As a wedding photographer, there are many times during your career that it will seem easier or even essential to have a photography assistant when photographing people’s weddings. The extra help doesn’t have to be something to turn your nose up at. At Weddit, we’ve heard it all! Some photographers prefer to go at the game alone and want to be the Jack of all traits, while others recognise that photographing a wedding is a pretty tall order for one person and it does pile on the pressure when capturing shots, because you can’t be in two places at once! Having an assistant photographer definitely covers more ground too and when we say “ground”, we mean angles. More angles are covered people.
There are many benefits to going at the photography gig alone, as there are for having a photography assistant. The question is what kind of photographer do you want to be? Do you want to capture a wedding ceremony as a solo photographer or do you want help? In the beginning of your career as a photographer, you may not have an assistant or a team at the click of your hands, but you may find that circumstances change as time goes on, it’s more about choosing to use certain resources rather than obtaining them in this post. So, in this guide, we will share how to shoot a wedding alone without an assistant and maybe if you guys enjoy this post, we’ll write a sequel to this blog post, explaining how to organise a wedding photography gig with an assistant. Sound good? Well carry on reading and let us know what you think...
Shooting A wedding - Having a second shooter with you at a wedding gig is a great help when trying to take great photos and capture all of the valuable angles that you just can’t get there quick enough for yourself. Having said all that, it is possible to shoot a wedding solo, that’s right, all alone... You will need to manage your time perfectly and plan the photography gear which are going to need to use in order to capture the wedding pictures of the highest standard. Here are a few points that will help you to shoot a wedding alone:
Tip #1: Schedule Your Tasks - You should manage your tasks efficiently to get the work done on time. When solo shooting, it is important to divide the tasks up throughout the day and tick them off the list as you complete them. Of course, you’ll need to arrange a meeting with the Bride & Groom to get a rough idea about the schedule for the day. You’ll need some sort of idea how many hours they’re hiring you for and what part(s) of the day that covers in order to create your working timeline/ schedule. We recommend that you create a shot list and check them off after taking photos for each particular section in your schedule. It will also ensure that you are covering the happy couple, as well as the immediate family and other wedding guests. So, you may not feel that you need a photography assistant if you are organised and work swiftly.
Tip #2: Pick A Coordinator - Don’t be afraid to ask either one of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, friends or a family member of the couple to be your coordinator for a few of the trickier shots. They cannot help you with the camera or shoot, but you’ll get the support in managing people for the wedding photography. Let’s face it, they’ll know the people in front of the camera better than you will and if you tell them who needs to be in the photo, for example, an immediate family shot, they can help gather all members of the party and then you can take over and tell people where to stand e.c.t Talk your chosen coordinator about your schedule and shots that you need to capture. The communication between you two will make the solo shoot easy and a second assistant would be wasted on you! It’s not a bad thing at all if you have everything under control.
Tip #3: Familiarise Yourself With The Venue - It is important for you to check the location of the wedding venue when shooting solo, especially if you’re inexperienced as a photographer shooting a wedding. You can identify and mark positions to capture the shots that you need and you should also take this opportunity to find inspiration for the ceremony shots. Be inspired! Take the couple to the venue a day before the wedding and discuss the poses and frames that you’ve envisioned and also ask them for some input to ensure that you’re meeting their wishes as your client. If you set aside the time to pre-plan your shots, you’ll be perfectly capable of capturing every frame that you need without a photography assistant. For further advice about shooting a wedding, check out our blog post “Wedding Tips”.
Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here.