Wedding Photography – Part 2

Wedding Photography – Part 2

Two weeks ago, I blogged about the fun wedding of my friends Hanna and Stefan. This is the second part of the post and it focuses on the official stuff of the wedding: church and formal portraits. As in the prior post, I will share a few ideas and lessons learned.

The ceremony

My friends’ wedding took place in a beautiful Bavarian church. It’s important to arrive early to catch the moments between the groom, his best man and the families. There are also those amazing details that couples spend a lot of time and energy on: flower arrangements, programs, candles etc.. I have learned that you should allocate a sufficient amount of time to this. And if it hasn’t happened before, this is the last chance to discuss your photography approach with the priest/ master of ceremony. I personally like to take photos of the couple and their guests from behind the altar. It’s important to set those expectations before. You do not want to surprise people. Some might not appreciate it.

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During the actual ceremony, I try not to move around too much but to rather keep a low profile. In the past, I have witnessed some photographers who attract more attention by being obnoxious than the actual couple. It might just be a simple thing but set your camera to silent mode. Turn off all the sounds on your equipment. 200 beeps in a 45 min ceremony can be quite annoying.

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 Managing expectations

Following the ceremony, toasts and some appetizers we started with the formal wedding portraits. Experience has taught that it is super critical to set expectations before this session. Make sure to understand what the couple expects. Also, make sure that family members know when to show up. I usually work through this scenario with the couple but also solicit the help of a close friend or family member. It’s not a bad idea to have the couple write down all the names of their families that they want on those formal photos way ahead of the wedding. You do not want to have any hectic moments are bad surprises after the fact.

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Scout and have fun

One thing I always do is to scout the location before the wedding. Look out for photogenic places. Search for backup plans in case the sun is too bright or if it rains. This paid dividends at Hanna’s and Stefan’s wedding: we had all the locations staked out before and we were therefore able to shoot and just have fun with it. Sometimes you just need a dose of luck: A wall full of wine leaves had partially turned colors the days before providing a spectacular background.

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Earlier this year, I had watched an online course by creative genius Chris Orwig. He recommended looking at some fun props for wedding and portrait photos. Simple things like flowers, hats or even monuments can add a bit of a twist to photos. And we did just that. Here is a shot we took with the umbrella of the bride.


Since this was so much fun, Jen got even more creative by spreading the bride’s veil while I was shooting the scene.

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The fun factor

I truly believe it is important to be relaxed when it comes to shooting photos. How can you look great if you are on a tight schedule? Some of the couple’s best friends were with us the whole time. Time flew by like you wouldn’t believe. Every moment was special and Hanna and Stefan really seemed to enjoy themselves. It paid off.


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