Weddings

On the very day I returned from my daughter's wedding, I was asked to include a page with tips on photographing weddings as a guest, not as an official photographer, so here are some hints. But first, if you want to enjoy the happy social occasion, let me say I'd always recommend paying for a good professional, even if his/her services are expensive, as he/she can usually obtain the very best position for pictures, particularly during the ceremony, and knows how to organise people to get the best results. If possible, pick one who knows the location too. See their work beforehand, and be certain they don't seem too temperamental, but are prepared to fit in, and won't try to take everything over or waste a lot of time! Come to a firm agreement over the dates when you'll receive proofs - and check that the proofs will be sent in a form acceptable to you. I say this because my daughter was sent no proofs but just a video with the photos on it, but numbered in a way that often couldn't be read. And she had to wait months to get even this!

Leave formal photos to the professional but, while group shots are being taken, watch out for the chance to take candid shots of the people you most care about. It is worth making a list of such people beforehand, or you'll find there's some important friend or relation whom you missed.

Be prepared to take a lot of pictures and be sure that the phone battery is fully charged before you set out.



Hints and tips from Philip Grosset

Happy couple
Avoid formally posed pictures of the bride and groom. The professional can look after those. Look out for relaxed shots, as here. It's much easier to take pictures like these out of doors than in, as flash produces much more artificial looking results.
Posed shot
Keep an eye on what the official photographer is doing. Here she has carefully set up this shot, but you can use it too. You won't usually want to repeat her pictures, but if you take yours before and/or after she does, you'll probably be able to catch quite different expressions.
Arley Hall
Don't forget to show the setting. Here it is Arley Hall in Cheshire, England.
Bridesmaid
Look for amusing shots, like this one of a bridesmaid. Don't miss revealing details like her sparkling shoes on the right.


Boy
The bridesmaid's twin brother - it was the first time he'd worn this sort of tie and shirt, so he too was on my list of photos not to be missed.
Bride and bridesmaid
The bride hugs her niece, the bridesmaid. This is the sort of candid off-the-cuff picture you should look out for. There are often lots of pictures like these to be taken after the official photographer has departed.
Confetti throwing and cutting the cake can also offer good photo opportunities - but there weren't either at this particular wedding!


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