Well, that was fun

Or wedding photography for a non-wedding photographer


Last Saturday I did something that I have never done before. I photographed a wedding.

I know, I’m still a little in shock myself. Anybody who knows me, will attest to the fact that I’m not most people’s first choice to shoot a wedding. And I’m completely OK with that.

Wedding photography is a specialized trade and there are many talented, local photographers whom I recommend when someone asks if I shoot weddings. These photographers have the right combination of talent and personality to succeed in a very competitive field. Of course, there are many amateurs out there who bill themselves as wedding photographers, but my hope is that the marketplace will guide them into a more appropriate field and future brides and grooms will be spared their services. But, I digress.

When asked for a recommendation of wedding photographers, I make the usual suggestions and add that they should never try to save money on photography. Those photos will have an import place in their lives for the duration of their marriage, so don’t skimp on this important area of the wedding. Truth be told, I was also a little relieved to have them look elsewhere for a photographer; I am better suited for other photography pursuits.

Jenn and Paul


I happened to end up shooting Jenn and Paul’s wedding through the recommendation of Jenn’s sister-in-law, with whom I work, and some good fortune. When their photographer pulled out with 10 days to go before the wedding, Jenn and Paul were a little panicked. As a last resort, they asked if I would be able to fill in. After connecting with them and discussing their expectations, we agreed that I would do it. What sold me on shooting their wedding was how relaxed they were and what type of photos they were looking for. The emphasis would be on documenting the event and avoiding the cliched shots. Of course, it is a wedding, so you do have to get a certain number of specific shots, which seemed very doable.

I will attempt to avoid clichés here, but I have to thank Jenn, Paul, their families and friends for making it such an enjoyable experience. They made it a great day for me, and for my fantastic wife, who assisted me during the portraits sessions and shot Instax candids during the reception. Which brings me to one of the most important lessons learned from shooting their wedding, bring along a Instax camera and hand out photos as you take them, to the guests. They loved it! I was very gratified to walk around the event and see countless people waving their little Instax print (you don’t need to do that with Instax prints, but it feels right), waiting for them to develop.

Next up

So, have I become a wedding photographer? No, I’m still the same person I was before I shot Jenn and Paul’s wedding, with even more respect for what hard work shooting weddings can be. I will continue to recommend the very best wedding photographers I know, when asked. And, if someone I know asks me to shoot their wedding, I will be open to taking on the challenge, as long as we agree on what type of documentation they are looking for. In fact, I’m looking forward to photographing another wedding in July, but that might be it for quite a while, I have a feeling.


Gear wrap-up
The entire wedding was captured with Fujifilm cameras and lenses. Portraits were shot with the X100s and X-T1 fronted with the XF56mm lens. Group shots, the ceremony and reception were captured with the X-T1 and X-E2 and XF prime lenses. I used off-camera flash and the X100s (yay, fast sync speed) for one portrait and I shot with on-camera flash on the X-T1 and X-E2 for all of the indoor shots. I use Nikon SB-800 flashes with small Rogue FlashBenders and Diffusers, which produces very nice light for an on-camera flash. Immediate-gratification photos were captured with and distributed from an Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic.
Images processed with VSCO Film Packs 2 and 3.


  1. Lovely results documenting a wedding full of happy people having fun. Candids provide touching moments, like the little boy reaching for the ring box, as well as humorous moments, like the guy dancing while his parter talks to another woman. The couple look radiant! I think your style and their style was a good fit.

  2. Great works, Don. Do you use manual setting when you working with off camera flashes? If you do, how could manage the setting if the lighting keep changing on the fly. I am new to Fuji and try to find a way to work this out vs my Nikon. Appreciate your sharing.

    1. Joe, thanks for reading.
      For this event, I only used the flash off-camera for the portrait session. The flash and camera were both set to manual exposure and I didn’t need to fiddle too much, once I had shot a couple of test shots. For the rest of the event, I shot with the flash on-camera and set to Auto exposure mode, where I was dealing with changing lighting conditions. The flash does a pretty good job of adjusting its output based upon the lighting conditions and I shot RAW so that I would have maximum latitude in post-processing to recover highlights or shadows.
      Hope this answers your question.

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