How to Photograph a Wedding: Don't annoy your subjects

As my maid of honor tried to put my great grandmother’s pearls on me, someone called from across the room, “Wait, can you do that again?”. The peaceful, relaxing wedding prep afternoon I had envisioned had been stessful because were were running behind and I was on my last nerve. “No!”, I angrily told my officiant, who was for some reason wanting to photograph my getting ready. It was my bridezilla moment. I just couldn’t be gracious any more and had no patience left for posing moments, which I personally abhor.

Photo by Syndey Byrd Getting a corset on takes way longer than anticipated and already running late, I am clearly annoyed. Thanks goodness those things are not daily wear anymore! (Don't laugh, this was almost 10 years ago and it fit the plantation location to a tee!)

Photo by Syndey Byrd

Getting a corset on takes way longer than anticipated and already running late, I am clearly annoyed. Thanks goodness those things are not daily wear anymore! (Don't laugh, this was almost 10 years ago and it fit the plantation location to a tee!)

Having now photographed well over 100 weddings, I’ve been on the other side of the lens many times but I never forget to try and place myself in my bride or groom’s shoes. Is my presence making the bride uncomfortable for any reason? Might I suggest that everyone start getting ready now so they aren’t rushing later? What kind of day is she having? How can I shoot and not annoy him/her? I know how stressful wedding days can be and how my role can help or add stress. Often things are great and I just snap away and the bride is totally content, but what if she isn’t?

Sometimes I’ll put down my camera, even leave the room if the bride needs a few minutes alone. Maybe she just needs to have a chat about something other than the wedding to get centered again. Maybe her veil is annoying, so we take it off for now. I approach taking photos with a do not harm attitude, my clients well being and experience come first.

It is my job (and dare I say special talent?) to get the moments without having to ask the bride to “do it again”. I’m present as a quiet observer, but if needed, I’ll support the bride or groom in any way I can- even if that means putting down the camera.