It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and its players and shooters are composed of all types of people;  Some with integrity and some without;  Some with the latest and greatest new gear and some with old gear;  Some with experience and a following; Some with one name or notch on the belt and that was a relative; 

Many have plans for the long run and building a solid business, and some with the weekend extra cash in mind and/or survival.  A good portion have increased their knowledge and proficiency base through training seminars and apprenticeship and a few just made it through Popular Photography devoting much of their time to reading the equipment ads.  It takes all kinds...

I will generously share all that knowledge I have gained through the years with you in a few hundred thousand words and hopefully you will have it all absorbed by tomorrow night when you go out on your own.  This is all about me and you. I made the mistakes, and will help you to avoid them. That’s what teaching is all about. I aim to toughen you.

I will try to guide you through the Wedding Process.  The latest cool word in our lexicon is PROCESS. As a wedding photographer, you are part of a process. The word processional comes from the word process. The processional for the Bride is the grand entrance of all the participants in the ceremony. Sometimes it is the parade of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

It’s generally when the mother of the Brides heart is the second loudest in the church. The loudest will be yours. Fear does that. The mothers fear is losing a daughter who now has a new advisor, her husband. Your fear is from all the things that can change as soon as the music starts and missing the big moment because their nerves have fell into a zone of oblivion. 


I once answered a blog post that someone had asked “Heavens! What on earth did those poor wedding couples do for thousands of years before the invention of all these rules, customs, traditions, electronic music and photography?  I replied, It was far simpler in the old days. 

“They enjoyed themselves… roasted a pig or a cow, swapped a few head of cattle, fed everybody, and stayed married for the rest of their lives till death did them part (they didn't live as long) and in some cultures never re-married.  

Then it became a business. Photographers, musicians, hall owners, dress designers, witch doctors, planners, consultants, advisors, relatives, and the clergy put their two cents in one at a time… total of $1.68 and ruined things... 

In the first scenario, the loser was the pig or the cow.  In the second scenario, the loser is the bride and groom, everybody else makes out.  Hmmm, we’ll look at it from the Photography standpoint, the other parts of the WEDDING are complex enough to warrant their own website and we call it part two.   The most important part of the equation is not what you think, it’s what you know.  Let us see what a Wedding really is...  


Weddings are truly special events. They are literally the changing of one’s relationships. The new structure is cemented by vows and promises of love and devotion. This not only involves the participants, known as the Bridal Party, but all the members of the two families are now bonded (sometimes only temporarily and with cheap glue) by matrimonial conduct and a little love, lots of sex, quick kids and a divorce when something new comes along.

If you have been asked to shoot a wedding...consider first a few steps to ascertain you know what you are doing.  Figure out how you got there.  Something that usually starts with the Brides side. She asks you.

No one in their right mind offers such responsibility or accepts such responsibility with no gain unless they are nuts. And it is usually accepted by someone who hopes to gain experience or the thrill of being important, or thinks very highly of their own skills. 

Ask yourself. “Why Me”, What divine providence placed you in the center of the universe for this couple taking the vows? Was it your relationship with the newlyweds to be, or did they approach you because of your photographic prowess or knowledge? Is it a case of economics?  “Why me” is always a good question. You might be asking yourself that later.

Thank them for thinking of you in their hour of need, it’s not your hour of need. This should be a clue and bells should be going off.  If you didn’t understand this paragraph, please look up the expression “you have been had”.   We must understand where you stand in this equation. Dry land or up to your ears in water…hot water. 

If you go ahead with shooting a Wedding, read and consider the following. It is an overview of a situation you are about to participate in and explains some of the consequence. I have seen beginners simply doing a friend a favor and creating a situation they should have easily avoided.

Since I teach this game, I bring it from some,  make that a lot of situations,  I have seen that should have been avoided. It wasn’t that the photographer wasn’t talented and could with the program mode today get images but he wasn’t up to the situation and was easily overwhelmed.   Being a good movie buff  (and a pilot for thirty plus years)  I know you have to be knowledgeable enough to fly the movie only plane when the pilot keels over.  In one movie a Cessna student pilot to lands a  Boeing 757-767-777, Airbus series liner, incredible.  But this only happens in the movies and he gets the stewradess. This is not a movie.

Weddings are fun occasions to attend and participate in as a guest.  As a guest, I said, all that food, drink, the friendly people, the fun, music, games and plenty of love is in the air.  The beautiful people dressed to the nines, high heels and cleavage for the boys benefit and half-drunk guys for the gals.  Sounds like fun. You were thrilled to accept the offer to Photograph a Wedding.

Then the alarm goes off and you wake up“Today I have to shoot a Wedding”.  And shooting a wedding can be quite a challenge to the new photographer and very intimidating if you haven’t had training in this area. Add to that, it can be financially self-destructive if you don’t get it right.

We do live in a sewer, that’s spelled SUE-ER society. And I guarantee to you, little of this with being able to take pictures. Most of the automated cameras today can take pictures. But when your weddings look like snapshots, ultimately you have failed the test.  

The attitude of “Winging it” can be very self-destructive because St. Murphy-Lawes, the patron Saint of Photographers is generally not on your side.  But “No fear” and “Winging it” are all too common these days with the advent of digital.

Photography is about the study of light, not the mantras of the photo equipment manufacturers.  Failures are because of a lack of preparation, training and a sheer lack of effort and study. Flash manufacturers, know this and they have automated their flash units to death, they call it integration. You get something of an image, and then I hear, just shoot it in raw and we'll correct it in Photoshop.

Are those who study the extreme use of sharpness, raw over/under exposure and bloated saturation which is the motivation behind an enormous cash flow in the general direction of ADOBE PHOTOSHOP products. I know I paid for the same upgrade bills you did but now I lease. POSTOGRAPHERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS are two different strokes.  One creates a mode that never existed and the other steals a precious moment of time.

Putting your hand in fire if you didn’t know what fire was, would be very common occurrence.  But as soon as a few of those Neanderthals got a few burned hands, a lesson was learned, and the caveman had it down pat.  That’s why he made the women do the cooking. No more burnt hands for the men.  (Read the whole story on

The Women being smarter, invented the shish-ska-bob and the stick.  Cave-men then went on to invent the club and challenge Saber-tooth tigers and Mastodons. More learning lessons were accrued and a few Saber-tooth’s bones showed human bones inside. They ate well…from the survivors we have learned two things.  

That men do like ribs done over charcoal fires except when they are theirs!
Saber-tooth's like their meat rare very rare and they think Cave-men taste like chicken. 

Let me be clear as a bell, no fear.  I’m not putting down newcomers to the game, I’m going to make you think so you will recognize potential problems and avoid them.   We all started somewhere and these are the tips for the newcomer to survive.   This site is to help you but done in a very callous way.  It’s a big undertaking and you might as well know what you are getting into.  It’s also for Brides and Grooms who also might be less knowledgeable on how to select a photographer. 

If it’s just a honky dory Justice of the piece back yard barbecue gathering with family and friends, have at it, good luck, party and have a good time. Best wishes to the Bride and Groom.  This site is for the structured Wedding professional when it puts the food on your table and failure is not an option.

Sometimes a poor applicant for a Pulitzer Prize meets the Bride who saw too many TV shows.  They run in the same circles and when they meet, it’s called a “impending crash”. When they agree to do it, it’s called “an impending disaster”.   It has another name, read on...

The Bride is challenging the Photographer to do a very difficult job without regard for his or her qualifications, knowledge or experience, on the one single most important day in a lifetime.  

She picked you because of friendship, frugality, convenience and she liked your Teddy Bear pictures.  The ones you did with a quick Strobist setup. You might be accepting the challenge without a clue as to what really is needed both in equipment, style, qualifications and experience. This is also what we call clueless meeting clueless... with the result meeting the great Russian Attorney Boris Kutsunutsoff   

Best you invest in some good reading and get a Wedding Planner Book , above and only ten dollars on Amazon and learn a few things about the process and the game. I have buddy who actually buys these books for Brides depending  on his instincts about a Brides personality and he uses the same one so they are on the same page. (Clever)


You learn from experience. I interviewed one of the top names in the business and asked him what it was like, the first few jobs. He said,  “it’s one of the few times in my life, I was sweating, had a dry throat and an upset stomach all at the same time”.  Then I got more nervous when I got out of my car and walked into the Church.  I know that feeling.

The beam in a woman’s eye on that special day when dreams are fulfilled and plans have come to fruition. It’s an emotional kick in the butt, a great ride for the Bride... when all six horses are in rhythm…but... The DARK side of the force, like the trauma in Star Wars, can appear from nowhere.  

It occurs when something goes awry and the Brides eyes form slits and some reptilian creature is born. Hence, I wrote what is called today, Bridezilla.  My article, a long, long time ago was originally called the “Devil Wore Black”,   almost forty-five or more years ago.

I wrote it for the many amateurs who thought wedding photography is easy. It’s just that some of us make it look easy.  But we never leave the house without TUMS or ROLAIDS. Here are some of the legal tips from the Photographer’s Standpoint.