We’ve all been there… a private moment between two people catches our eye and there’s that gut feeling that tells us….. keep watching. With every muscle in our body tightened, with bated breath we’re looking through the lens poised to take what we know is going to be the best of the day. Suddenly from over your shoulder there’s the screeching squealing sound of…… what a beautiful picture saaaayyy cheeesee! And before it ever even was …the moment is gone.
It has happened to all of us -distraction, it’s a real mood killer. My inspiration for this post was a company called Light co , that is trailblazing some exciting new technology in optics. I highly recommend checking out their new L16 Camera, it is remarkable! I can not wait to get to play with one of these and really see what it can do on a wedding day! So as a professional wedding photographer how do you yourself keep from being a distraction? How do you stay out of the way while still being front and center to capture every single moment ?
1. Develop ninja-like reflexes. Span the aisle with the prowess of a cat. Carefully tiptoeing between the pure white runner that you must dare not step on. with expert precision, stepping in between the rows upon rows of flaming candles that could at any second torch the lovely floral arrangements. Just kidding…. but not really. Ninja like reflexes are one of the traits that all wedding photographers develop with experience, and they absolutely help with your ability to be discreet. A high level of awareness, and excellent use of your peripheral vision allows you to anticipate moments before they ever happen. You will be amazed at how handy you become as you make helpful saves and grabs, and slink in and out of tight spaces without becoming a cumbersome distraction.
2. SHHHHHH! Go into your camera’s settings and disable the shutter noise if your model of camera allows this. Do the same for your flash.And for heaven’s sake turn off the ringer on your cell phone don’t be that person during the ceremony it’s very awkward.
3. Don’t walk in front of Grandma! At the ceremony the important people are always sitting in the front. It pays to make it a point to plan shooting so that you can avoid Crossing in front of these two pews. Their memories of the wedding should never involve you criss-crossing in front of them to get a close-up shot of the Ring Exchange.
4. Be the Bestie. Develop a rapport with your clients. Don’t talk too much (this day is not yours) but do crack a few jokes, find some things in common with your bride and the Bridesmaids. Or better yet take a pretty shot and share the back of your camera with everyone in the room this works every time! If they feel like you are just a friend and not “The Photographer” they will feel free to be themselves and normal behavior will resume. Another excellent rule of thumb for putting people at ease is to have a man /woman photography team if possible. Nothing makes a room full of groomsmen tighten up faster then a lady walking into the room. Like so many photography teams, I shoot with my spouse and being the guy’s guy that he is Koy is able to set the groomsmen at ease with a little football talk. Before you know it they’re being natural, laughing and creating amazing images.
In my decade of shooting, I have always been known for my honest, documentary style. Blending into the background is an important part of how I work. Once you stop trying to direct everything you can really watch the magic of each relationship unfold. The funniest thing about what I do is that people always tell me what an amazing job I did as I am leaving. An amazing job, and they have not seen a single image. I have learned that you truly make a lasting impression when you make people feel comfortable. Just get out of the way and beautiful things will happen.