Our good friend Desmond married his beautiful bride, Simone last month, with a stunning reception at The Merion of Cinnaminson, NJ. As a guest at the wedding, I debated whether to bring my camera with me since I did not want to get in the way of the hired photographer. There is nothing worse than working at a wedding and lining up a beautiful shot, just to have "Uncle Bob" jump in front of you with his "good camera" and cause you to miss a special moment. At the same time, I knew my family would be dressed up, I knew a lot of our friends would be there, and I knew I wanted to capture my experience with more than just my iPhone. I also had worked at The Merion before, and knew a bit about where the photographer would be shooting most of the formal shots, which made me confident that I could stay out of his or her way. So, off I went to the wedding, all decked out with camera and flash, but vowing not to be Uncle Bob.
If you want to take your "good camera" to a wedding and you don't want to be "Uncle Bob" here are some tips:
1. Stay away when it is time for formal and family portraits. If you are standing off to the side, or behind the photographer while they are working, everyone will be looking in different directions instead of where they are supposed to look. The bride and groom are paying a lot of money for their photos - they don't want half the family looking at your iPhone when they are supposed to be looking at the photographer.
2. Don't step into the aisle or block the view of the photographer during the ceremony. I don't think I have to even explain this one. Just imagine when the bride and groom receive their expensive album of photos from the photographer they chose to curate their day, and the back of your head is blocking their shot of the first kiss. No bueno.
3. Be aware of your flash. If you are firing your flash and the photographer is firing his/her flash at the same time, neither one of you is going to have a decent photo.
4. Go ahead and take photos of your family and friends - nice candid and posed shots are great. Find a quiet spot away from the formal photos and have some fun. Take some shots during dinner or cocktail hour or on the dance floor after the photographer leaves for the evening.
5. Take photos of the bride & groom at the reception, when the photographer is done or when everyone else is getting a shot - Just don't step between the photographer and the couple. Ever.
If you follow these tips and use common sense, you can get some great photos of your friends and family - and even a few of the bride and groom - without being "Uncle Bob" and ruining the professional shots that the bride & groom are hoping to get from their paid professional. I know I am really looking forward to seeing all the pro photos from Desmond & Simon's wedding, In the meantime, here are some of my favorite shots that I took while staying out of the way.