You’re welcome, thenegativeone. I hope it all helps in some way.
And I hope I didn’t come off as too arrogant with my “I say no to seconds or assistants with no training”. I hope people did get the impression, and I do, say yes to shadowing. I’ve actually had a few (from my local college and university), shadow for the day and decide wedding photography wasn’t for them. It can be an eye-opener. Anyway, as I said before, hone up on the skills you have and need as much as possible. Become comfortable with people and comfortable with conducting people. And above all, have confidence in your abilities. Always be confident and ensure everyone on the day sees your confidence. It always gives me a chuckle when a couple comes to meet me for the first time, and tells me “I don’t want to look posed or be told what to do and want candids”. Without fail, honestly, five seconds after arriving at the formals location, the bride will look at me and ask, “where do you want us and what do you want us to do?”. You really are the conductor for an orchestra. Even without asking, everyone will be looking to you for direction (not necessarily the literal meaning but they do look to you as the “one in charge”), and should you for a minute falter, they will lose confidence in your photos and that will show in those photos. Yes, that’s bad. So, confidence. And should your confidence falter slightly, bury it. Take a breath, adjust the camera settings, take the “bad” shot where after setting up the bridal party you see it doesn’t quite work so they don’t know it doesn’t and move ’em all again for the shot you really had in mind. Never let on that something did not go to plan. As far as people know, every breath you took was part of your big plan for the day. Never stumble, stagger or mumble. Always smile and be friendly. It’s a happy day after all and for the most part, everyone there wants to be there and are happy that the couple is getting married. Work the happiness and it’ll permeate you and you’ll be a little more relaxed too and more able to lead them all to wonderful photos.
And…Thomas…what a great story. How similar to me in that I was never fond of the “you can’t go back and do it again” along with so many people to conduct. I was trained, I knew what to do and how to do it but for some stupid reason I can no longer fathom because it was so long ago, I was intimidated. Until the first time I finally said yes and I can’t understand why I didn’t start sooner. It’s not a career for everyone but I enjoy each and every wedding.