Thursday, June 7, 2007

Love is in the air!

Not sure if it's in the water right now, or if it's just that time of year (or perhaps even a pleasant mixture of both) but my year seems filled with knuptual planning with two of my closest friends who are taking the plunge and pledging "I DO!" Until the bridal shower and bachelorette party dates draw nearer, I'm pretty much off the hook with my bridesmaid duties and can enjoy the pressure free fun of wedding dress shopping with the blushing brides. I am occasionally overwhelmed by the realization that I might end up like Bridget Jones - referring to my girlfriends as the old marrieds when we're planning to meet up for dinner - but then she got to marry Colin Firth, so things could be worse.

Where I am not off the hook is with the wedding photography, which is really the purpose of this particular rambling. These days, seeing as everybody owns a digital camera, it's quite normal for everybody to be snapping away at weddings. I've been both the hired photographer and these tips will help both you and the photographer the couple hired optimize the photographic opportunities. It's one day and you don't get a do-over!

- Do be respectful of the pro-photographer. The couple is paying them to capture the event and it's a huge task. You want to help the pro get the best shots they possibly can as that's the job they were hired to do.
- Do be mindful of the photography rules in places of worship. If the pro isn't shooting, they have probably be asked not to and you should follow their lead.
- Do take lots of pictures of those at your table or surrounding tables having fun. Often, the pro can't concentrate on these pictures and they'll be a pleasant surprise for the couple later on.
- Do take pictures of decoration accents or location that can be fun and perhaps even "artsy"!
- Do capture "reaction" shots of the guests for certain moments - such as the cake cutting. The pro will be concentrating on the couple and this is an opportunity for you to take a completely different kind of shot.
- Do encourage people to get into groups for photographs. If you're taking pics of a group at your table, have some people move around so they are standing behind others that are seated. That way you eliminate the half-eaten food and someone's head being blocked by the center piece.
- Do take candids. The couple is usually busy during the reception and won't see a lot of what their guests get up to, but they'll definitely enjoy that you captured a good candid moment later on!
- Don't put your arm up above people's heads or stand to take pictures during the ceremony as it's unfair to those around you. (This happens a lot more than you might expect). You'll probably remember the beauty of the ceremony better if you're not concentrating on the photography aspect - leave that to the pro. Instead, choose an aisle seat where you can capture pics of the couple and bridal party as they walk the aisle. [See inset. I was a guest at this wedding.]
- Don't stand right behind the pro-photographer and duplicate their shots. This may mess with their lighting and can also be distracting. The shot that the pro is taking is likely to be the better shot anyway, given they set it up, and is the one the couple will use in the end.
- Don't stand opposite the pro while they are taking their shots. (I took wedding pictures on a beach at sunset. A family member was taking pictures on the other side of the couple and I had to spend a lot of time adjusting my position to not capture them in my shots, all while the light was rapidly fading). Your pictures will also come out better as the pro probably has a way to keep you out of their shot, but they're probably in yours.
- DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!! After all, it's a celebration.

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