How to enhance your wedding ceremony photos
According to all sources, a wedding is defined primarily as ‘a marriage ceremony’, and so we should all remember this most important of all wedding day elements. Nowadays, as society has evolved, the actual ceremony part has become less and less formal, and in some cases – deep breath – they are no longer the focus of the day. But let us not forget what an important role the ceremony plays in your wedding day, and in turn, the importance of capturing these moments of pledges, assurances and undertaking.
You’re probably aware there are a few different types of wedding ceremony these days, arguably the main ones being a religious ceremony, a civil ceremony, or a Humanist ceremony (read more HERE about Humanist weddings). All have different bits and bobs associated, including rules for you guys and for me as your photographer! Having photographed at many different types of weddings, below are some top tips for you on how to enhance your wedding ceremony photos:
1. Am I actually allowed to photograph?
This is a biggie. Unfortunately so far only occurring within church weddings, I have experienced occasions where a vicar does not allow photographers into the church. Yes, you read that correctly; vicars sometimes refuse your photographer to actually enter the church at all – which is hugely disappointing for you, if you’ve had your heart set on some beautiful images of you and your partner in an important moment. Sometimes vicars won’t let photographers take photos during certain parts of the ceremony (usually the important parts, *eye roll*), and some vicars do not allow us to stand at the top of the aisle, where we would usually shoot back down the church, catching you face-on.
Therefore, if you’re having a church wedding or religious ceremony in particular, do check with your officiant that we are able to photograph your ceremony, and manage everyone’s expectations in advance. Being able to capture your ceremony is the basics, after all!
2. Have an unplugged ceremony!
If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know I am a lover of an unplugged ceremony, and if you haven’t read about it, what are you waiting for?! Here’s the link: Unplugged Wedding Blog Post
Asking your guests to refrain from using their mobiles and electronic devices during your ceremony is the #1 way to perk up your ceremony photos from ‘Meh’ to ‘Wow’! I cannot stress how crazy it is, when I line up to capture a bride walking up the aisle beaming with happiness, only to have someone step in front of my camera to take a blurry snap on their iPhone. Ugh! By asking your guests not to use their phones during the ceremony, you ensure everyone is present in that important moment with you, and not uploading a fuzzy, dark image of you to Snapchat.
If you’re unsure how to approach this, there’s loads of inspo on Pinterest for signs or wording you can use on invites etc. Check it out HERE
3. The Aisle Walk
If I had a pound for every time bridesmaids suddenly realise they don’t know what they’re doing for the aisle walk right before it, I’d be significantly wealthier. It’s not ideal to have panic-stricken bridesmaids practically running up the aisle in quick succession, then bunching up in a group at the top as none of them know where to sit. In an ideal world, bridesmaids/flower girls/page boys should have a reasonable gap in between, in order to a) enable them to find their seats at their top and not cause a traffic jam, and b) enable me to get at least one good, clear snap of each one doing their walk.
Have a practice with your bridesmaids, including the music you’re planning on walking up the aisle with, to ensure there’s a good gap between each one, and leaving a reasonable gap before the bride commences her walk last. I really want to capture that special moment of you looking back up at your partner from the aisle, it really is unique, and when there’s a line of bridesmaids jammed in front of you, it ain’t gonna work.
Also – and this really helps – when there is a clear line of sight from the back to the front of the aisle, it enables us photographers to capture the groom’s reaction when he sees his bride for the first time. Winner winner chicken dinner.
4. A little hand-hold never hurt anyone
Once you and your significant other are united at the top of the aisle….. it doesn’t hurt to hold hands. If not both, just one hand will do! Even if you’re not particularly tactile, holding hands makes for 1000% better ceremony photos, rather than two people who look like they’ve just met.
GIVE ME TEARS
6. Practice your kiss
OK so I’m not about to give you pointers on how to undertake your ceremony kiss, because that would be downright weird. What I will say, is that it’s worth having one trial run of your ‘You may now kiss the bride/each other’ moment, so you know what to expect from each other. For example, one could be going for a peck, and the other a full blown 3-second liplock? OK yes, I said I wouldn’t talk about it in detail….. (but so I can capture that unique moment, do have one practice before your ceremony.)
So there’s 6 things you can think about, in order to really enhance the opportunities for great ceremony photos! Obviously these aren’t rules and each wedding is unique, but just taking a little bit of time to think how it’s going to roll, helps me get the snaps that you’ll both treasure.