There are a few things that I learned the hard and not-so-hard way when I was first starting out as a wedding photographer. First, practice makes perfect. Second, your camera should be like an extension of your arm. Third, patience, persistence and passion for what you are doing are needed to survive the business. The first time that I attempted to be a photographer was when my uncle’s son got married. He owns a pretty good SLR digital camera and since he’s the groom’s dad – he handed over his role as the family photographer to me. I was pretty close to where the action was but I wasn’t familiar yet with the settings of the camera so whenever I attempted to get a pretty good shot of the couple during the ceremony, they either turned out blurred or out of focus.
During the formal shots, I was discreetly ‘stealing’ the photos taken by the professional wedding photographer by shooting at a different angle. I had to zoom in to get close-up shots of the happy couple – but as you may already know, the results when I downloaded the pictures later on were amateurish: a mixture of a few good shots, some which will do fine with a bit of fixing on PhotoShop – and a few really disastrous ones which are worth deleting. But I was determined to learn so I worked as a wedding photographer’s assistant – and later on finally managed to cover weddings on my own. Each wedding is definitely unique, and the mistakes that I made I took as an opportunity to learn. Now, I do consider my camera as an extension of my arm whenever I’m out covering weddings. Through dogged persistence, I was able to learn about the ins and outs of the wedding photography industry and I can tinker with the settings on my beloved SLR digital camera even with my eyes closed. But more importantly, I learned that passion for the work that you do is the key if you want to enjoy that immense sense of satisfaction on seeing the newlywed couple’s face light up as they see the results of your work – which is what I live and still work hard for these days.