Over my sister’s nine month engagement, I told many people that I would be photographing her wedding. The most overwhelmingly common response was a mix of horror and amazement. “HOW can you photograph your sibling’s wedding and still enjoy it??” was the most common question. I am one week out from her wedding and I can sincerely say that it was a wonderful and emotional experience that I would not have traded for anything. Today, I want to share 5 “Must-Do’s” if you plan on photographing a sibling’s wedding. Bonus if you make it to the end: SURPRISE WEDDING VIDEO for my beloved sister and brother-in-law. Enjoy!
Yes, they are your sibling, but the fact of the matter is that this is still a wedding. A wedding is a huge undertaking, photographically speaking, and you want to make sure you have all the details down. Go through the motions of your normal planning/check-list that you do with every couple. You may think you know your sibling like the back of your hand, but you may be surprised! Their future spouse may have preferences that you didn’t expect as well. Make sure you talk through *everything* so that you feel 100% confident going into the wedding day.
Yes, you are the photographer, but you are also photographing your sibling’s wedding. This is not a normal client, even if you treated them as such up until this point. I got my hair and makeup done with my sister, her mother and sister-in law, her best friend, and our mother. Feeling like I was pampered and part of the festivities was essential to enjoying the day. I was taking pictures and video clips throughout the morning but also pausing to laugh, chat, drink mimosas, and get ready with all the girls.
My mom took the photo above of my sister and I in her bathroom and I know it’s one I will treasure forever. With the proper settings, the focus set to center, and choosing the best light, I was able to show her which button to use for focus and get myself “in the frame”.
I also took the opportunity later to snap a photo of myself in the full-length mirror of the bridal suite. It’s important to remember that you were there too!
I cannot stress this enough, a second photographer is essential. While handing your camera off occasionally works, don’t attempt this for your family portraits. Having my friend Christine there was crucial. She was able to photograph the groom and groomsmen while I spent time with my sister. During the cocktail hour, she took over formal portraits when it was our side of the family’s turn. She also was critical back-up during the ceremony in case I missed focus while bawling my eyes out! I truly could not have done it without her.
Over the course of the entirety of a day of wedding coverage, there is a lot of down time. You have crucial times when you need to be ON YOUR GAME like the ceremony, the special dances, the speeches, and the portraits but there’s a lot of in-between. Take advantage of these in-between moments! Don’t feel like you can’t enjoy the wedding like a normal guest because you are a guest and the photographer. Eat a taco, drink a margarita, spin your child on the dance floor. Go talk to that family friend and hug that long-lost Aunt. Of course, most of this advice only works if you have a really chill sister, but luckily I do!
Without further adieu, I would like to share a photo-video montage I have been hard at work on over the last week. My videography skills leave a lot to be desired but I know the recipients will treasure this memory of their day. Love you Taylor and Marcus!
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