My sister was engaged a few days before Christmas 2014. Her and her fiancé dated for a few years in high school and they are now set on starting their life together. Insanely, they asked me to shoot their engagement photos. Long story short: I learnt that I am not a wedding photographer. But, I think some of the photos turned out alright nonetheless.

My sister is five years younger than I am, so we grew up at fairly different segments of our lives.1 As a result, Rachel and I never had shared interests or commonalities to be drawn upon.

So why does our history play a role in this piece?

Because I was incredibly honoured when she asked me to take these photos. I’m not a professional, and I’m certainly not her closest friend, but she asked me to shoot the photos anyhow. I really appreciated the opportunity to share one of these bridal experiences with my sister and I hope it captured some memories for her as well.

I learnt more about my sister that day than any other aspect, but I certainly soaked in the photography lessons as well.

Without a doubt, planning became the single factor I wished I had put more time into. I did a bunch of research beforehand — I researched popular setups and backdrops, great types of lighting, and things to say to your “clients”. Even with all that research, I still could have spent more time in the books to help smooth the process of setting up and creating the photo I had in my head.2

I learnt pretty quickly that the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 was a fantastic tool for the job. I brought along the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens as well, but the 20mm focal length actually brought me in fairly close and I noticed Rachel and Carl become slightly uncomfortable. This quickly exposed the necessity for the true “wedding focal lengths” between the 24mm and 70mm full-frame marks. Without a doubt, the 75mm solidified itself as the perfect portrait prime lens for Micro 4/3. In contrast, the 20mm pancake made it clear that it’s suited best for everyday purposes and casual street photography.

I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have to shoot portraits of people, but I learnt my lesson for not having that convenient 24-70mm zoom lens in my kit. Ever since our small photoshoot, I’ve had my sites set on the Olympus’ 12-40mm f/2.9 Pro lens. I think a lens of that flexibility would be ideal for any portraits I end up taking at her wedding or on any travels my wife and I decide to embark on.

All in all, I learnt a ton that Sunday morning. I learnt about early morning light, portrait photography, and research habits.

I also learnt a different kind of pride that perhaps only older brothers can understand. I looked at my youngest sister with a warm sense of compassion. The man she has beside her is deserving of such a strong woman and I can’t imagine anyone other than Carl taking care of her.

Congratulations Rachel and Carl. I’m truly looking forward to the end of September and beyond.

Yes, if you’ve done the math in your head, you’ll rightly determine my sister is still a very young lady. Regardless, these two people were meant for each other since day one and I’m very excited for them to get started together.

Actually, in our heads, as Jaclyn came along and was masterful at creating scenes. I can take very little credit for the different types of photos you see here