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From complying with church restrictions, to helping make divorced parents feel more at ease, to respecting time-honored traditions, you don't need to be Emily Post to navigate the etiquette of wedding photography like a pro.
Pick up a few tips to get great pictures on your big wedding day without a hitch.
Many churches have rules or guidelines for wedding photography during the ceremony. Some churches ask that photographers steer clear of the altar. Some officiants find that movement or noise from photography can be distracting or disruptive. Often, flash photos are not permitted once the wedding ceremony starts.
Because rules vary by church, minister and denomination, be sure to ask ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. Share any guidelines or restrictions with your wedding photographer before the big day. And rest assured, images that cannot be captured during the ceremony can frequently be recreated by your photographer just afterwards.
While the groom traditionally isn't supposed to see the bride before the wedding, bending the rules and taking pictures before the ceremony can make a lot of sense. The wedding party, the location and every head of hair are perfectly primped and ready to go. There's no frizzing, wrinkling or wilting to contend with yet. Pre-ceremony photos give the wedding party another chance to rehearse and work out some of those jitters. They also save time after the ceremony and allow the wedding party to get to the reception earlier.
Before you break wedding tradition, make sure to factor in enough time prior to the ceremony to do your wedding photography and disappear before the guests start to arrive. Budget five to seven minutes for each formal portrait. The larger the group being shot, the more time will be needed. Allow plenty of time. You don't want to spoil your grand entrance by being spotted beforehand.
Choosing a wedding photographer who will capture your wedding in a photojournalistic style means that your only job for most of the day is to enjoy and bask in the company of family, friends and your new spouse. You should be completely confident in your photographer's ability to fulfill his or her duties. Your photographer will capture all the shots you expect — and even some you don't! If they're trained in photojournalism, you'll hardly know they're there.
Just remember: the wedding photographer is a professional with impeccable timing, a keen eye for detail, and a thorough understanding of light. You should be flexible if the photographer asks you to step aside for a moment and pose for a few quick shots. He may ask for only a couple minutes of your time, but you will cherish the resulting photographs forever.
Rounding up people for formal portraits can be a challenge. Adding divorced parents to the mix can make it even trickier. Being prepared and organized will go a long way in making sure everyone's where they need to be and you're not posing for pictures or hunting down relatives all day.
Creating a short list in advance can help save time — and frustration. Special considerations can be taken into account, and extra combinations of wedding photos can be planned to help keep everyone happy. Go over the list with your wedding photography expert to make sure you're on the same page and have covered all the important shots for the ceremony. Also, make sure your guests know when they need to arrive for their photos. Don't be afraid to emphasize the importance of being on time.
After you've made your list (and checked it twice), entrust someone who's familiar with your relatives to be in charge of gathering the troops for the wedding photography planned. You'll have plenty of other things to do rather than finding AWOL family members on your wedding day. Wedding photos should start with the largest groups first and move down the list to help keep things chugging along as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Rules of etiquette were created to make people feel comfortable and respected in social situations like weddings. When it comes to getting the best possible photos of your wedding and keeping everyone happy, a little planning and preparation can make a big difference. Communicating with your photographer, officiant and relatives will save not only time but also frazzled nerves. When everyone — including you — is having fun, it'll make your photos that much better.
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