Academic Counselors Recount Their Experience as Wedding Photographers for the Day
Academic Counselor Andrea Higham, currently a student in the Associate of Science in Photography program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, was recently approached by a friend about shooting a wedding on a budget. Though she had never photographed such an event before, Andrea accepted, inviting along fellow Academic Counselor Ali Barry, who recently completed her Associate of Science in Graphic Design at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division.
Ali recounted the experience as follows: “Going into the day, I really didn’t know what to expect. I feel like I have been to 30 weddings in the past two years, but never gave too much thought to the role a photographer plays.
“The morning started as we arrived at the bride’s family home. We spent a few moments introducing ourselves and then got right to work. Initially, I felt very awkward about being a stranger in someone’s home. I knew I was invited, but it is strange photographing people informally as they go through a very personal process of getting ready for a wedding.
“As the day proceeded, I gained confidence in interjecting myself into the private moments that this new family wants to capture. By the end of the day, we were telling them what we wanted, not the other way around. I could not imagine having done this for the first time without another photographer. There are too many events and pieces of tradition to try and photograph alone. It was also really nice to have someone there to talk to and bounce ideas off of and to hang out with during the down time. Shooting the wedding and editing the photos was a lot of work, but I would definitely do it again.”
Though Andrea had experience as a Photography student, she approached the assignment with a bit of trepidation. She remembers, “When I was approached about shooting a wedding, I was very hesitant about it. I have been in school for about year now, and before this wedding I did not have a chance to really photograph people. In my classes, I was always able to get by with shooting objects, places, and random things. I even went as far as buying two wooden model figures from an art store to use as pretend people for an assignment to avoid the awkwardness of having to ask people to model for me. So, this was my chance to really push myself past this fear of photographing people.
“I think one of the things that made it less stressful was having a friend with me. Ali had never done this before either, so we were in the same boat. It was a little uncomfortable at first, meeting everyone that day, but then it hit me; these people want to be photographed. This is their special day and I better take as many pictures as I can so that I don’t miss anything. I guess I got a little carried away because before the ceremony was even over, I ran out of memory! But with an extra memory card (thanks to Ali) and some photo deletions, I was able to keep going.
“One of the great things about weddings is that are plenty of them and people pay good money to make sure they have great pictures of their special day. One day when I was talking about the wedding, a friend overheard me. Next thing you know, he had me agreeing to shoot his wedding in Jamaica! I don’t know if this will be a long-term path that I walk down, but at least I am getting some experience."
Andrea was quick to provide guidance to those who might walk down her path, based on her experience “My advice to anyone doing this for the first time would be to make sure you have a lot of memory and an extra battery!” she said. “Also, it is a lot easier to get all of the shots that you want with two photographers and two cameras. And lastly, when in doubt, act like you know what you are doing. The more confidence that you have, the better you will do and the more comfortable your bride and groom will feel!”