This is it!
There are so many parts to your wedding day: getting ready, arriving at the venue, speeches, first dance, cutting the cake, the reception and crashing exhausted onto your bed. Don’t worry – I’m not there to photograph the last one! Ha-ha!
But none of them compare to the ceremony. It’s the main event! Everything you’ve been planning for since you got engaged all revolves around that moment when you finally get to say “I do” and you’re finally married.
The ceremony itself has a few individual pieces that all come together to make it special. Each of these poses a different challenge for your photographer – but the good news is that I’ve got tons of experience shooting weddings and I know where I want to be for each moment to get the perfect framing that will take you right back to that second.
With that said, every wedding is a little bit different and every venue has it’s own challenges that need to be overcome, but that’s why we’ll get together before the big day to talk through any potential limitations and how we can get work around them.
So, what can you do you make sure that those moments become photographs that you cherish? you’ll be pleased to know there’s lots you can do!
Let’s get the negatives out on the table first – what you can’t control.
- No or limited photography allowed
- No camera flash allowed
- Dark decor
- Small spaces
- Other Vendors
How to minumize issues on the day
Lets work through those challenges in order.
First up – No or limited photography allowed. This is much less common today than it used to be, but it still crops up here and there, typically in churches or chapels. Sometimes the religious leader conducting the ceremony can be quite strict in what they allow, such the photographer must stand at the back. You’d should be aware of any restrictions if you’ve booked already, but if not make sure you check and only book somewhere that meets your needs for photo or video if you have it.
I’ll always make a point of checking in with whomever is performing the ceremony if you’ve provided me this information and I’ll look to negotiate the best solution on your behalf. Sometimes it means I need to bring specific gear, like a mirrorless camera (to eliminate the ‘click’ of the shutter) or making them aware of where I plan to be at each step to put them at ease I’m not interrupting.
What if no flash is allowed? There are two typical reasons this can be the case. The first is that the venue is really old and required a certain level of preservation which rules out flash completely. There’s not much we can do here but it’s not the end of the world. We’ll explore why in a moment.
The second is that the officiant think it will be distracting. Like the problem with a ban on photography, this can usually be overcome with some negotiation or give an take.
One thing to be aware of is that flash isn’t always required. Modern cameras can deal with a very limited amount of light before you really start to notice ‘noise’ or ‘grain’ in your images. The other option is converting photographs to black and white. Monochrome images hide noise and grain quite well and also have a classic, timeless look.
The next obstacle is dark decor. This one ties well into the flash photography we just touched on. Photographers love light or white ceilings and walls as they reflect a lot of light and make our job much easier. Dark rooms or dark ceilings can make our job much more challenging. Even with flash – there’s nothing to bounce the light off to soften it. There’s not much you can do with this one, however, as long as we are aware of the venue beforehand we can prepare and bring the tools we’ll need and show you examples of weddings in similar circumstances to show how we deal with it.
Small Spaces. I normally run into this one at registry offices and city chambers.
It’s not really a big deal at all and doesn’t take more than a bit of scouting on the day and a chat with the officiant. The main limitations here is a limited number of angles and spots I can position myself in to get some variety. If you have a small ceremony venue, I’ll show you some examples of what I’ve done in the past and why I made those choices. Ultimately, you’ll still get great photos, just from 1-2 spots in the room.
Other Vendors. This one is super easy – I just speak to them! If you have a videographer they’ll have similar needs to me so we get together to decide who will be where and how to stay out of each others way. If there’s someone else – like a string quartet or piper, We’ll grab a quick 5 minutes before you arrive to make sure we’re in sync.
Guests. OK, last one. And the one I have the least issue with. If your guests want to take their own photos during the ceremony that great, If they step into the aisle to get a clear shot, I can move around them. Some couples ask their clients for an ‘unplugged ceremony’ where they are entirely present and in the moment with you and not to post to social media. This can be specified on invitations or advised by the officiant at the beginning of the ceremony – but that’s your call. If you do go down that route, I provide all guests a gallery link card at the reception as part of my service anyway so everyone gets to see you tie the knot through my lens.
What are the key moments?
- Your arrival
- Your partner seeing you for the first time
- Being walked down the aisle
- Your vows
- Exchanging rings
- First kiss
- Signing the register
What can we do?
Relax and enjoy it!
That’s really all I ask of you. Let yourself be in the moment and soak it all in. You only do this once and it can feel over in a flash. The reason you’ve chosen me is because I know exactly what you want from your day and I’ve done this all before. It’s the very reason I review the potential problems we’ve just covered in this guide, so I can mitigate them and ensure I can deliver your dream photographs.
I’ll bring all the tools and the experience to capture those special moments that will allow you to relive them again and again for the rest of your lives by opening your album and leafing through it’s pages as the emotions of the day come flooding back and fill you with joy.