The #1 photographer tip for short wedding ceremonies

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by trigly
Ariel and Letecia  8
Photo by August Muse Images

After looking at endless wedding pictures on a million photographer’s websites, they all started to look the same. Eventually I wasn’t even noticing things like "too many wacky angles" and "way over-saturated" anymore. Then we found a guy who primarily does journalism/editorial stuff. He shoots weddings like a riot scene or war zone, which, I mean, fitting, right?

Kidding aside, his wedding stuff is good, he works well with ambient light, and really tries to capture things as they are — not posed, or falsely lit, or whatever. Since we’re both pretty uncomfortable in front of the camera, the more candid the better.

Now, when I told our photographer that our event probably wouldn’t have much traditional stuff, and the wedding ceremony would be pretty short, his biggest tip was this:

“Just try to make the kiss last longer than one second.”

Ha. Can do.

Photographers? Any other tips for short ceremonies?

  1. Ooh, that's a good tip. I would also suggest that if you're going to do something awesome and surprising that isn't normally done during a ceremony (especially if its fast) to tell the photographer. When I got married we decided, right before the ceremony, that we were going to high-five right after we kissed. It was awesome, but the photographer didn't catch it because she wasn't expecting it. We recreated it afterwards, but it just wasn't the same.

  2. Ask your Officiant, ahead if time, to step out of the way when you kiss that way you won't see a head, legs or feet between the two of you in your pictures forever – nothing makes me crazier!

    I've found getting the officiant and the photographer on the same page is the key to great ceremony photography, no matter how long or the ceremony is.

    Like Erin said, its not the same when you have to recreate a special moment so it's really helpful review the ceremony outline with the photographer, just prior to the ceremony, so they know what's coming and when.

    • Absolutely! As an officiant, I always prep my couple and their photographer that I'm going to ask for a short pause between when I tell them they can kiss and when they actually do kiss, to allow me a second to get out of the shot. It drives me nuts when I see a beautiful photo of a couple's first kiss and their officiant is in the background, scratching their nose.

  3. Look happy and attentive during your ceremony. This is for brides, grooms, and the whole dang wedding party [ooh also the family sitting in the first couple rows]. So often folks are looking down at their feet, or have that "I'm paying attention" face, have mentally and facially wandered off, or just suffer from Bitchy Resting Face. There's nothing that will kill a sweet candid moment faster than someone in the background looking grumpy.

  4. Just mimicking everything already said – COMMUNICATE as much as possible with your photographer (and all vendors!). The more they know, the less they'll miss/be surprised about. Here are some of my suggestions:

    Go slow during the processional. Not crazy slow, but don't book it down the aisle. This goes for your attendants as well.

    Look at each other instead of the officiant as much as possible. Remember to smile.

    Look up at the photographer (or just up and not at your feet) during the recessional.

    Small, fast, personal ceremonies are the best!

  5. The photographer got a friend and her FH to practice their kiss beforehand. Was definitely worth it, they got beautiful photos and held the kiss much longer than they would have otherwise, not being super demonstrative in public types. Something I need to remember to do with my FH – any excuse for a kiss haha 😉

  6. My only regret is we did not get a single photo of us kissing at our wedding! We only had a professional photographer at our reception, and whilst we did get some good photos of the ceremony from our guests no one got that one shot. Clearly I could have done with this advice 😛

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