My goal at every wedding is to be inconspicuous. I can’t be inconspicuous when I am battling elbows holding cell phones during the processional and recessional at a ceremony.
One of my favorite photos at every wedding is the bride coming down the aisle. I love it so much because she’s usually glowing. She’s being walked down by someone who she loves wholeheartedly and who undoubtedly loves her back and they’re walking towards the person she’s about to spend the rest of her life with. If you’re fortunate enough to get to be there as a guest to see that moment in person, I promise you that your cell phone version of it is going to be way lackluster compared to the live version you’ll have in your mind if you were being present and watching it with your own to eyes versus through a 4 inch screen.
Being a photographer is hardest for me during a ceremony. Particularly outdoor. Many times the light is changing because the bride is walking from a long distance. She may go from the shade of an overhang on the building to Bright sun and then down the aisle where it’s open shade with some sunlight leaks peeking through the trees on her as she proceeds. I can be all set for the light and it looks amazing and then a cloud moves in front of the sun and I have to change literally every setting on my camera to accommodate that cloud only to have it move away 20 seconds later and scramble my way back to my sunny settings. All the while, photographing a moving person in a once in a lifetime moment that can’t ever be recreated. I know what you might be thinking, “stop complaining, that’s you’re job!” I agree. And I’m not complaining. I am a professional and handling those tough lighting situations are why I can call myself that. But I can only be at one place at a time and I can’t anticipate a cell phone going out in the aisle or someone a few rows away from me stepping in front of me to get a better angle of the bride coming towards us. I don’t have time to react to that when I am shooting that moment.
I am just a bystander. A person who typically has no real tie to the couple other than being hired to capture the day. As a guest, you’re given the best gift ever, which is being able to witness a once in a lifetime moment where two people begin their life as one. Be present. Be fully present. Put your phone away and watch. And listen. And smile. And react. And be reminded of why YOU fell in love. Hold hands with your plus one and squeeze it when you feel moved.
Wedding ceremonies are the most beautiful and sacred part of the day. The photographer is there so you can be fully present. Bring your phone out for pics during cocktail hour. Reception. Whatever. But if the couple hired a professional to capture their day, they’re going to be bummed when their photos include a bunch of phone screens.