! When I started my business 6 months ago, I never planned on being a wedding photographer. After all, I’m 15, and never thought anyone would trust me enough! However, a close friend of mine asked me to photograph her wedding, because she loves my style and has been able to watch me grow in my photography. This was actually one of my prayers/goals for 2015, so of course, I am so excited! I was just wondering if you had any advice for shooting my first wedding? I appreciate any advice, as I’m still fairly new to this!

Sincerely,

MN

WOW, M! Congratulations! What a BIG honor! We still remember shooting our first wedding solo! The butterflies in our stomach had their own butterflies! And we were NOT fifteen! Go girl. We admire you for taking on the incredible challenge of a running photography business at such a young age. Heck, at any age! You’re making us feel like grandparents of photography! Every wedding day is such an adrenaline rush, and there are so many things to think about. Which leads us to wonder what we could say. Where to start? There are so many things we could tell you, but here are the first three things that came to our mind:

1. Be more than a photographer. Be a coach, an encourager, an advocate, and a friend. Offer your sleeve if it’s needed and even the shirt off your back (which happened to us once and is another story for another day!) Let your first instincts always be to love and serve. Love and serve. Marinate in that. Let it invade every area of your heart and become woven into the fabric of your very being, because the way we treat people matters as much as the photos we give them, so love and serve people all day in every way you can. Walk onto that wedding day with a servant’s heart and go out of your way to make people feel cared for and special. Also, smile. A lot. Be an ambassador of joy. That’s what the day’s all about — joy — and it’s what we should be all about, too.

2. Dress for the job. This is especially important when you’re young. You’ll be making a lot of first impressions on that wedding day, so choose something that reflects what you want to project. We avoid wearing all black like the plague, because it seems to scream, I’m just another vendor! Instead wear something well-put-together, cute, classy and professional, like a pencil skirt with a nice blouse and some accent pieces. Even though you’re young, people will take you seriously if you treat yourself professionally. And on that note, wear comfortable shoes! Your feet will thank us later!

3. Have a plan and get prepared. Offer to second shoot or even third shoot/assist for wedding photographers in your area between now and your wedding, so you can see what photographing a wedding is like before diving in. It’s so different than a portrait shoot for so many reasons, and you’re going to feel so much more confident if you can walk onto your first wedding day with as much on-the-job wedding day experience as possible. The more wedding-specific education you can absorb between now and then, the better. Spend some time writing out a timeline and figure out what you want to accomplish during each portion of the day. If you just show up, you’ll easily feel paralyzed because there’s so much going on. If you have a plan and know what shots you need, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and serve your clients the way they deserve to be served.

We are so excited for you! Cheering you on!

El Chorro Wedding_0127

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Alisa
14 comments
filed in: Education

    Anna Padilla

    Absolutely love this!!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Well we love YOU, Anna!!

    Sarah Pilon

    This was very helpful!! I'm shooting my first wedding next month and I'm so nervous! I love getting advice from photographers who have been there and tell it like it is. Thanks!!

    Amy & Jordan

    Of course, friend! So glad it helped! Just remember, if you do nothing else, love and serve :) It's the winning formula.

    Grace

    Thanks for the tips! I'm 15 also and have just been asked to shoot a wedding in November. So nervous!

    emily sommer

    Do you have any advice for how to initiate with photographers in the area to be a second or third shooter? I have asked my mentor (who is taking a break from weddings for a while because of the ages of her kids) and she is looking into it. What else can I do to be proactive? I have been asked to shoot a wedding next summer, and as helpful as it is to read about shooting a wedding, I need the experience! Thanks!! P.S. I've absolutely loved reading your blog posts. Thanks for being so generous with your knowledge.

    Olivia

    Great advice! These people are SUCH GREAT TEACHERS and ENCOURAGERS!!! I remember the first time I shot a wedding I was 14.

    Amy & Jordan

    Fourteen?!?! Wowza!!! That's incredible. You have us beat by about ten years :)

    Isabel Trejo

    Thank you so much for the tips, it really helps me a lot! ☺

    Amy & Jordan

    We're so glad! Thanks for reading!

    Elizabeth Waterman

    Already shot several weddings, but still have much to learn and find all of your articles helpful! Thank you for serving, loving, and investing in people!

    Amy & Jordan

    Awesome, Elizabeth!! Thank you so much for sharing that with us! Thank you for your super sweet words! We're cheering for you! <3

    Karen

    Where are the best places to stand as the photographer during the ceremony in a church? I'm the only photographer so want to make sure to get the shots without being in the way.

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Karen! Great question! Our lead shooter usually kneels at the front of the church (and stands when the processional starts) OR sits on the inside of the second or third row, like a guest, and shoots from there. So, if we were shooting alone, that's what we'd do! Hope that helps!