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This afternoon we have another edition of Ask the Experts and James & Lianne are here as resident photography experts to discuss being banished from the ceremony room, taking photos of the back of your head and what to discuss with your celebrant. Have you been told your photographer’s can’t shoot the ceremony? James & Lianne have lots of advice for you on the subject and I hope you find it useful in your planning.
There are two things that really vex wedding photographers the world over: not getting fed (that’s another story in itself) and being told they’re not allowed to shoot the ceremony. Wait, what!? For what possible reason wouldn’t your photographer be permitted to capture the pivotal point of your wedding day? Well, it perplexes and disheartens us in equal amounts too but, it happens all to often.
For most people, we suspect that the moment you see each other at the end of the aisle for the first time, regardless of whether your ceremony is religious, humanist or civil, is one of the most memorable moments of your wedding day. It would be a shame to miss those reactions. Likewise, that first kiss at the very moment you are declared married, equally a memorable moment you’d like capturing for posterity. Yet, many celebrants, religious and non-religious have in our experience put an out-right ban on us as photographers being able to capture those moments. The reasons are broad, I’ll list a few that are the most common:
Okay, ignoring the completely ridiculous 3rd one, these reasons all stem from the celebrant and not the couple themselves. Any photographer worth their money is going to be 100% discrete, isn’t going to be moving around and is going to simply get on with their job whilst the celebrant gets on with theirs. After all, your celebrant is paid to do a job just as much as the photographer is, so why should the celebrant be able to tell the photographer what and what not to do?
Unfortunately, there’s little we as the photographers can do faced with this last minute information on the day. And if you weren’t prepared for it, you may end up wondering why your photographer is sat at the back of the congregation as you pass them as you head down the aisle. If we’re lucky, we’re banished to the back of the room/building and allowed to take some photos of the back of your heads. Hardly the dynamic, emotional photographs you were hoping for, ‘ey? If we’re less lucky, we can be banished literally to the outside, often with someone to babysit us to make sure we don’t try anything sneaky like trying to do the job we’ve been paid to do! (Yes, this really happens).
If we do get banished, in our personal experience, we’ve been approached every time by the celebrant after the ceremony and told ‘we were brilliant’ and ‘were so unobtrusive’. Every time! So, why couldn’t we be brilliant up front, being unobtrusive and actually doing what we’ve been paid to do? Well, a lot of celebrants have had bad experiences with bad photographers of yesteryear and that doesn’t help. So, to combat this, we get to the point of this post and how you can ensure this doesn’t happen to you and your photographer and actually get the photos you want… not just the back of your heads.
James & Lianne have been a couple for 14 years and photographers for 6 scooping up awards along the way. They love shooting relaxed, fun weddings and have a penchant for all things analogue, especially film photography.