I absolutely love weddings. However, I think there is some etiquette that many people don't know nowadays when it comes to attending a wedding where a professional photographer has been hired to capture this special day! If you know all the below, hallelujah, all wedding photographers love you :) Here are my etiquette suggestions for guests attending a wedding with a hired professional photographer.
1. The Bride is my Client. Although you may think "The bride wants a photo of my family, so I must grab the photographer to take a photo at the rehearsal of me and my family" If she didn't tell me, its probably not top of her list. I'd suggest never pulling the photographer aside to take a photo of you, your friends, or family. If I think the bride wants one, I'll take it. If you're really concerned about this, check with the bride first. This isn't so you'll have a photo tagged of you at the wedding on facebook. This goes for bridesmaids and their partners. Please don't ask me to take a photo of you in the middle of running family photos, or to sneak out of the reception to take photos of you and your boyfriend/husband. Run it by the bride, if she okays it...then I'll do it. I'm more than happy to take individual family photos if we get done with things early, but only at the bride's request. I usually try to take photos of every table at the reception, so the bride will know you made it. That being said, I'd suggest never contacting the photographer after the wedding for a photo of you. You may be shocked that anyone would do this, but I've had this happen a number of times. The bride is my client, she hired me, she gets the photos and can give them out to you afterwards.
2. Don't be "Uncle Bob" Uncle Bob is the term used for the guy who steps in front of the photographer to get a photo on his little point and shoot camera, iphone or DSLR. I'm hired for a reason, please don't step in front of me for cutting the cake photos, first dance, etc. Even other camera flashes can ruin a photo and make it unusable for me. I'd suggest not using a flash during any "important" moment during the wedding day. Save it for when the bride and groom are chatting at the reception. Here is a shot that was completely ruined by someone else's flash just last month. Thankfully it was just a candid reception shot, and not the "I do" kiss shot!
3. Stay out of the aisle. I'm not saying the wedding needs to be completely unplugged (where the Bride and Groom ask guests not to take any photos. If they do, please honor their wishes) But stay out of the aisle. Don't lean into the aisle ever during the ceremony to take photos. Especially don't jump out in the aisle. If you'd like, feel free to take photos at the wedding, but the trick is to keep your arms in and camera/phone near your body. I've seen many pictures ruined by someone holding an ipad high above the ceremony to take photos and block the photographer's otherwise great shot!
4. Don't take photos the photographer has set up without asking. Did you know many photographers have in their contract if someone starts doing this, they can leave? You're basically stealing their copyrighted photo doing this. Yes, that's correct...setting up a photo has been determined to be a copyrighted work. (this is the lawyer in me coming out). If I take the time to set up a photo, don't take photos behind my back. I dislike this mostly because the people I'm taking photos of will start to look at you, rather than at my camera....which can ruin the shot. Weddings are always on a time crunch, so the distraction can really hurt the photos.
5. Trust the Photographer. You can't believe the number of people that will come up and say things like "Did you take a picture of the cake?" "Make sure you take a picture of X" or "You should take a photo of these people doing this." It takes up my time. I can tell you not once have I politely taken a photo something, and actually used it in the hundreds of photos I give to a bride. If you're a photographer, you know not to do this...and if you're not a photographer...you probably shouldn't tell me what photos to take.
6. There is no "Fashionably Late" in Wedding Photography. If the bride has asked you to be at a certain place at a certain time for family photos, arrive early. Her schedule is tight, and often something has gone wrong to make it even worse. Being late to a family photo means either 1) You won't be in the photo 2) They will wait and have to push back other photos or possibly not take other photos 3) They rearrange and cause stress for the bride. This happens at most of the weddings I photograph...yikes!
Well those are my 6 tips for attending a wedding with a professional photographer! If you're in attendance, that means you're probably close with the bride and groom. My tips are for them, so I can provide them with each special moment captured by my camera!