The Wedding Panic

Heads Up!

This article is several years old now, and much has happened since then, so please keep that in mind while reading it.

I remember the first time was asked to shoot a wedding. I was reluctant to say yes, but ended up doing it – assured that their alternative would be the brides mom with a point-and-shoot camera.
So I ventured out on untouched grounds.

And I should warn you that this article will be heavy on images ... but that should actually be a good thing right? This being a photography advent calendar and all ...

Ground Control to Major Tom

Do you know that feeling, where your brain – in panic of course – is yelling commands to your entire body … but it's like no body's taking the call?
That's pretty much how I felt that first time, in spite of me knowing the far worse alternative they had.

But it is really a shoot you just don't want to mess up. It's the shoot where you step up your game and do your best. And that's why you need to do a lot. Though it might be frightening and scary you just have to jump into it and learn from it.

So though it was my first time, I managed to get decent photos out of it. They are not in the same league as the ones I do now, but I dare show some of them to you anyhow.

And even though this was my first time doing a wedding, I managed to get some of the "mandatory" shots.
I knew absolutely nothing about wedding photography ... but I learned a lot from it.

You live –  you make mistakes ... but you learn

Looking back for research for this article I realised that over the years I have "perfected" some shots ... and learned always to do something "else" as well.

Let's look at some examples

Now ... these are not the average wedding shots. These I do for one thing: Storytelling!

Storytelling is very important to me when I shoot weddings. I might "only" be present in the church, outside of the church and then for the "actual" wedding shots – the formal portraits if you will.
Nevertheless I'm there to capture the essence of those moments. It is very likely my images they'll look at for years remembering the day. So the more storytelling I can put into them the better I feel I did a good job.

Let's see some more

Now .. do you see a pattern? NO?? .. let's try a few more then.


So now, it comes down to experience. What works and what does not. And of course planning. If the weather forecast is far from promising, then I try to use that to my advantage. Bring an umbrella. You get shots with a lot of storytelling in them. 

And then I try to capture as much "between" shots – if you get what I mean. Often, that's where the stories come out.

Well, Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?

Not yet. Not at all. I have done a bunch of weddings by now ... and I still "panic". The worst part for me is the initial shoot. The shoot at the wedding. Inside the church. The bride coming up the isle. The couple going out of the church. The greetings outside the church. That's where Ground Control and Major Tom are speaking two very different languages. But I have learned to use that adrenaline. I've learned to master the panic. And though I might be intimidated before a shoot, it's such a rush when it's over ... and that I like. Especially coming out of it knowing I've got some great shots.

But when it comes to the "formal portraits" I'm relaxed. I'm usually alone with the couple, so I call the shots ... I have time, and Ground Control and Major Tom are once again on the same wavelength.

I feel I have landed somewhere where I am comfortable doing weddings and I constantly evolve doing that, and I really hope by showing you some of the latest I've done, that you can see that evolution – and yet a pattern …

And I know that these are not award winning awesome wedding shots ... but I know they tell a story!


If you would like to see some more of my wedding shots, head over to Frozen Moments.

Thanks again for reading


Niels Steinmeier

Niels is on Twitter as