Step by Step Guide to a Humanist Wedding no. 11 – Photography

I was a producer and director for 25 years before I became a celebrant. In that time, I was lucky to work with some very talented people on some big campaigns for clients including Prada, Coca-Cola and the BBC, and perhaps the most important lesson I learned was that I should always allow photographers to go wherever they want so they can get those great shots you want in your album.
So when the bride comes in, I always step to the side so they can get my POV, as Sylvia of Cro+Kow demonstrates in this shot of Keren and her dad.
Talking of the entrance of the bride, one thing that drives photographers CRAZY is when your guests stick their iPads and iPhones into the aisle, and spoil your catwalk moment. 


I’ve written at length about the dos and don’ts of social media etiquette herebut if you’re paying good money for a top pro, it makes sense to ask your guests not to spoil the shot…(thanks to Trevor Wilson of Silver Photography for this!)


And at the risk of looking like an arrogant know-it-all, I thought I should just ‘offer up’ one or two of my favourite alternative angles on this part of the day.
All lenses swivel on the entrance of the bride – of course they do, it’s the big moment. But at the other end of the room, there’s an amazing photo that’s very rarely captured – the expression on the face of the groom.


This is George, captured by Rod Irvine as his gorgeous bride Carol walked into the John Muir Grove down at The Botanic Gardens…
Another shot we don’t often see is this one: the reverse to the audience. Most photographers focus almost exclusively on you, to the exclusion of your guests, which is a shame because after the ceremony, it’s lovely to see how your ceremony made them feel.
If you really want to break the rules, get the photographer to stand directly behind me as I pronounce you husband and wife.
Any photographer who’s worked with me will know that I always get out of the way very quickly…
so you get to see yourselves and your guests being really happy all in the one shot!
When it comes to signing the Marriage Schedule, some people love to strike a pose, but that may not be your style. 
If you don’t like posing, tell your photographer. A more relaxed documentary style often gives great results.
I’ve noticed that a lot of photographers take a break once the bride and groom have signed the Marriage Schedule, which is a missed opportunity: it’s nice for your witnesses to have a record of their big moment – especially if you choose to ask your mums, like Iona and Nigel…


Finally, my thanks to Yvonne Towle of the multiple-award winning Cherry Tree Films, who says, ‘If the couple are also having their wedding filmed, both the photographer and the videographer have to be more mindful of their position, especially if a full edit of the ceremony is being provided’.

PS In case you’re interested, here are a couple of frames from some of the award-winning campaigns I produced. 
This shot by Glenn Luchford for Prada not only won a silver award at D&AD, the UK’s most prestigious advertising festival, it even made it into the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
While this ad from the Eat Sleep Drink campaign I produced for Coca Cola through Weiden + Kennedy won a gold award at the British Television Awards.

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