This past weekend I recently had the pleasure of photographing a great friend of mine’s wedding on Captiva Island in Florida. It was a beautiful beach wedding with wonderful weather and this incredible couple. They were so photogenic!

Fresh off of my first filming of a wedding this was my first photographing of one. I was nervous leading up to it, but I knew I could come away with cool shots. I also knew I would make mistakes and just flat out miss some things. To be honest, I think I did better than my expectations. I did hit some goals I had set: I shot 3,000 photos and edited it down to about 700 for the couple.

I have even more respect for wedding photographers now! It is definitely a lot of work and have major appreciation for those wedding photographers that are so skilled at what they do. I appreciate the help of so many of those wedding photographers who have active blogs that I’ve followed (Jasmine Star, Joe Elario, Rosie Hardy, Jamie Delaine, among others) and those that have given me great advice, like Leslee Mitchell.

I plan to create a short video that will give advice for those people shooting their first wedding, not because I’m an expert now because I’ve done one, but because I have done my first one and want to share while it’s fresh on my mind. Also I may do a post comparing doing video and photography for a wedding.

Technical stuff: I mainly shot with my 28mm for everything but the ceremony, which I used the 70-200mm. I love the 28mm lens, that’s my go to lens now on the 7D and I just zoom with my feet when it’s on. When it came time to get down during the reception I threw on the 15-85mm with the flash and stofen diffuser and rocked it out!

More often than not I found myself ditching trying to put the flash off camera and just ran with it in ETTL on the hot shoe for all the dancing. It did a better job than I expected, but couldn’t have been possible without that diffuser on it.

With my big ole battery grip I did not change my batteries once! I was really surprised by that. The other piece of gear I would highly recommned and made my day a lot easier, was the R-strap. The strap that comes with Canons are pretty worthless and get in the way more than it helps, and it cuts into my neck. The R-strap is very cumfy and gives your arms a rest while not tweaking out your neck.

Since it was a wedding beach it gave me a nice 360-degree playing field so I could run all the way around the ceremony, but that also meant that everyone was pretty tight together and it was hard to get some shots. The wedding party shots went by in a blur, I’m glad everyone was there on the lookout to get all the pictures in. It was hard to keep track of everyone and all the different combinations of people. The bride was on top of her game for that – thanks Rachel!

The portraits were a blast and they were so easy going about it. We basically did 3 different portait sessions, one before the ceremony around the time we did the wedding party pictures along with the first look. Then straight after the ceremony, and then again at sunset. I think that allowed us to get many different looks and locations and it spaced it out for the couple so as not to stretch their patience.

Shooting in full sun on the beach was not as brutal as I had expected. Although, when the groom first walked up he was in the shade of the arbor with his bride in full sun. Luckily he didn’t stay in it long, otherwise it might have been some very contrasty pictures with her really bright and him kind of dark. I will talk more about some things I learned when I put together a short video – stay tuned!

I met Clay probably in Junior High, but we didn’t become really good friends until he convinced me I should quit football in high school and run track. Once I joined the team we got to be really good friends and spent a lot of time together training and racing. My first year running, as a high school sophomore, I ran a 4:38 mile and knew he was right, so I quit football. If it wasn’t for him I would not have accomplished so much in my running career – thanks for making me see the light buddy!

His older brother, and best man, was also the first person to take me rappelling, which helped give me the bug at a young age to get into climbing, and later, mountaineering. So their whole family has had a positive influence on me and it was great fun to hang out with them and their new extended family over the weekend.

Clay is a terrific guy and Rachel is a very sweet girl. I know they are great for each other and it was beautiful to watch their love glow on their wedding day.

The trip was great fun and I think I spent more time in the ocean at night than during the day. I haven’t googled it yet, but we were amazed at whatever phenomenon makes little glowing dots in the water at night. I’m assuming it’s some kind of plankton or something – anyone know?

Below are some of the photos I took at the wedding:

Here’s a little music from a great musician Ry Cuming to help set the mood, hit Play and scroll on down through the pics – enjoy!



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