I shot my last 20 weddings digitally and that’s the way most pros like it. But you can still use film if you prefer. If you are shooting film, try Kodak’s Portra line. It scans well and is balanced in such a way that whether you are working with 160, 400 or 800 speed, it looks like it goes together when printed. Kodak also has a B&W version of Portra that is very contrast tolerant and extremely smooth. Fuji’s NPS should also give you good results. Stay away from slide film since it has less exposure latitude.
Unlike many other photography jobs, wedding photography requires that you work very closely with your client. There is an emotional component to wedding photography that won’t be denied. Often your success as a photographer will be gauged not only by the quality of the shots you get, but also by whether or not the client likes you.
I usually try to stay in frequent e-mail or telephone contact with my brides to reassure them that I am prepared for their wedding. I also like to make sure that I know what kind of coverage they are looking for. Some brides will want lots of formal portraits while others will prefer a photojournalistic approach. Managing expectations is the key; so make sure that you and your client are in agreement.
SCOUT THE LOCATION
At least some of your success or failure on the big day will depend on how well you can use your location. Does the church have much natural light? Is the reception being held somewhere like a country club and if so, do they have a golf course you could use for a backdrop? Finding out what the location looks like in advance will save you time and frustration on the wedding day. If it’s not possible to scout the location in advance, try to arrive early enough to check things out beforehand.
SHOOTING ON THE BIG DAY
On the wedding day, I try to arrive around 20 minutes before I am expected. This way I have plenty of time to get my gear ready. I also don’t have to worry about traffic. My female assistant goes directly to the dressing room to photograph the bride and all her attendants. This allows us some special getting ready shots.