Most wedding couples hire a professional wedding photographer like Frugal-Foto for their special day. The photographer will stage many shots and will pose people to get the best “look” for the couple and their court.
Many professionals have clauses in their contracts prohibiting amateur photography during the event. I’m not quite sure how they enforce that and it seems to this photographer that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Lots of guests want their own photos and they come prepared. Most have camera phones, pocket digital cameras and sometimes a better camera than mine!
If you are a guest, here are a few tips and tricks.
- Plan and Prepare:
- Ask the bride and the wedding planner if it’s ok to take pictures during the wedding.
- If there is a professional photographer, make sure you are not in his/her way. Ask the photographer if it is okay to take pictures.
- Many places of worship do not allow flash photos, especially during the ceremony. Be respectful. Many digital cameras will take quite good pictures in natural light, but many don’t allow much control over the flash. Know your camera!
- Make sure you have extra batteries, extra memory cards, a watch, directions and the schedule.
- If your camera shoots video, use it. Be sure you have enough memory cards for the whole wedding or use video sparingly.
- Arrive early and photograph the empty hall, guests arriving or the flowers arriving etc.
- Ask for a copy of the program before the wedding. Plan your shots accordingly.
- Remember all the other guests with cameras:
- There will be plenty of other folks with cameras. Try to give each other some space.
- Swap pictures & email addresses with each other.
- During the Ceremony:
- The professional photographer and assistants will be moving around the ceremony space. They will be distracting enough. Don’t add to the disruption. Stay in your seat during the ceremony.
- Portraits after the Ceremony:
- Professional photographers go to a lot of work positioning people for the best shots. Be sure to ask photographers first if you can snap your own portrait shots. If they say no, be respectful and pocket your camera phone!
- If the photographers are amenable, you may be able to capitalize on their expertise by standing close behind the photographer and taking the picture from the same angle.
- If you want a different angle, wait till the photographers gets their shots so that all the members of the group can be looking your way.
- The Perfect Shots:
Try and capture people in their natural looks, including the goofy pictures of them dancing!
Use the burst mode on your camera to capture several photos of the same thing taken fractions of a second apart. You might catch a mother-of-the-bride blinking back a tear. Perfect!
Here, I caught the bride and her father sharing a chuckle before he escorted her to the altar.
- Keep an eye out for cute children – they often enjoy being princes and princesses. Or they can be charmingly bored – cute both ways.
Here the bride is laughing because the little ring-bearer is showing what he thinks of all this pomp and circumstance. Priceless!
One little flower girl didn’t drop a single petal going up the aisle, but she started dropping them during the reception. When she ran out of petals, she picked them up off the floor and dropped them again – and continued this procedure for the entire evening! Wish I’d had video!
Shots before the Ceremony:
- Wedding gown lying over a chair or hanging on a door
- A close up of the bride’s shoes peeking out from under the dress
- Bridesmaids shoes in a row
- Groom and Groomsmen dressed and posing
At the Ceremony
- Guests entering the venue
- Groom seeing bride for first time
- Close up of couples’ hands
- Guests throwing rice/confetti/rose petals/birdseed
During the Reception:
- Outside the reception venue
- Arrival of the bride & groom to the reception
- Table centerpieces
- Musicians or DJ
- Bride and groom driving away
If the couple is fortunate enough to have hired Frugal-Foto, your pictures can become part of their album. After I create the couple’s photo website, the site allows uploads from others. They can then order prints of YOUR photos, too!