As unpredictable as weddings can be, as a photographer I like to control as much as possible so I can deliver to you photos you will LOVE. Many times throughout a wedding day I will speak up and move you from spot A to spot B because the lighting, background, etc is better here than there. That being said, there is one part of the day that I do not and will not interrupt (in fact I try to be as unobtrusive as possible) and that’s during the ceremony. That’s not to say that there aren’t times where I would like to change or adjust a thing or two during the ceremony that would help your ceremony photos, but once the ceremony has started there’s not much I can do. That brings me to today’s blog post. I thought maybe if I mention these tips ahead of time it can help you plan ahead for your ceremony photos.
So, here are my four tips for your wedding ceremony photos:
1. Make sure guests are told to sit back down after the processional. This is such an easy fix! This has only happened a handful of times, but it can be a big eyesore photography wise if your guests are left standing throughout your entire ceremony. In my experience when this has happened, it has been when a family member or friend has been ordained for the sole reason of officiating this one ceremony. I LOVE when friends and family get ordained to perform a ceremony. There’s nothing more personal than having someone close marry and officiate your wedding. But, because this is often their first time officiating a wedding, they don’t even think to put a little line in their ceremony outline that asks the guests to please take their seat after the bride has walked down the aisle. It’s SO easy to overlook this one little detail, and guests can be SO considerate that they don’t sit back down unless told to. Not a huge deal, right? It’s not, but it can ruin the wide pullback shot of your ceremony taking place if all your guests are standing and blocking the view, not to mention, there are chairs there for a reason. You want your guests to sit and enjoy the ceremony!
2. Make sure you are centered at your altar. This one really drives my OCD-ness crazy. If you have an arch that you’re standing under, try to make sure you and your officiant are centered underneath it. This is something that I can’t stop the ceremony to fix, but when you look back on your photos (if you’re anything like me) you’re going to wish you had moved a foot over so you were centered in all your ceremony photos!
3. Lighting. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony this one’s for you. You’ll really want to take into account what time your ceremony is taking place, where your ceremony is going to be and what direction you’ll be facing during the ceremony in relation to the sun. Since you and your fiancé are going to be the main focus during the ceremony, you want even lighting on both of your faces. My favorite way to achieve this is to have you facing in a way where the sun sets behind the ceremony. Backlighting is my favorite type of lighting and achieves even lighting on both of your faces. If, backlighting isn’t possible, I would try to make sure you’re under some type of shaded area (tree, solid arch, etc) so the sun isn’t directly on either of your faces. There’s nothing worse (lighting wise) for the flow of your final gallery than to have one of you in direct sunlight and the other in shaded light. Your photos will look completely different. If you have any questions on this one, ask your photographer! My brides ask me all the time what the best time for their ceremony to take place would be and I love it. We love being consulted about lighting scenarios if it’s going to help improve your photos!
4. An unplugged ceremony. Unplugged ceremonies have been a hot topic in the photography community for awhile. Ever since cell phones, iPads, selfie sticks, go pro sticks and social media have been around, it has kind of changed how we interact and live (or don’t live) in the moment. I’ve been so hesitant to jump on this bandwagon and push for unplugged ceremonies because I GET IT. I love taking photos and remembering moments the way I see them. I never want to tell someone they can’t take a photo of something they want to remember, but, and I say this in the kindest, most good-intentioned-way possible, some people just don’t know when to stop. Or how to take their photo without photobombing the professional photographer that has been well paid to capture those memories for you. Imagine the bride walking down the aisle to her groom, and phones sticking out all down the aisles to take a picture of the bride. I once had a guest step out into the aisle during the recessional after the bride and groom were announced husband and wife. I’m sure they were well-intentioned and had no idea they were blocking my view of the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle, but they did. And instead of having several photos of the recessional in their final gallery, the couple ended up with just one or two by the time they had passed the guest and I was able to see them again. Remember that wide pullback shot of the ceremony I mentioned in my first tip? I once had over TEN go pros on sticks sticking up in the air from guests trying to capture the ceremony in the wide pullback photo of the ceremony I took. That made my photo even more awesome. 😉 My last example before I get off my soapbox: We always try to get photos of your parents during the ceremony. I remember one ceremony in particular where I was trying to get a photo of Mom, and she literally had a cell phone in front of her face the entire time. Instead of getting the sweet emotional photo of Mom watching her son marry the love of his life, I got the photo of Mom watching her son get married through her cell phone screen. I think she was recording the ceremony. If a videographer isn’t in your wedding budget and you want the ceremony recorded, do your parents a favor and ask a close friend or relative to video the ceremony on their phone instead (this is my one exception to the unplugged ceremony suggestion if you can’t swing a videographer, and it’s only one person recording, not twenty).
Obviously, these are just my opinions and viewpoints on what works best for KLP. Every photographer photographs differently and has their own way of doing things, so when in doubt ask your photographer and I’m sure they would be happy to answer any questions you may have!