Today’s your first wedding

January 11, 2018

Dear Arielle,

Today’s your first wedding and I wanted to tell you a few things…

Firrrst of all, when the father of the bride says “the photographers here” when you walk in the door, DON’T look around for the photographer…. he’s talking about YOU girlfriend! Own it! It’s crazy to me, but some sweet couple has decided to trust you to capture one of the most special days of their lives. So no matter how weird it feels, wear “The Photographer” title proudly! They’ve paid you to! Somehow, someway you’ve worked hard at convincing people you can be trusted with this huge task, and you know what?! You can!!

Even though you’re going to rock it, let’s go ahead and plan to be extra prepared though! Are your bags packed from the night before? Great! Are your cards all cleared and is there enough space on them? Perfect!! How about those batteries? Do you think you have enough juice in them to last the whole day?? Ok awesome!! Looks like you’re on the right track!

Letttt’s just go ahead and plan to arrive to the church a half hour before the time we told them! Mmk? That way when we happen to get out the door 10 min after we thought we would, get stopped by that train and need to grab a Starbucks on the way, we will still be a few minutes early! Nothing’s worse than being paid to shoot 10 hours but only being there for 9.5 hours of that time!

OH! And do me a favor! Can you make sure before you walk out the door to have on some comfortable shoes? Preferably closed toed with some cushion! Thanks so much! I promise you’ll thank me later 🙂 And while we’re at it, let’s just go ahead and look extra professional and put on a nice dress! It will trick people into thinking we’re extra savvy at this “professional photographer” thing and maybe they’ll even think we’ve been in this business for longer than one whole day!

So other than not looking around for someone else when people say “there’s the photographer”, let’s chat about a few other must do’s!

You’re gonna need to go ahead and memorize the bride and grooms parents names! Kudos to you if you can even get the bridal parties names down! That way throughout the day you don’t have to be saying, “ok now mom and Sarah for this one” or “Hey, you, the tall one can you move to the left a little?” Then at the end of the day you can go up to the father of the bride and say “Brian, thank you SO much for allowing me to come be a part of your daughters wedding. It was the perfect day!” Did you know that the sweetest word to anyone in their language is their name? It’s an easy personal touch that makes you stand out! So let’s be on top of that one! It also makes it more fun and personal for you to know the people better on the day!

And while we’re at it… let’s memorize some poses so we don’t have to be pulling out our Pinterest app to jog our memory! Just 5 or so will do! No need to get too artsy with stuff, it’s only your first day, so play it safe and don’t miss the important shots!!

Speaking of not missing important shots, please oh please, for portrait time, start with a traditional shot of the bride and groom looking and smiling at the camera! We don’t want to get to the end of the day and realize that we have a ton of cutesy artistic shots but no traditional shots. I mean, what would they send to grandma?

Let’s just go ahead and since it’s your first wedding, let’s write down a MUST HAVE shot list! I mean it couldn’t hurt right? That way you can check them off as you go and you’ll know you got the ones you HAD to get before leaving for the day! You won’t always have to have this because it will become second nature to you, but for now it’s a great tool! You can even have your second shooter be keeping track for you for the day!

Which is one of hundreds of reasons you should have a second shooter! I’m so glad you decided to bring one along with you for today! Especially for the first time around, it makes everything so much more laid back and gives you an extra set of hands and eyes! In a year or so you’ll decide that you can go a couple years without a second shooter, but then you’ll come to your senses and never shoot another wedding without one! 😉

There’s honestly probably a million things I could write to you or teach you before this big day, but ya know what?! You have PLENTY of time to learn! The couple knew this was your first wedding and they trust you, so let that sink in and go ahead and trust yourself! You’re prepared and ready for this!

Above everything, HAVE SO MUCH FUN! This is the start of one of the greatest things that will ever happen to you, so take each moment in and celebrate this couple! They’re getting married today and you get to capture their first day as husband and wife! How cool is that?!

So take a deep breath and get ready to have the time of your life!

With love,


(Some shots from my first ever wedding, of my super sweet couple, Melissa + Mark, from August 7th, 2010) 🙂