Ah, yes. The Ceremony. The part of the day where you get to say those famous words: I. Do. This is THE part of the wedding day, and honestly, the part of the day where the photographer has little control. Seriously. We can’t stop the wedding to say, “Groom! Can you please face your bride just a little bit more? I need to see your face!” Or, we can’t ask the bride to move back just a step so that her face is in even lighting.
In all seriousness, there is little that we can control during the ceremony. So, here are some things to consider during The Ceremony part of your wedding day that will help us help you get the best wedding photos possible.
Your Ceremony Site
We have gathered up a few tips to consider when choosing a site and planning for your ceremony. Be sure to include plenty of the details and floral arrangements that make your wedding unique at your ceremony site. You are going to get lots of photos from the site, especially since more often than not this spot is also where family photos are taken and possibly even those of the wedding party.
We also ask that you take the light into consideration. Massive consideration, actually. Us photographers are looking for even, beautiful light. It is a good idea to consider the time of day and a location that will provide you with the best opportunity to have great light. I think that we are pretty good at Photoshop, but we are not magicians and there is little that we can do to fix speckled light, backlight, harsh light, and low light. Let’s talk about some of these situations below.
Imagine that your getting married under some large oak trees on your family’s property. It’s beautiful. The trees are large and mature, and there are some tea lights hanging from the branches. The groom has positioned himself in his spot and he is waiting for your arrival down the aisle. You make your way down to him, and turn to face him. And even though the spot is beautiful, there is light peeking it’s way through the trees and it is coming right across half of the groom’s face. Crud. There is no way to fix those types of shadows and highlights.
Light…behind you. And your face…in the shadows. It might be “pretty” light behind you, but it’s still behind you. Avoid getting married in front of large windows or with the sun setting directly behind you. Also, please don’t get married in front of a mirror or any type of reflective surface. You will see us in all of your photos. I know we are good looking people, but I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t want that.
High Noon. It’s a big no-no. All of your photos will have you and your honey-to-be squinting at each other. Not mention that both of you will also have raccoon eyes and neck shadows. It’s not appealing. You also might want to make sure those church spot lights are not on, or are turned down a bit.
We always prefer natural light (sunlight) over artificial light (flash). If your ceremony is indoors, be prepared for darker photos with some grain (as we prefer to not use a flash during your ceremony). Flash tends to kill the intimacy of the moment. We can use flash if necessary. But you don’t want that. Trust us.
Did you know that almost everyone in this world has a phone with a camera? Gasp! Yes! And some people even have iPads! Yes! Did you know that they bring these gadgets to weddings and hold them up over their heads and hold them out in the aisle during the ceremony? They do. And it ruins the photos you are paying us to take. There is nothing worse than trailing behind a bride and her father as they walk down the aisle, and a hand juts out from the side ruining the shot. Crud. There is nothing worse than when we are trying to capture the groom’s face as he looks upon his future wife for the first time, and in the foreground is a lit-up iPhone screen. Sigh. Or when we are taking a photo of the first kiss, and an off-scene flash overexposes the couple completely. It’s horrible! There are no redo’s people!
Like we said in the beginning of this article, we don’t have a lot of control during the ceremony. And we can’t use a selfie-stick to wack everyone on the hand that extends out his or her device, but we can hopefully stop it before it even happens. A lot of brides and grooms are asking their guests to be “unplugged” during there ceremony. No phones. No tablets. Nothing. It’s awesome. Usually a sign is placed at the entrance site that says something totally cool like, “We want to see your faces, not your devices. Please put away phones and cameras until after the ceremony. Plus, our photographer is awesome and likes to share!” And we DO like to share.
Sometimes, we don’t even get to photograph the ceremony. Seriously. Every venue has their “house rules,” and some church venues state in their contract that photographers must stay outside during the ceremony. Or, photographers must stay behind the last row of people/last pew or in the balcony. When deciding on a location, make sure that you are aware of the house rules and you notify your photographer appropriately.
After your Ceremony
After that first kiss and you all are headed down the aisle together, plan to go to a designated location (away from your guests) for a few minutes. Most of the time we are going to be doing family photos immediately after the ceremony and if you hang around near the ceremony site, you will get swarmed by all of your guests and it will be hard for us to retrieve you! Those family photos that were supposed to start at 5:30pm are now starting at 5:50pm. Plus this will give the two of you a moment alone to celebrate the fact that you just GOT MARRIED! Then you can make your way back to the ceremony spot for all of your family photos.
Speaking of family photos that will be the topic for Part Six of our series.
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