Weddings are truly special events. They are literally the changing of one’s relationships. The new structure is cemented by vows and promises of love and devotion. This not only involves the participants, known as the Bridal Party, but all the members of the two families are now bonded (sometimes only temporarily and with really cheap glue) by matrimonial conduct and a little love, lots of sex, quick kids and a divorce when something new comes along.

If you have been asked to shoot a wedding....consider first a few steps to ascertain you know what you are doing.  So figure out how you got there.  Something usually starts with the Brides side. She asks you.  

No one in their right mind offers such responsibility with no gain unless they are nuts.  And it is usually accepted by someone who hopes to gain experience or the thrill of being important, or thinks very highly of their own skills. 

Ask yourself. “ Why Me”, What divine providence placed you in the center of the universe for this couple taking the vows? Was it your relationship with the newlyweds to be, or did they approach you because of your photographic prowess or knowledge? Is it a case of economics?  Was it those Teddy bear portraits on the couch that qualified you as a pro?

Should you have stayed on bed and not answered the phone?

“Why me” is always a good question. You might be asking yourself that later. Thank them for thinking of you in their hour of need, it’s not your hour of need. This should be a clue and bells should be going off.  If you didn’t understand this paragraph, please look up the expression “you have been had”. So we have to understand where you stand in this equation. Dry land or up to your ears in water…hot water. 

If you go ahead with shooting a Wedding, read and consider all of the following. It is an overview of a situation you are about to participate in and explains some of the consequence. I have seen beginners simply doing a friend a favor create a situation they could of easily avoided. Since I teach this game, make that a lot of situations I have seen that should of been avoided. It wasn’t that the photographer wasn’t talented and could with the program mode today get images but he wasn’t up to the situation and was easily overwhelmed. 


You learn from experience. I interviewed one of the top names in the business and asked him what it was like, the first few jobs.  He said “it’s one of the few times in my life, I was sweating, had a dry throat and an upset stomach all at the same time”. Then I got really nervous when I got out of my car and walked into the Church. 

I know that feeling. I have seen the good, a baby born of the sister of the Bride beginning the big move at the reception, it was a girl less than two hours later, a tad preemie but healthy. And “the look”, the beam in a woman’s eye on that special day when dreams are fulfilled and plans have come to fruition. It’s an emotional kick in the butt, a great ride for the Bride... when all six horses are in rhythm…but...

The DARK side of the force, like the trauma in Star Wars, can appear from nowhere.  There have been heart attacks; several Grooms or the Bride passed out cold or inebriated.  It's more common than you think. Emotions run high and it effects people different ways.  Brides emotionally shot and numb minutes before show time, and all of a sudden wake up and go bonkers.  And the no shows. Those hurt.

Once, the professional drunk father (as spoken about previous years of practice as an active alcoholic) of the bride passed out cold in the aisle. The Priest who knew him all too well (and his problem) let him lay there till the end of the ceremony. You don’t interrupt this Priests ceremony. He knew his flock.  

At that point several folks tried to help me carry him out of the way. He got a little violent with all those hands on him, took a swing caught me and ripped the front sync socket clear off a Mamiya C330 twin lens. I made a trigger from a paperclip for the synch.  I did the formals with an open shutter and a paper clip. I had a toasted finger after it was all over.

I managed to do the formals, then I finished the wedding in 35MM. The Bride whom I had known well told me she has never spoken to her father since that day. It seems that chronic alcoholism was a family issue. That’s sad. He went to the grave never knowing how much he hurt his daughter.  It's sad but abuse tends to show at these occasions due to stress.  

Occurs when something goes awry and the Brides eyes form slits and some reptilian creature is born. Hence I wrote what is called today, Bridezilla.  My article, a long, long time ago was originally called the “Devil Wore Black”  almost thirty years ago. I wrote it for the many amateurs who thought wedding photography is easy. It’s just that some of us make it look easy. But we never leave the house without TUMS or ROLAIDS. Here are some of the legal tips from the Photographer’s Standpoint.