You need some tools to start with. I’m referring to the tools of business, not the tools you do business with. There is a difference. One will let you down, one will bring you down.  9As a Wedding Photographer you are expected to be both an artist, light technician, business person and a compassionate human being. To this I add, Psychiatrist, (aka The Runaway Bride) Master of Ceremonies, Arbitrator and sometimes a Religious Sponsor or coach like Jessie Jackson was for Michael Jackson, what a tragedy that turned out to be. He needed some real help and never got it from those around him.

You will also have purchased or rented suitable backup gear and be all knowing of photographic equipment especially digital gear, their idiosyncrasies, and purpose. You will be strong in portraiture or studio work so you know about lighting and facial size, proportion, angles and layouts. You will know the layout, lighting, paths of the Church, the Synagogue or Mosque, its rules, the Officiate, and memorized the reception beforehand. Sure you did... that defines a pro.

As trends change and as the consumer becomes aware of different trends and vogues, you have to increase your schooling with classes and seminars. You will expected to be early, stick with schedules, and stay late because we knew the Bride will never ever be on time. With all that expected of you, what’s the essence of the mentality to succeed in this game... your preparation, training, business sense and most important of all the ability to laugh it off...A sense of humor is a good start. 

Guides and checklists help keep things on track… Learn to use them.  A wedding is like that train ride I spoke about. As long as you stay on track things go well but a train that jumps track is an accident. Few trains ever jump back on track and it’s chaos from there. 

The wedding photographs you take may have to reflect a diversification of interests and taste. The entire wedding market has not totally embraced Photo Journalistic efforts and there are still many out there who are traditionalists.  Just gander at an old time Mint Julip Outdoor Old Southern Wedding.  They are like a trip back in time, very romantic and they find staircases at some of the mansions that cater. Rhett Butler and Scarlot O'Hara might just show up.

Many are very traditional or they go off the wall, sometimes unintentionally.  Because every couple is different, just as their family profiles are different, there is a chance without some form of list you might be shooting out in the cold. The initial interview with the Bride and advisors is vital to the clarification of the entire process and thats where you create the list and processes. You become part of the total process so they follow the same script you are on.  

This is like selling a house. All the realtors go on a walkthrough to become familiar with the property for sale thus you being there at the rehearsals and pre-parties is essential for you to know whats going to happen and when.

Changes occur and I’m not referring just to the weather either. Thats just a variable in conditions and lighting. A whole bunch of shots of insignificant people at the affair means lost revenue. Here is what some consider the “must-have” shots. By giving the Bride a chance to go over the list you save stress on yourself by ensuring that you will get the shots the Bride and you want. Get these in the bag and then go PJ or the hunter mode. So in these lists we combined traditional and PJ and a few off the wall scenarios.


Traditions change, we know people are different. Doves might be the thing to do at a very traditional wedding but Bats might be the right thing at a “Goth” ceremony. 

Pets are also being invited more and more to Weddings with some startling interludes. One was recently shown on Americas Funniest Videos.  

Nine weeks later they were happy and announced all seven pups on Craig's list.  Twenty years after the Wedding is long forgotten they’ll still be talking about what the pooches were doing.

Ethnicities may warrant a change in plans. Same sex Weddings, or companionship vows may warrant a few changes. 

In merry old England, home of great Irish whiskey and warm beer, sometimes the dry sense of humor they are known for went really wet as in thunderstorm.  It seems when shooting the grooms gang shots they decided that because the photographer was a woman, the six groomsmen decided to do some really obscene pranks. The moon out that night was nothing compared to the full “Mooning” and full genital exposure in one shot.  So good it made it to one of the forum websites on the web.  How did we ever live without the cellphone….

The gal photographer was mortified and embarrassed, she was not the poster, someone else, posted the occasion.  In one of my more compassionate moments, after she wrote me as to what to do...I made her a suggestion.  

I explained to the photographer how she should handle the situation.  

1-  Crop the shot to exactly 8x10.

2-  Open it up about 1/2 stop since Nikon expose slightly under about a third of a stop.  

3-  Make sure the hues and balance are correct. 

4-  Create a new layer and using the magnetic lasso, take the bad boys member out of the shot.

5-  Fill the same area with his pants using the clone tool.  

6-  Use the image size tool on the lasso’ed member and shrink it to 50%. 

7-   Place it in the appropriate position on the new layer and merge the layers.

8-   Have a  dozen 8x10's made.

8-   Send the Bridal party, the whole Bridal Party the finished shots. It really offset the prank and made the guy look like an idiot.  He’s the talk of the town now but not of anyone coming forth with  “penile envy”.  

I left room at the bottom of each for you to add your own. Some suggestions might seem to be a little odd. The funny part is I have seen some of them happen. I also will offer this in editable PDF format allowing you to change the sequence and make your own list. Download it, copy it, have a couple laughs, save a copy for the Wedding Director after you clean up the few laughs in there. The Funny version first. List two is the more serious version.