First Time For Everything

Apr 14, 2019

Yes, I had decided. I had decided I could do the wedding.

I didn’t tell the Bride that up front, though. What I did tell her was that I would give her and her fiancé a free Engagement session around Saskatoon so they could see what I’m capable of and they could determine if they wanted me to photograph their wedding.

We chose a date in early May. It was still a bit cool out, but we had had some nice days. I was hoping for a nice day.

I wasn’t lucky enough. It was, indeed, sunny, but it was bitterly cold with wind. Unfortuantely, I was not prepared to do indoor photos. That was my first photography mistake. Always have a backup plan.

My Bride and Groom were troops, though. In spite of the cold, they braved the outdoors with me, following me to all the sites around the city that I had scouted out in the days that preceeded.

It was pretty cold out, though, so I didn’t want to ask them to take their coats off. That was my second photography mistake. I should have just been brave enough to ask them to take their coats off for a brief minute or two while I got the shot. Since I didn’t, I ended up with a lot of black jacket in all of the photos. Dammit.

We spent a long time outside that day. We went to, I think, six different locations in the city including the Train Bridge, an alley on 20th street with some excellent graffiti, a school park, and all over the University grounds. With all the driving around, and all the locations, we ended up spending 2 hours on their Engagement shoot, easily.

By the two hour mark I found my brain getting foggy, running out of pose ideas. All of the research in to posing and framing and angles seemed to get lost. I felt overwhelmed. Then the weather turned.

We were on our way to my last chosen spot to get Saskatoon in the background of their photos, but the weather disagreed with the plan. Snowy flurries started to fly reducing visibility, the wind biting our cheeks and hands, and we agreed we were not going to follow through.

We were still on University Grounds so we went inside the Agriculture building to get out of the weather and try to get some more photos, these ones without their jackets. Somewhere I could take the time to focus on the engagement ring, too.

I was under-educated on the necessity of off camera flash at this point (that has changed a lot since then) so I was upset to discover, later, that most of the photos I took inside were blurry and unusable. If I had had an off-camera flash…they would have been sharper to say the least.

So far, this blog post has turned in to a ‘poor me’ type of post, reflecting on the things I did wrong.

Here’s the thing, though…if you don’t recognize what you did wrong and where your shortcomings are, how will you ever improve on them?

It is also valuable to know where you started so that when you reflect on where you are now you can see how far you’ve come.


I may have been disappointed in myself and what I did, thinking I could have done better, but at the end of the day….

…the Bride and Groom loved the photos I selected and edited (learning Photoshop is a whole other journey in itself) and they wanted me to photograph their wedding in August.

There was my final mistake. Assuming that just because I didn’t think I’d done well, that no one would think I had. I underestimated the emotional value of those photos to the couple.

So here are my reflections on that first experience of my photography career.

  1. Always have an indoor backup plan in case the weather doesn’t work for you.
  2. Limit your location choices so you aren’t travelling all over town.
  3. Be prepared with poses and don’t be afraid to use your cheat sheet to ensure you get the photos your subject wants.

Don’t underestimate the value your work to the subject.

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