Weddings are wonderfully happy celebrations but they can be confusing and stressful as well at times. Photography, while being something everyone wants from a wedding, can be one of these major stressors. The professional photographer is trying to capture the event around venue rules and guests are often snapping away oblivious to the venue rules or couple's wishes. This handy guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of taking your camera to a wedding when you are a guest.
1. Ask the Couple
Ask the couple if it is ok for you to bring a camera to the wedding and take pictures. This includes your cell phone if you plan on using it to take pictures. There are several reasons why a couple may not want you to take photos at the wedding. Some professional photographers request that no other cameras be allowed (remember from my Wedding Photography Tips that other flashes can ruin a photo). The wedding venue may have strict rules about flashes or when photography is allowed. The couple may also prefer no cameras because of guests shifting out of seating, numerous flashes disrupting the ceremony, and the noise many cameras make. Whatever the reason, honor the couple’s request if they ask you not to bring a camera.
2. Turn Off Camera Sounds
If your camera has the capability, turn off all beeps and other audio sounds of your camera. Shutter snaps can be loud enough in echoing church or wedding hall without the added beeps of focus confirmations. Turning off the camera sounds is just good manners, same as turning off your cell phone sounds.
3. Turn Off the Flash
If the couple doesn’t mind that you bring your camera be sure to turn off the flash. Yes it is likely to be very dark (at least as far as your camera is concerned) at indoor weddings or outdoor nighttime weddings, but most religious ceremonies frown on flash as it is considered an interruption to a sacred event. Unexpected flash can also ruin the paid professional photos that the couple is paying a lot of money to get. Turn up the ISO on your camera and turn off the flash. Your photos may be a bit grainy but remember that there are many options for noise reduction in editing.
4. Stay in Your Seat
Remember that if you get out of your seat during the ceremony, either just standing up or moving into the aisle, you are blocking the view of the guests seated behind you and possibly the official wedding photographer or videographer. Even if you manage not to block anyone's view, think about how you will look on the official video if you keep popping up and down out of your seat. If there is not any assigned seating be sure to get a seat with a view you like when you first sit down.
5. Share With the Couple
You’ve taken photos and you got some pretty good photos. Now share with the couple. It can take a week to a month to get the professional photos (editing a few thousand shots takes a lot of time) so the couple will appreciate being able to see your photos soon after the wedding. If you and the couple both use a social network such as Facebook or Google Plus, or if you use a photo hosting site like Flickr, sharing your photos of the wedding is as simple as an upload and tagging. If you or the couple is not active online, consider ordering 4x6 prints from a company such as Mpix and having them shipped directly from the printer to the newlyweds.