Whilst us pro wedding photographers are stressing about capturing the dream wedding for the happy couple, some of the guests will be snapping away. Here are my tips on making the most of being a wedding guest, apart from the champagne.
For most couples, your wedding day will be the Happiest Day of Your Life, but it also be the one that passes the quickest. However you look at it, weddings are one of the most high-pressure days in a couple’s lifetime together- and they’re filled with expectation. It can be a day they’ve been planning and saving for for years and in some cases, especially for brides, dreaming about since they were little. It’s the one day when even the most camera- shy person realises they’ll be having lots of photos taken and often spends a large amount of cash hiring the services of a professional photographer.
Influenced by bridal and celebrity magazines, they want photos that show their day how they always imagined it would be-all love, romance and wistful gazes, plus a few off beat fun moments when the guests let their hair down. More often than not, they want a full story of their whole day. From small details of their expensive shoes and dress, to them getting ready, reportage-style coverage of candid moments, the posh car, arriving at church, the ceremony, signing the register, traditional group shots, romantic couple images, flattering portraits, the speeches, the guests, cake cutting, the first dance the disco and/or band. Everything in fact!
If you’re keen to have a go at wedding photography the best place to start is to shoot a wedding as an invited guest- where the pro photographer has already been hired. That way, there’s no pressure. To shoot at a wedding like this, concentrate on candid and reportage-style photos rather than shooting over the shoulder of the pro. After all, you’ll only annoy them and take almost identical but poorer copies of his shots: useless to anyone. Instead, focus on the candids and unusual viewpoints that you are priveliged to as a guest that the under-pressure pro can’t necessarily get. While he or she is sorting out a formal line-up, why not shoot candids of the subjects from a different angle? Zoom in on one or two guests. shoot close-ups of the couple holding hands, maybe, or turn around and shoot pictures of the other guests who naturally look more relaxed. Be on the lookout for unexpected moments: a bridesmaid running around on the lawn, the bride sneaking a sip of pint, a grown up bridesmaid slipping outside for a sneaky ciggy – anything that tells a fuller picture of the day, sometimes parts the couple will have missed and compliment the professional shots rather than compete with them. Take a creative video or create a slideshow video of your best candid moments.