Documentary wedding photographer

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Getting ready for the wedding

Why having a photographer while getting ready ?

This is a question worth asking. Indeed more often than not, wedding couples believe that getting ready only means going to the hairdresser.

Well, this is partly true, and in fact there are similar key moments  such as making-up, the manicure or putting on the dress…

Some fantastic moments

So why should you ask a professional photographer to attend the wedding preps ? Simply because, unless you’re an outcast living alone in a dark cave, there will be unforgettable moments to photograph.

These are the moments that I find interesting and worth shooting. The emotion of the father who sees the bride in the wedding dress for the first time is just an example amongst many other situations that can happen. Not to forget that many newly-weds nowadays already have children before getting married. This will definitely leads to memorable moments ! On the wedding day everything flies by and they can easily forget what happened during the time before the ceremony. For that reason, often these are the photos that people love the most.

Being able to remember these moments through my photos, even several years after your wedding, is invaluable and it is so much more important than clichés such as the photos of the bouquet or the rings…

Do not rely on relatives to shoot these photos

Yes, even if she takes great photos and she just bought the latest state-of-the-art DSLR camera. To capture moments during the wedding preps requires a great experience of weddings and it is a task that relates a lot to photojournalism rather than to traditional portraiture. And wouldn’t it be better for that person to enjoy these moments with you instead ? So ask a professional photographer instead.

Wedding ceremony: that special moment

Wedding ceremonies can be tricky to shoot. You never know what to expect, but at the same time you know pretty much what to expect ! There will be key-moments common to every wedding ceremony: the entrance of the bride, the vows, the groom and bride placing wedding ring on each other ‘s finger, the kiss, and so on… Certainly, as a photographer, I cannot miss these moments as they are important to the bride and groom.

Coming out of my comfort zone

Yet, in my opinion wedding ceremony is not so much about these key-moments. It’s about emotion. For example in the selection above, check out my photo of the groom and bride exchanging rings. Did I focus on them ? No, I focused on the bride’s mother because her face was showing so much emotion and she was almost bursting into tears. Certainly that is a more powerful image than if I had focused on the couple. Of course, sometimes I do focus on them if I think it’s worth it. This is the case on the photo where the couple is laughing because the ring is too small and the bride’s sister is looking over the scene, that’s a funny one !

Children are also a great subject during the ceremony. They are so bored that it always leads to funny situations. Children just being children is a joy to photograph. And often the bride and groom will love to look at these photos because they did not witness any of what I’ve witnessed as a photographer. So they’ll be happy, and sometimes even surprised, to find out what happened in the background during their wedding ceremony !

A real lighting challenge

To be honest, because ceremonies can be held in various location ranging from the darkest churches to the brightest outdoor location in the middle of a summer afternoon, taking photos of this kind of event can become a real challenge. Fortunately I have enough experience and versatile gear to handle the most difficult situations so I can focus on the moments rather than fiddling with my gear’s settings !

Wedding portraits

If you’ve read a bit about my photo-journalistic style then you know by now that  I much prefer taking candid shots and capture moments that count instead of asking people to pose for me.

But, having said that, I know portrait photography is part of the wedding and it is unlikely that the bride and groom will want to skip this session. It usually matters to them and I must admit this is all but surprising. You don’t dress up like that every day. So it makes sense to take a few beautiful portraits to remember how you looked on your wedding day.

Let’s make it fun

Ok, like I said I’m not much of a portrait photographer and you probably don’t like posing either, unless you are a professional model, but the odds for that are like one in a million 🙂 Therefore, I shoot portraits almost the same way as I shoot the rest of the wedding. I LET the couple do what they want, I let them talk to each other, laugh together, whatever it takes to make them forget about me, the photographer. Sometimes, if that does not work, I’ll suggest a few poses, but that does not happen very frequently.

Also, since my wedding packages include an engagement session, my newly-weds usually are very at ease with me because we’ve spent some time together prior to the wedding. So all in all it is a fun moment and sometimes doing wedding portraits is actually a good way to get relived from the stress of all these things going around on that day.

Wedding party

I guess it’s different in every country but what I call wedding party is anything happening after the wedding ceremony. So this will usually includes the cocktail, the diner, and the first dance followed by a night of craziness and partying. This is also likely to include various (emotional) speeches during diner.

Again, this is all about capturing moments of people having fun.

Note that this is often the time I choose to shoot a few bride and groom portraits. While guests are having a drink and eating finger-food, it is OK to escape for 20 minutes or so with the couple and shoot a few portraits. Also because the party often starts in the late afternoon, the light is much softer and more appropriate for beautiful photos.

Group shots and formals

Not really part of the wedding party, but it often occurs during the cocktail. Sometimes, the newly-weds want to have group photos. Although I’m more into candid shots, I understand it is important for them to also have this kind of souvenirs.

I will usually spend no more than 10 minutes taking group photos. It is fast because I always take the time to plan group photos with the bride and groom before the wedding. I ask them to put a bunch of groups together so that on the wedding day, we won’t have to figure out who they are supposed to be photographed with.


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