A good wedding photographer does not just take pictures!
The best wedding photographers have always been more than just photographers. They have been, during the wedding, guides and helpers for all concerned. A wedding photographer often knows the procedure, the church, the venue, the minister/registrar, the caterers, and all involved really well. Very often the wedding photographer is the one person who is present at the bride’s side from start to finish – even the groom isn’t there to turn to for help if something goes wrong before the ceremony!
The wedding photographer is more aware of the timing of the events than anyone else. Guests often turn to the photographer to find out what’s happening next or where they are going (even if sometimes, the photographer has to ask exactly the same things). The photographer has been given the right, by the couple, to organise and direct people for groups and ensure they look their best – spotting crooked collars, missing bouquets, undone buttons (or zips!) and making sure Mini-Me is not placed right next to Hagrid in a line-up of relatives. The couple can even use the photographer to keep the right relatives together, or apart, in the interests of a harmonious wedding…
Where one guest can not reasonably take the bride and groom aside for a few minutes and capture a quiet romantic moment, the photographer is authorised to do this – and often give the couple a break just when they most want to spend a few minutes together, with someone not in their families. The traditional 15 minutes taken by a photographer to secure some great location couple shots, while the guests chat and await departure for the reception, doesn’t just produce some of the best pictures which are treasured for life. It is often the 15 minutes which – after the ceremony itself – the couple remember most. Away from a whirl of chattering guests and family, a short photo session with just one professional carefully guiding the background, pose, lighting and interaction puts them briefly in their own world.
Apart from that, professional wedding photographers rapidly learn to be entertaining – or at the very least, friendly and enthusiastic about the wedding. Most wedding specialists enjoy weddings. Some could almost be paid masters of ceremonies, they are so good at handling the crowd, respecting the officials, flattering the couple, charming the parents and working VERY hard along with it.
A wedding without a proper professional photographer is missing part of the show, the participation, and the celebration. Imagine a BAFTA night with not a single flashgun waiting at the red carpet. Imagine you go up to collect a degree, and there’s no photographer capturing each presentation. Think how Man United would feel if they walked out on to the pitch and saw the press benches empty! That’s what a wedding without a professional photographer is like.
Words by David Kilpatrick