April 28, 2021
This is the moment you’ve dreamt about for a very long time but will you get the most amazing wedding ceremony photos?
The day you change from Ms. to Mrs. all because you fell in love.
The guests are seated and the music is playing. The bridesmaids have started their way to their spot, standing by your side as you marry your best friend.
You start your way down the aisle and your eyes lock, you see your groom at the end of aisle waiting for you. This is what it’s all about.
Our goal as wedding photographers is to create the most incredible images of your wedding day. Throughout most of the day we offer prompts and guidance regarding lighting, backdrops, and posing that will help create the most flattering images.
The time that we have the least control over any of those things is during the ceremony. During the part of the day we take a strong photojournalistic approach, we photograph it just as it happens rather than giving you direction. Because of this, to get the best images possible, proper planning is a must.
Here are a few helpful tips to ensuring we are able to create the most beautiful wedding ceremony photos possible.
The right officiant is the one who will set the tone of the ceremony. To ensure that the ceremony reflect who the two of you are as a couple it’s important that you are able to connect with the officiant.
He or she will often want to learn about your stories and some key point in your relationship so he can deliver a personalized touch to what he’s sharing. Often times they will share something funny, throw in a joke to help everyone relax and to relate. This is a great thing cause smile and laughter allows us to create images you will love.
The key to amazing images is light, that’s what photographs are made of really. And we don’t just mean any light, we meant the RIGHT light.
Typically, the lower the sun is, the softer the light. Meaning early morning and late afternoon typically yields the softest light. If the sun is too high like it is at noon, the lighting will be very harsh with strong shadows. Most likely creating what we call raccoon eyes. This is when the brim of the nose and cheek bones are lit while the eye socket is dark. Those don’t create very flattering images.
Because of this, we usually recommend the ceremony be later in the day. If this isn’t possible, we’d recommend working with your wedding planner to select a ceremony space where the sun will be behind you to reduce the harsh lines and decrease squinting.
We typically offer two starting points to your ceremony time. One timeframe if you plan on doing a first look and the second if don’t plan on a first look. If you are unsure which is best for you check the Pro’s and Con’s of a First Look post we wrote.
If you plan to do a first look we recommend your ceremony time be a minimum of 60-90 minutes prior to sunset. When you do not want to do a first look, we recommend your ceremony be a minimum of 90-120 minutes prior to sunset.
This gives you plenty of time to enjoy your ceremony, buffer time in case the ceremony runs long and still enough time to enjoy that soft, romantic light.
An unplugged wedding is when you kindly ask your guests to put away their devices during the ceremony. This gives them a much more personal and intimate experience for this special day. They can focus on what’s happening in front of them rather than pictures being taken or videos recorded.
One of the benefits is that your guests will be more focus on what’s happening, rather than taking pictures.
The phones and event the iPad can be a major source of distraction as you are walking down the aisle or even as you’re saying your vows. I know you’d rather see your guests glowing faces rather than the the new phone case they got.
And distractions aside, I can promise you, your wedding ceremony photos will look cleaner and more professional with out the phone popping up over everyones head in our photos.
I’m sure your guests mean well and want to get a great shot but they aren’t usually aware of where your photographer is. There’s a good chance they may be accidentally blocking us from capturing great images during key moments of the ceremony. Your walk down the aisle or your first kiss isn’t something we can recreate.
Advise your guest before the ceremony starts. A great way to do this is with a sign at the ceremony entrance and possibly even a message on your wedding website.
Request the officiant to make an announcement prior to the start of the ceremony. He or she could simply as your guests to be present in the ceremony and refrain from taking images as you have hired professionals to capture this moment for you.
You could offer a compromise with your guests. Your officiant could early on in the ceremony could ask the two of you to turn and face the guests. Then invite the guests to snap a quick photo of the two of you. The officiant would then ask the guest to tuck their phone away till after the ceremony. This way everyone wins.
A super simple adjustment you could make would be to face the guests for the ceremony. Traditionally couples would be facing the alter. Chat with your officiant about having your face the guests, which means he or she may walk a bit down the aisle to talk to you and that’s totally ok.
You may be a bit nervous facing your guests and that’s normal too just ask the officiant to have you adjust from facing your guests to facing each other.
This also makes for great wedding ceremony photos of your faces, not just the back of your heads.
There are so many great and simple ways to improve the way your ceremony look. It does take careful planning but if you only implement one of the tips we shared, you’ll be another step towards the wedding of your dreams.
Just don’t forget the reason you’re doing all this… it’s the connection and the love the two of you share for each other.
If you’re wanting more tips and resources for planning your wedding, we have so much more for you!
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Leslie Ann Photography
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