The Critical Role That Creeping Around Like a Ghost Plays in My Wedding Photography

4 Tactics Wedding Photographers Can Use to Avoid Being Disruptive

When I photograph weddings, I morph into the invisible woman.  I frequently receive feedback from couples that I work with saying they didn’t even notice my presence during their wedding, so they’re surprised by all the little moments that I capture.  I love taking relaxed, candid photographs of people as if I were a fly on the wall.  They look so much more natural than asking people to stop what they are doing and pose with a forced grin; I have only encountered a handful of people who actually do like having their photo taken, so for me, this is the best approach to get gorgeous and meaningful portraits throughout your wedding day.  A real hug from your mother is always better than someone barking directions at you: “OK stand beside mom, smile, *click*” and moving on to the next thing.

Here are a few tips on how I maintain a low profile at weddings, capturing priceless moments without distracting from the main event:

  1. I look like a wedding guest.  I dress like a wedding guest [except in black which may break some unwritten rule, but it helps me hide in shadowy corners].  Sure, I have a camera or two strapped to me, but so do half of the guests.  I stash my camera bag in a corner and pretend I’m one of your old friends from college.
  2. Two camera bodies.  I like to carry two camera bodies; it can get heavy, but it has greatly improved the way I photograph weddings.  I keep a wider lens on one camera and a longer lens on the other.  Because I can switch back and forth easily without changing lenses, I don’t miss any moments or have to worry about dropping them; and I don’t cause a distraction from you or your guests with zipping or Velcro noises.
  3. Zoom lenses and long prime lenses are my wedding day BFF.  I stand way back from the action for the entire day.  The only time I step forward is during formal photos when we need to get things done.  During the ceremony, I go around the perimeter with my 70-200mm zoom lens to get close up ceremony shots without distracting guests by going up and down the center aisle.  For the rest of the day, I switch back and forth between my 50mm and 85mm prime lenses for the zoom benefits without the weight.
  4. Ambient light.  Nothing gives away your position like a flash or a video light.  Whenever possible, I use the natural ambient light available so no one knows when I’m lurking around or who/what I am focusing on.  During the reception, when it is too dark, I use an off camera flash set up on a stand in the corner of the room – people know I’m taking photos, but they don’t know what the subject is.

Your wedding day is about you and your partner, not your photographer.  I have been to weddings that have drill sergeant photographers directing every move; as a major introvert, that is not my style and will never happen when you are working with me.  If you are looking for a photographer who will take charge and lead you through your wedding day, I can help you find one.  I’m really more of a photojournalist who is friendly enough to let you know that your bra strap is showing or that turning your head a tiny bit more to the right will put you in better light.

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