Never shoot a wedding without a backup.  Even if this is just a one shot experience, I wish you the best of luck and may I forward you my nephews phone number, he is an attorney in Washington.

On that note, ever wonder why most big game rifles in Africa are what we call “doubles”?
First the doubles gun is two chambers, separate triggers, in essence, redundancy and simplicity. No clips or stack feed hang-ups to shut this baby down. A miss is backed up by a complete self contained barrel, chamber and firing mechanism. 

The second point for the doubles gun is that it is fast, very fast. Another rule of caution is bring extra ammo when what you shoot has bigger teeth than you and they appear in this photo to be well taken care of. No sweets…

This prevents, providing the user is qualified to shoot it, from being eaten or mangled by what YOU intended to eat or mangle. Thus, I made this site to make you think and give you some clues as to what to do so that you can pull it off. It’s no fun being a mere burp in a Lions belly or eventually a participant in Dung Beetle Football.

So your best “A” rig goes bad during the processional. Unlikely you are going to stop the whole thing telling the bride to stand still while you fix the camera. Don’t think so. The pro reaches over and grabs the backup, continues on. The amateur has just lost the battle… There will be lots more on this subject but briefly a few points. Just a short sample of what we will discuss and how fast you can get in trouble.

Some newbies are so hyped up with their newfound toys and minor successes they have nothing to fall back on. When I learned to shoot weddings I went out with a gaggle of pros for almost four months, actually four different guys to observe, grasp and learn to gain something from each of them. They each had a style and other than the required shooting for the albums did things differently. 

When I first started satin dresses were the hot item, the newer synthetics may be just as shiny but you will find out what moiré’ is. So, if you haven’t a clue as to what happens to bridal dresses with high Rayon or shiny Silk content or don’t know how to meter a Black Tuxedo, learn quickly. The Rayon will create a moiré’ or specular pattern and a Black Tuxedo can throw the whole scene off if you let the pipper in the viewfinder land on it. 

Know your gear, what’s that error message? Simply put you don’t have the time to drag out the book at a Wedding. No time outs in this game. Is your gear suitable for the job at hand? That 50 mm lens won’t work from the back of a 200 foot Catholic Church with dim lighting. Neither will a 300 if it’s a F 5.6, has no image stabilization, you forgot the tripod. No FLASH allowed as is the case with most Catholic Churches.

Backups? Failures are not uncommon and there are things you can do to prevent double trouble. St. Murphy is the Patron Saint of all Photographers. He wrote many Laws. Like, if it can break, sooner or later It will break.  Borrow or rent a spare camera if needed for redundancy. You’d hate to have to finish the Wedding with a disposable. 

At one time all flashes were not equal. Few manufacturers units hit over a guide of 120 realistically. Many pros shoot with guides of 160–200–400 watt seconds, but today things are different. Higher ISO’s from the camera, faster lenses, and / or rent a decent flash unit. Ever wonder why Pro’s spend as much on their lighting gear as they do on their cameras?  Now we have cameras that will work with lesser strobes with a few tricks.