6 years ago I shot my very first wedding at Navy Pier here in Chicago! My good friend Aga was finally going to walk down the aisle and marry her best friend, Rob. Aga knew I was into photography and her being on a shoestring budget, she asked me to shoot her wedding. I had no experience shooting any type of session let alone a wedding so I was a bit thrilled when she asked me to shoot one of the most important days of her life.
I was also terrified at the thought of messing up her wedding photos. But I thought to myself “maybe I could actually do this! Maybe I could be a professional photographer!”. I did so much research on wedding photography that evening. From lighting to posing, to what flashes to use, how many SD cards I would need that day, etc. I even went out and bought my first prime lens, a Nikon 50mm 1.8 for her wedding because of thats what all “the pros” recommended for a newbie like myself to have in my camera bag.
Well, the day came and I headed to the Congress Hotel in downtown Chicago and walked into the bride’s room and began shooting. I don’t think I put down my camera once in the 6 hours that I was there. I was so nervous but at the same time, I had such an amazing time with my friend and her family. There was something magical about documenting a wedding and especially a wedding for a friend. However, I got lucky. I shot on Auto. NEVER shoot on Auto!
At the time I knew nothing about manual settings or even how my camera worked really. I didn’t know anything about good lighting, something that has taken me years to learn. I ended up pulling my first paid ($150) gig off and the bride loved her photos. At the time that is. You see the bride followed my work for years after I shot her wedding day and could see just how far along I had come and how not so great her wedding photos really were.
I was proud of my work that day when I rushed home to look through my files. BTW thank GOD I shot in RAW. That smart decision saved my butt! Looking back at this wedding, it could have been much worse. I’ve seen worse and I’ve seen better from a new photographer. My advice to anyone looking to get into this field studies under a pro. Second, shoot as much as possible and learn your craft. Develop your own style and never stop progressing in your field.
I have been a wedding photographer for 6 years now and I still take classes on photography. I keep up with the latest pro-equipment. You never stop growing as an artist and you shouldn’t either. There is always so much more for us to learn in this industry and the knowledge is out there for you to grasp! Happy Shooting everyone and I hope as you view my first wedding that it will teach you one important lesson. Never give up on your dream.
The bride and my very handsome husband who was in his dress uniform <3
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