Ceremonies and Second Shooting

June 28, 2011
filed in Weddings
eremonies are the most important moment of a wedding day. They are sacred and extremely special to the families involved, the guests attending, and of course the bride and groom. It's super important to be respectful of the special moments while shooting, but also brave enough to get the important moments on camera.  
I really dislike being seen during ceremonies, so knowing how to shoot a ceremony with a second shooter helps tremendously. 
I have written out a small list of do's and don'ts at a ceremony. This is ONLY my opinion and are based on things I have learned as I have progressed in my career as a wedding photographer.  
*Don't wear anything super flashy. It draws attention to you during ceremonies. I tend to stick to blacks and grays to blend in better with the background. 
*Do not ever walk behind the bride and the groom of the officiant at any time. Always walk around the back of the congregation to get to the other side.  
*Don't walk back and forth too many times. This is super distracting! 
*Don't get too close to the bride and groom. This also goes for Videographers! Give the bride and groom some space.  
*If standing behind a bridesmaid or groomsmen during the ceremony, don't move too much. Stand in place for a few moments before moving again.  
The things I DO during a ceremony  
*Check out the ceremony before the ceremony starts so you know where to stand for the big moments.  
*Talk to the officiant about the timeline of events. Know where you should stand when these events take place. Always have your second shooter on the opposite side to get both the bride and the groom's expressions.  
*Don't be afraid to get a good shot. There are plenty of times I am hesitant to stand behind a bridesmaid during the ceremony because I don't want to draw too much attention to myself, but in order to get a tighter shot, sometimes I have to.  
*Educate your second shooter on the shots you are looking for.  
At Sarah and Flo's wedding, we we had great access on both sides to document ceremony well. (Not every wedding is like this!) The shot below is of Sarah hugging her dad from my view. Because of the way the ceremony site was laid out, I decided to have Stephen stand at the alter with me as Sarah walked down the aisle. Usually, I have Stephen stand in the back and wait for the bride to walk down the aisle. Stephen then quickly documents the back angle of the bride walking down the aisle as I am documenting the front. At this particular wedding, I had Stephen stand close to me at the alter and the next photo is Stephen's.
I love Stephen's angle here. We got both expressions from both sides. This is such a special moment and I ALWAYS try to get this shot if I am able to.
This is typically what I do when I have gotten most my shots. I squat and take a few shots until I need to move again.
Left : My view of Sarah. Right : Stephen's view of Flo. It's really important to have a second shooter so you can get both views all the time. You'll never miss a great candid moment this way!
Left : My view of Sarah and Flo walking down the aisle together. Right : Stephen's view.
From Stephen's view, He got me in the background but luckily...
photoshop allows me to edit myself out :) If this happens in your shot, be sure to use the clone stamp tool. This particular shot is easy to edit because the background is soft and easy to blend but sometimes Im not able to remove things from the photos.
Stephen's view of Flow and Sarah right after the shot above. This may be one of my favorites from the day. Again, it's so important to have a second shooter for different angles. You can't always be in two spots at once.

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