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

Winning the Epica Prix d’Or for BBC Radio Scotland

I was a producer and director before I became a celebrant, working on campaigns for Prada, Coca-Cola, the BBC and VisitScotland. Over my 25-year career, I was lucky to work with some very talented people and I learned a lot from them. 

I know you will treasure the images from your wedding for the rest of your lives, which is why I do my utmost to make sure that your image makers get the shots they want. 

That starts even before the ceremony. Unless you specifically want your guests to take photos, I’ll ask them to put their phones and cameras away. When you’re paying good money for a top pro, it makes sense to ask your guests not to spoil the shot…

Claire & Ross, Suzanne Li

When you come down the aisle, I always step to the side so the photographer and videographer can get my POV. And during the ceremony, I make a point of being aware of where they are, so I don’t block their shots. This is particularly true when you’re speaking your vows. 

Ellen & Joe

Often these days I will walk out of shot, so you can speak to one another directly, but even if I’m there holding vow cards for you, I’ll make sure they have a clear view of you.

Carly & Gordon

One photo I make a point of not being in is this one…

I’ve worked with lots of photographers and filmmakers over the years, but new talent is always emerging, so it’s important they know that the set up at your wedding may be a little different to what they’re used to.

Pippa & Ross

Your wedding is a ‘live event’, which means that your guests are my first concern. I want them to have the best view of you and your wedding party, so your shooters need to work around that.

Pippa & Ross

While it’s normal in a religious marriage, it’s quite rare for couples to stand with their backs to their guests in humanist weddings. 

Hannah & Neil

Exactly how you stand is up to you, but it’s something that we will discuss during the process, and it’s important that your photographers and filmmakers are aware.

Mhairi & David
Mhairi & David

I generally suggest that you stand diagonally opposite your families, rather on the same side; that way the people who love you most get the best view. 

Judi & Chris

Sometimes that won’t work with the prevailing light, so I’ll suggest swapping the front rows over instead. My only hard and fast rule on photography is that I will do my best to help.

Ailsa & Thomas

If you’re a photographer, videographer or filmmaker and we haven’t worked together before, I hope you’ll contact me before the day so we can have a chat. You’ll find my phone number and email address on the home page.

That lovely image at the top of this piece was taken by Ditte of Firstlight Photography at Gary & Gerry’s wonderful wedding at the Bonham Hotel in 2021 and you can see more of her work (and read their story) here.

PS In case you’re interested, here are a few 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.

And this is one of the six spots I produced that won that Epic Prix d’Or – brought to life by the wonderful Jonathan Barnbrook.

  1. Martin Pettinger left a comment on September 10, 2022 at 11:12 am

    HI Tim, I loved working with you when I was a wedding photographer. Your understanding of lighting and positioning of both the photographer and videographer(s) was incredible. I cannot disagree with any of your advice here in particular the guests with camera suggestion. I too used to suggest to the bride and groom that the celebrant asks (with their permission of course) that guests leave their phones in their pocket and their cameras in their bag for the entrance of the bride (typically being given away by her father, but of course not always) In actual thank over zealous amateurs (Or Uncle ****head as Peter Kay would describe them) were the worst obstacle to work around at weddings. Similarly amateur camcorder operators or inexperienced videographers were a bain of my professional work as being inexperienced they didn’t understand were they should stand to both capture the ceremony and do it justice. The worst wedding I photographed had 3 student videographers which offered to shoot the wedding for £50 for experience. I can honestly say they completely compromised my work. Being professional I of course still delivered great images and worked as best as I could with them but there is incredible skill required by what I would rather call visual storytellers or cinematographers. Getting married myself next year I have the luxury of working with many of Scotland’s top talents both in stills and the moving image. In some cases I actually declined weddings knowing who the videographer was going to be – i.e. not a discreet storyteller but a character who wanted to interfere and direct the wedding. Anyway I am digressing now, keep delivering beautiful ceremonies and moments. All the best, Martin

    • Tim Maguire left a comment on September 10, 2022 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you very much, Martin – I really appreciate your kind words, and hope that you have a wonderful wedding when it comes. One thing we can both be sure of is that nobody’s going step into the aisle and block the shot of Ruth coming down the aisle!

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