I love taking pictures. I grew up wanting to be a photographer. So it always interests me to watch wedding photographers. I really appreciate photographers who are discrete and respectful of the wedding ceremony happening right in front of them. I have seen a few that get on stage, right next to the bride and groom, that’s a huge no-no to me. Also, I have had to stop the pictures before the service because they were taking too long. But the worst, ALL TIME WORST, photographer I’ve seen didn’t take pictures during the ceremony! Stay with me here. This one still befuddles me.
The bride and groom were a very young couple and they didn’t have much money. They had asked a friend of theirs to take pictures. (That was their first mistake.) She was apparently an up and coming wedding photographer from what I understood in our meetings. She had done some portrait photography work that they really liked. I met this young lady the day of the wedding as she was taking pictures of the couple and the wedding party before the wedding. She seemed to know what she was doing and was keeping track of the time, which made me like her even more. Then as I began to get everyone lined up to start the wedding she took her place inside the chapel doors. As the wedding got under way I was pleased that everything was going so smoothly. Then I realized the photographer had sat down and stopped taking photos. NO PHOTOS! NOT ONE! I was perplexed.
“What is she doing?” I thought to myself. “She should be taking pictures DURING the ceremony as well!” I stood and watched her for some time. The bride and groom turned towards each other to say their vows and STILL, she didn’t take any pictures. Guests were taking more pictures than she was. SO, being the wedding coordinator, I HAD to know what was going on.
I walked over, tapped her on the shoulder, and whispered, “Aren’t you going to take any pictures?”
“Oh no,” she replied, “I’m going to let them have their moment and then we’ll stage the shots afterward.”
HUH?! I was in shock. I had never heard of such a thing. Who agrees to staging shots AFTER the ceremony? So I asked. “Ok then. And the bride and groom know that?” I asked.
“Yep!” was her only reply back.
I left it. I had other things to worry about. “Not my circus. Not my monkey.” I told myself. I walked back to my spot in the doorway of the chapel and tried to concentrate on the ceremony happening in front of me. It nagged at me though. I love photography and I would have been SO disappointed to find out I had NO pictures of the wedding ceremony! I knew how weddings worked, and once the ceremony was over there would be no time for staging shots. I also doubted anyone would want to take the time.
The wedding ceremony ended, and just like I had predicted no photos were staged before the bride and groom left. I think the photographer realized her folly when she kept trying to get the bride and grooms attention as they were greeting their guests. They were mentally done and were ready to go enjoy their reception. They didn’t want to take any more pictures. So they didn’t, and unbeknownst to them in that moment they had no “professional” wedding ceremony pictures to show for it. I made me sad to think what their reactions would be when they found out. I hope the young photographer learned her lesson and the bride and groom got some nice pictures from a friend or relative.
My tips on finding a good wedding photographer:
Fully communicate your photography expectations with your photographer
Make a list of all the photos you want so the photographer doesn’t miss any important shots
Make sure your photographer has a schedule of your day so they don’t make your morning run late.
Stop taking portraits a half hour before the ceremony. This will give you time to eat and drink water, breathe, touch up your makeup, use the bathroom, etc before the ceremony starts.
For more great photographer tips check out this list on The Knot website: https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-photography-getting-started