Professionalism: 8 Pitfalls of Shooting Weddings

On this video (made with B&H), pro wedding photographer Susan Stripling looks at 8 common pitfalls that can happen to any photographer (novice or highly experienced) when shooting a wedding.

This video can be summarized in one word – professionalism.  This is not just a term and contrary to what a lot of photographers might think – being professional is not just having the technical skills (or the gear) to shoot a wedding. It is no less about conducting yourself with your clients, with your co-workers (if you have a partner or several) and even with yourself (after all you need to survive to the next wedding and if you collapse emotionality after each wedding from the stress – you are not going to last very long in this profession).

We of course highly recommenced watching the entire video (we think that even more experienced photographers could learn a thing or two – or at least make a note to improve something that they are already doing based on these tips). But here is a very quick summery of the tips highlights (Stripling divide the pitfalls into two categories – avoidable and unavoidable and she talks about both) :

  1. Not managing clients expectations – use a list beforehand.
  2. Finding out who is in charge – again do this before the wedding and make sure it isn’t you (otherwise you won’t be able to shoot).
  3. Working through schedule changes – weddings are complex – things are bound the change – make sure you know what to do.
  4. Running late – this is similar to 3 – you need to prepare for things to take longer and thus other things change (for example you have less natural light for an important shoot).
  5. Handle broken gear – this will happen – no matter how careful you are – you need to have backups and need to know how to act and what to do when this happens so that this won’t completely ruin the entire wedding shoot for you (leave the tears for later), oh yeah – have insurance!
  6. Have a system – know where everything goes and how you work through the event minute by minute and don’t get sloppy – this is where things start to go wrong.
  7. Handle awkward situations – this can be both personal or professional situation – you are working with clients – some of them might be future clients – looking and acting professionally is what makes the difference between getting and not getting your  next job.
  8. Be professional technically – know how to handle your gear perfectly, know how to control the light and the exposure – both when you have limited light or when the disco lights are blasting (don’t forget to avoid any lasers if there are any).

We have already looked at two other  videos by Stripling in the past when she talked on CreativeLive  and tried to answer a simple yet intriguing question – should photographers pay attention to trends (more specifically photography trends) and when she gave a look into her own personal wedding photography gear bag and system for handling it (something she mentioned briefly on this video as well).

You can find many more videos on our wedding photography section – here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

1 comment

  1. I am a huge proponent of having your gear in specific slots, whether that’s in a hard case or a padded backpack, so when you open your gear up you know if you have everything packed because it will be in its place. If everything is packed in its place you know you’re good to go.

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