Lessons Learned from someone else's mistakes

Earlier this summer,Saguaro Shadows Photography was asked to help a friend with a wedding. The friend had been requested to shoot a wedding, and they had agreed. Our friend is an amateur, and asked for help. We went to the wedding intending to provide guidance on shot setup, posing, etc. We brought our cameras, just in case. We ended up needing them, and doing a lot more than originally planned...

...and learning some lessons along the way.

The primary photographer captured many good images during the course of the ceremony. But they also missed several key moments due to some very simple mistakes.

  • Know your equipment - The primary photographer was not familiar enough with their equipment to understand the various modes and behavior of the camera. This led to incorrect settings at times, causing blurry pictures due to very slow shutter speeds. This is really no different than the old rule of never take a new piece of equipment out on an important shoot before you've tested it and know how to use it.
  • Watch the settings - Photographer was not watching the aperture and shutter speed choices the camera was making, and did not recognize when the shutter speed was dropping too low. They were relying on the "scene" mode they had chosen to make the correct choices, which it was not.
  • Watch your power - Photographer had spare batteries for the camera and flash, but they were not ready at hand. Also, they didn't recognize when the batteries were running low. This lead to shots being taken without the flash firing, again resulting in very slow shutter speeds and blurry images. They didn't realize how many flash shots they had taken prior to the ceremony. They could have used some of the downtime before the ceremony or right after the ceremony to change to fresh batteries for the next phase of the shoot.
  • Watch your focus The primary photographer was using a lower end, competitor camera. Many of their shots were out of focus, and they should not have been. The photographer was not "chimping" enough to understand they were missing shots because of bad focus.
  • Meet the client - The photographer knew one set of the parents, but had never met the bride and groom prior to the wedding. Getting to know the bride and groom prior to the week of the wedding will create a better and more trustful relationship. You'll be closer to being a friend of the family rather than just hired helped. We always schedule an engagement shoot with the couple weeks or months before the wedding, just so we can begin to establish that relationship.

When we realized the primary photography was struggling, along we making suggestions on how to fix their problems, we pulled out our equipment and start shooting side by side.

In the end, there were enough good pictures from the primary photographer and our own to salvage the shoot and avoid a disaster. But proper planning and understanding of the equipment could have avoided any lost opportunities.

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This page contains a single entry by Rick Paul published on September 12, 2009 6:59 AM.

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Quality Printing is the next entry in this blog.

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