Most professional and experienced amateur photographers have an excellent understanding of how to get beautiful and candid photographs of the ceremony without getting underfoot or in the way of the couple, their bridal party, and the officiant. It’s also very important that the photographers—professional or experienced amateur—not block the guests’ view of the ceremony.
Most photographers have to be pretty good at making themselves unobtrusive. They know how to kneel, or squat, and move around quietly to get the pictures you’ll want to keep to remember your day. it might be a good idea to check references, with professionals, or ask friends and colleagues for the names of photographers they trust. Wedding directories may also be a good source—but do check references if you’re using an unknown, to be on the safe side.
Can your friends and family take wedding pictures?
It is a good idea for you, the couple, to talk to the photographer/s ahead of time about whether they object to guests taking photos during the ceremony, especially if the ceremony is indoors. Guests using flash, whether on camera or cellphones, can seriously impact the quality of the professional photos. As well, people may be popping in and out of their seats and standing up or move around for good angles to take a photo with the cell—that will ruin the photographer’s carefully composed shots. After all, you are paying a lot of money to the official photographers, and you want wonderful photos of your special day.
Announce your policy on photos at the wedding
It’s also important to decide whether you as a couple mind guests snapping away during the ceremony. This can be disruptive and obtrusive. If you would rather they did not, and that they paid attention to the ceremony instead, ask your officiant to spell that out right at the beginning of the ceremony, when she announces that the ceremony is about to begin:
“James and Sarah have requested that you give them the gift of your attention during their ceremony and not take photographs. They promise there will be ample paparazzi opportunities after the ceremony.”
I had one bride who was so strict about this that she paused mid-kiss to yell at her father, “Put that camera away!” before continuing with the kiss.
Candid or posed wedding photographs?
It’s also important to clarify with the photographer whether you wish him or her to take only candid, rather than posed pictures during the ceremony. In other words, do you want the action of the ceremony to be continuous or do you want to pose for shots of you signing the register or exchanging rings or vows?
Recommendation for wedding photography
As an officiant, my view is that the action of the ceremony should be a continuous flow, that the place for posed photographs is before or after the ceremony, and that, in any case, most professional photographers worth their salt get fabulous photos on the go.
This is a matter I always discuss with the photographers as soon as I arrive at a venue, so that we know the ground rules.
And, finally, if you plan to depart straight after the ceremony for a photo shoot, with or without your bridal party and family, it’s only polite to ensure that there are light refreshments and entertainment for your guests while you are gone and before the reception begins. We have all been to weddings where the couple seems to be gone for ever, and the guests are left twiddling their thumbs for a couple of hours.