my flickr photostream

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wedding etiquette

© 2008 Claire Voelkel

My wife and I are going to a friend's wedding tomorrow, and I plan on bringing my camera. I want to take some good pictures, but at the same time I don't want to be "that guy with the DSLR." Here's a few tips for getting the most out of attending a wedding with a camera:

- Let the pro do their job. Couples pay a lot of money for a professional to come and shoot their wedding. Whatever you do, don't distract them or the people they're shooting for any reason. You're there as a guest to have fun, not to ask questions about how much their gear costs or whether Canon or Nikon is better. (The answer is Nikon, obviously.) Be wary of shooting near them - people see multiple cameras and get confused about where to look. You don't want to be the one that screws up the family portrait.

- Take unique pictures. The professional has a list of must-have shots, and at the end of the day you're not going to be able to top anything they take. They have the gear, the access, and the experience. So focus instead on things that the photographer won't have. The photographer will be mainly focused on the bridal party and the immediate families, so you should look for other opportunities. Get a shot of the bride's friend crying during the vows. Catch the groom's aunt laughing at the toasts. Find stories happening while the bridal party is doing formal portraits. This way, you stay out of the photographer's way and produce shots that the couple will appreciate.

- Have fun! You're there to enjoy the wedding and celebrate, not to be a photographer. Take some pictures, but don't forget to experience the wedding. When someone asks "how was it?" you shouldn't have to say "not sure, haven't looked at my photos yet."

- Only pass your best shots on to the couple. Getting pictures from guests is nice. Getting 700 nuked flash snapshots... not so much. Find those unique shots and share those.

Thanks to Claire Voelkel and Matt Mendick for today's photo. Check out Matt's flickr photo-stream.


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. Is that a shot from your wedding!? It's lovely!

    I definitely broke the don't-get-in-the-pros way once or twice, but I came to the realization that (as you said) they're going to get amazing shots, so why don't I put my focus elsewhere? I ended up taking (amateur) videos since this particular wedding had opted against a videographer, and the bride/groom/parents really appreciated my doing that. :)

  2. @Kristan - yep, it was taken during the toasts. One of my favorites from the wedding, pro or amateur.

    Funny you mention video, I'm planning on shooting a little bit with my point n shoot as well. Unless they have a videographer, and then same rules apply ;)