Your Wedding Day is finally here!
You’ve hired on all the pros to handle everything, from food to music, linens, cake and more! Perhaps the most expensive investment at your wedding (besides the ice on your finger) is the photographer. Albeit that some of you also hired a professional & magnificent cinematographer, but for the sake of this post, they will be one in the same.
I am not going to dance around this, I watch wedding days unfold nearly every weekend, I see a cluster coming before the people caught in it even realize, so, here is my one and ONLY photography tip for your wedding day.
Tell your parents to leave their cameras at home!
My advice (read: warning) has nothing to do with the fact that most ordinary people (me, you, your parents, or any other hobbyist at your wedding) do not know how to use the fancy DSLR camera they bought at Costco for cheap or during the last Black Friday sale, I mean I AM one of those people, except I bought my DSLR at the military base, no tax baby! HA! Ok, but seriously, this is the same for anyone with a point and shoot camera OR a fancy schmancy one. Here are my reasons:
Reason #1: Parents carrying bulky cameras strapped to their bodies as they process down the isle for the ceremony (because they do not trust anyone to hold it OR want to have it available when they sit down) look ridiculous. Parents with little cameras stuffed in their even littler pockets, purses, or in their hands look worse, especially when that hand should be on the grooms arm or escorting a bride.
Reason #2: Parents who have cameras stuck to their faces or are looking down a the LCD screen every time they take a shot, CANNOT be captured in a natural/emotional state by the pro you hired. Because the parent is more focused on taking his/her own photos of the ceremony and checking how good they are or are not (deciding whether or not it was a good idea to put the camera on manual or auto mode), they are likely NOT even experiencing the ceremony! If for some reason they are listening and they are moved by the words of the officiant, the people paid to capture those photo journalistic, emotional moments, can’t… because mom or dad has a big ol chuck of Canon stuck to their face.
Reason #2.5: During said ceremony, in a church, where the parent gives up on using manual mode and switches to auto… guess what, a flash goes off as it always does with auto mode. This not only pisses-off the already mean church coordinator who yells at the hired photographers for it (and me bc somehow I become responsible for the hired photogs), BUT there’s a chance that the hired photog’s shot they had set up for and were waiting for the right moment to take, has been ruined by this unexpected burst of unnecessary flash.
Reason #3: Post ceremony pics are nearly always crammed for time with too many people. Hired photogs have a system to get through these important formal shots everyone wants. But if your parent is busier taking photos of all the guests outside the church or the guests at the cocktail hour, then he or she can’t be in the photos, so we have to track them down, then they gotta put their camera down, or if they don’t, they hold it behind themselves instead of holding you… Lame that a camera is more important that a moment with you, not to mention they look funny with their chest sticking out and no arms in photos. In that same scenario, if your parent decides to stand directly behind the hired photog to capture all their same shots, now the photog can’t move about freely to adjust the shot. Awesome. Why not just tie the photog’s feet together, that at least would be funny.
Reason #4: During the fun bridal photo shoot…It is likely that ordinary people don’t have the right lenses for different shots and when they do, it takes them 5 or more minutes to trade them out, at which point, the incredibly awesome moment they were going to capture is gone…long gone… sadly, I have seen time and time again, how photo schedules intricately figured out by the photographer & myself fall behind, waaay behind, because a parent stops the photos to recreate the moment of now ten minutes ago, so that he/she can try to capture it too, which takes even longer since they are still trying to figure out the whole auto v. manual thing. Multiply this by the two or thirteen times it happens, and now we are really behind! By the way, did I mention that said parent is now missing mingling with all their guests and family at the cocktail hour?? Sad. True Story: I once had a parent miss the limo ride to the reception from church (the bridal party was in a party bus), because he was taking photos and didn’t realize the limo left, and the other parent assumed he was in the back of the limo… the party bus took off, limo was gone, so were all the guests, and yea, that was a “yelling-at” I didn’t appreciate.
Reason #5: A parent playing shadow to a photographer to capture all the moments at the reception will undoubtedly trip and fall over themselves, it will not be funny, but it will however distract everyone from paying attention to the first dance, toast, prayer… whatever it was they were so feverishly trying to photograph. This sucks, because the attention is taken away from the moment, you will not get it back… it turns into a spectacle, no matter how small or comical, your moment is no longer yours. Not to mention that the parents missed that moment too… This gets worse when the parent is due to give a speech or toast, I’ve asked them to take their seat so that they are ready when the emcee announces them and five minutes later as they are introduced, they rise up from a dark corner where they were squatting by the charging equipment for their camera. OR they can’t hold their glass of champagne or because guess what is in their hands?? Right, a camera. Perhaps the most silly thing I have seen, is a parent taking photos as they are giving the speech, from the middle of the dance floor, as they speak, instead of standing next to you and actually seeing your face as those sweet loving words are given.
I am done writing reasons because this post is too long. You get the point, you want your parents to enjoy and experience the day with you, not to hurt themselves or look silly in every photo because it is a photo of them taking a photo of moments they are supposed to be enjoying. You’ve all invested a lot of money and time planning this day, let the pros you’ve hired earn their fees AND do the best job that they can do for you… photogs already struggle with the iphone carrying masses in the way (including yours truly), the cinema team, uncle Bob and aunt Sally with their DSLRs, your college friend who wanted to take pics as your present and brought his light reflectors and umbrella flashes (true story!), and the limited time they have to do it in… really, there is no need for the people who count most to be MIA in photos or be running around like photography interns.