Every wedding has a professional photographer who has been doing this for years. What they are going to produce is pretty much a known entity before the wedding even gets started. You know he is going to hold the wedding party over after the ceremony and do a bunch of staged shots. You know he will “stage” the feeding of the cake between bride and groom, the throwing of the bouquet, the dance of father and bride, all that standard stuff.
But you may have the assignment as a wedding photographer to also take pictures of the wedding. This is not unusual. If the bride’s brother is good with a camera or the groom’s uncle knows a thing or two about photography, why not let them take pictures too. So if that assignment has fallen to you, there may be a few tips for you to keep in mind as the big day approaches.
You are the back up guy. So let the professional do his stuff. Remember, just because your sister or best friend has utmost confidence in what you can do to make the wedding album more interesting and fun, those traditional shots are important to the family and to the bride and groom. They may be old fashioned and a bit boring but that paid photographer was hired to do a job. So don’t get in the way of the professional and if you do interact with him, do so respectfully. You don’t want that guy in a bad mood. So give his space.
- Be ready. You can bet that paid photographer came here having checked out his equipment and he knows what he needs and he knows it all works. So you be just as “professional” as the next guy and do your prep work the night before. That way when you step up to get that shot you know will make the wedding album sizzle, your equipment works perfectly too. This also includes arriving ready to go with backup batteries, tape, light bulbs and anything else you will need for a full day of shooting.
- Use what he does. That professional is going to stage the people to get those shots that are on his list of standard shots all wedding albums get. But during that time when the wedding party is trying to be good but giddy with nervous excitement, there will be dozens of little moments that will make great photographs. Maybe get that shot of sister fixing the flower girls dress. Or that silly tickle session between bride and groom as they play with each other to get through the tension of the day. Use what that photographer is giving to himself. As long as you don’t get in the way, you can grab some great pictures that way.
- Those action shots during the ceremony. You have come with a more mobile equipment set than the professional has because your goal is to get the informal shots. So you have what you need pretty much on your back. You can move around the hall and get those little photographs during the ceremony of things going on up on that stage that everybody else will miss. The wedding party will love you for capturing moments that would have been lost to time if you had not come ready to work on your feet and get those little throw away pictures that are worth gold in the wedding album.
- The kids are “down there”. Don’t overlook the children during the wedding or the reception. They add a lot of fun and joy. But remember, they are down there closer to the ground than you are. To get their shots, you have to go down there with them.
Remember, this event is not about you. You are the proverbial fly on the wall to get those shots that the pro doesn’t have on his checklist. But at the same time, don’t forget that you are important to this wedding to. So put down that camera every so often and have that glass of wine and do the funky chicken during the reception with everyone else. Let someone else get that picture.