Photographers’ opinions about wedding photography run the gamut from “it’s incredibly rewarding to capture love in bloom” to “never ever ever ever ever ever times infinity.”

The truth lies, as usual, somewhere in the middle; but if you’re interested in taking up wedding photography or are just now getting serious about shooting weddings, the video below featuring renowned photographer Susan Stripling is a Must Watch.

In it, she discusses the Top 8 Pitfalls of Shooting Weddings. Click play to hear her outline them or scroll past the video to see them written out and summarized:

1. Managing Expectations

A “broad” pitfall, Susan nevertheless emphasizes this as a bit of a catch-all for many issues one might run into on the wedding day if you’re not prepared. For Susan, this means sending out a questionnaire 6 weeks in advance to determine their expectations, and then calling the couple if anything on the questionnaire will cause problems.

2. Finding Out Who’s in Charge

On the wedding day, you do NOT want to have to ask the Bride or Groom when you have a question. Find out ahead of time who your point of contact will be: a wedding planner, the maid or honor, the staff at the venue, whomever.

3. Schedule Changes

Day-of changes to your meticulously-planned schedule happen—be prepared to deal with them. This means looking at the new schedule and, if necessary, pulling the Bride and Groom aside and letting them know what is and isn’t possible based on the new schedule.

4. Running Late (BIGGEST ONE)

This is the problem Susan says she runs into most often, and while it used to frustrate her she’s learned to stay calm and deal with it. As with everything here, the key is to “stay calm” and “communicate” anything that might have to change about the photography plan because of the lateness.

5. Broken Gear

We almost died when Susan talked about the beautiful camera and lens she dropped and destroyed during a wedding one time… Susan didn’t. She “died six times inside,” but outwardly, she stayed calm, got her backup set up, and kept going.

6. Not Having a System

After a few successes it’s easy to assume you’ve got it “all figured out,” but if you don’t have a system to make sure you’re prepared day of, something will slip your mind and you’ll regret it.

7. Awkward Situations (Personal or Professional)

What do you wear? How do you behave? How do you want to be perceived professionally? How are you gonna handle awkward situations? You can’t prepare for everything, but having these basic guidelines in place will save you a lot of headache.

8. Not Having the Skills

In addition to social and interpersonal skills, you MUST make sure your photography skills are up to par. The lighting situation might change dramatically in ways that are beyond your control… knowing you’re a good enough photographer to handle whatever the venue or nature throws at you will make all the difference.

A big thanks to B&H Photo for sending this video over to us. To see more like it, check out their YouTube channel; and if you want to see some of Susan’s work, check out her website or go say hi on Facebook or Twitter.