A few weeks back I started a series of wedding tips covering the Wedding Day Timeline (beginning with Getting Ready!). Today I'm back to share about one of my favorite parts of the day - the wedding ceremony. As a photographer it is my role during the ceremony to capture the events that unfold and to tell the stories and capture the beautiful details. Let me tell you a little bit about my role and approach in photographing a wedding ceremony. Our Vantage Point: When we provide two photographers I will kneel at the first row/pew of the ceremony - ready for the procession to begin. I believe this puts me in the best place to capture the most important people that will process in. I also kneel at the front because I want to be as unobtrusive as possible. Your guests are there to see the Father walk the Bride up the aisle, the Groom to profess his commitment to his bride, not to watch me work. While I'm kneeling up front - my second photographer gets to capture the last minute jitters happening behind the scenes in the back: the children lining up and being coached to walk down the aisle and the bridesmaids lining up. One of my absolute favorite captures of the day is when my second photographer is able to capture the Bride and her Father (or sometimes Mother, Uncle, Brother, etc) calm themselves, share a laugh or a tear before they proceed into her new beginning. Those captures are absolutely priceless and one of my favorites. At my kneeling vantage point I'm also able to quickly turn and capture the groom see his bride for the first time - and my second shooter will capture a shot of his face as the bride is about half way up the aisle. Again, favorite captures that are so emotional and priceless.
Before the bride reaches the front of the ceremony I quietly and quickly slip away to the sides to capture the Father giving the Bride away (My second photographer captures this straight on from the back). From there on out, I will only be on then sides or in the back of the ceremony to capture the unfolding events as the ceremony proceeds.
Lighting: A word about lighting: The majority of the ceremonies I capture are in very dark churches. I am very comfortable with this - and think it's beautiful! I never use lighting/flashes during wedding ceremonies. Personally, I find it distracting to your guests (or you!) and unnecessary (I do use lightning for family formals, more on that next time!). With the latest digital camera technology our equipment handles low light situations like a champ. Often I am tempted to edit most of my ceremony images in black and white, I absolutely love them and find they are timeless and gorgeous.
What if I only have coverage with one photographer? I do have one simple and sweet package that doesn't include a second photographer. In that instance I encourage brides to think about saving time in your timeline for a chance to see your Father (or father-figure) before the ceremony. Even if it's 20 minutes before we begin we can make sure to orchestrate your Father seeing you for the first time and me being able to capture that sweet moment. Saving five minutes before I need to be ready up front gives me a chance to capture you and your Father in a beautiful moment. I think it's definitely something you might want to consider.
Whether you are celebrating your ceremony on a farm, in a grand church, or on a beach we work to capture the ceremony unobtrusively - catching the fleeting glances, a Dad’s tears, and the excitement of being joined together. We do many, many church weddings and know how to be unobtrusive - we stay back and capture the beauty that unfolds. Love that!
Some fun facts I've learned in photographing over 100 wedding ceremonies:
*Most weddings don't start exactly on time - and that's okay! (The wedding never starts without the bride - so no reason to get too stressed!).
*Capturing emotion often happens during the processional - I love capturing a teary groom - and a teary bride! Such wonderful emotion.
*I really feel for the Father when he gives his daughter away - all of the sudden they are left standing alone in the aisle when bride joins groom. It's a very bittersweet moment and I always feel for them!
*I've teared up at 99% of the weddings I've photographed.
*If you want to catch a cute smirk/smile it often happens during the vows if they mention something about the couple having Children - I love that!
*Couples aren't always 100% sure when the KISS comes in - and neither are we, always best to be prepared!
*By far the best part of photographing a ceremony is the exit - couple with absolute genuine, over the moon expressions on their faces ready to face their new adventure together. AWESOMESAUCE.