A New England Autumn Wedding and tips for ‘Guest Photography’

We attended a fall wedding this weekend, one of my favorite things to do!

I’m a sucker for any wedding, but as autumn is my favorite season and October my favorite month, weddings this time of year are sort of a nuptial hat trick.

This ceremony and reception were held in two different Berkshire towns — the ceremony by a small private pond in Hinsdale and the reception at the quaint and totally New Englandy Morgan House in Lee.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

In addition to posting some shots from the big day, I thought I’d share a few of my guest-at-the-wedding photo tips in the process. Most of us are armed with the cameras on our smartphones these days, and guests taking photos at weddings is a ubiquitous affair. Throughout every moment of the ceremony and reception, guests will be glued to their devices at varying times, snapping photos, editing them, and posting them online faster than you can say ‘cheese.’

The very first rule of ‘guest photography’ is to be a guest first, and a photographer second. The professional who’s been hired to capture images that day will thank you, too…go ahead and have fun, and if taking photos and video is part of the fun (it is for me), snap away. Just make sure that, when your nose is two inches from the cake as you try to take an artful shot of the rosettes on top, the professional photographer isn’t behind you trying to do the same thing.

That leads me to tip number two: not all of your photos need to be perfect. The urge to delete that picture obscured by Uncle Bill’s giant noggin immediately is great, when the little trashcan icon on your camera is right there egging you on.

But don’t delete. Not only can you edit photos later, the moment is more important than the composition when it comes to guest wedding photos. The professional photographer is in charge of capturing the money shots… you’re in charge of capturing memories for yourself and the couple. There’s nothing visually special about this picture I snapped of the ring bearer, for example, but the bottle behind him — and the little hand in the right of the frame — serves as a reminder of the babies in attendance that day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Because of the over abundance of the aforementioned smartphones and other gadgets, it also bears mentioning that a lot of your photos might end up being pictures of people taking pictures. That’s fine … I call them paparazzi shots, and in a few years, it will be interesting to see what kinds of phones and cameras we were using.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

It’s also an interesting angle to take a family photo from behind another person taking the same photo:

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Things the bride and groom aren’t likely to see while they’re bustling around in their own wedding haze are great things to look for when taking pictures… guests arriving, the ceremony space before it’s filled with people, candids of the people around you, etc. Not only will these be pictures they’ll want to see later, they’ll stand out once the barrage of photos from every guest begins to flood the social networks, and help to create a full, detailed timeline of the day.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

There’s something to be said for snapping pictures of little touches at the ceremony and reception. Chances are, the couple put a good amount of thought into their colors, decorations, and location; a snapshot of the flowers at your table, for instance, is not just a burst of color in your set of photos but also a great marker of the season.

Emily and Jay's Wedding

Share your photo tips in the comments!

More Reading:

Getting Social with Wedding Planners

Nice Day for a White Wedding – Carrie and Kevin

The Art of the October Wedding – Rob and Sara

Shooting from the Hip with Lou Jones – Travel photography tips

Fire in the Mountains: Bring the heat for a fellow photog

Reblog at will… my friend Keith has suffered an artistic and financial loss due to fire, and a benefit party is being held at Springfield’s iconic Student Prince restaurant this month. Details below…

So much to publicize, so little time. The basics are this :

Benefit Fort Fire Party, October 24, 5 to 8 p.m. To be held in the new BIERGARTEN adjacent to the Fort and Student Prince.

Purpose of the benefit: Photographer Keith Sikes had his house and photographic equipment destroyed by fire. While he is covered for his loss, the insurance values artwork based on its frame rather than its content.

Included free at this event: Student Prince pub food, local music by Eagle Eyes, and a silent auction. Tickets available at the door for a donation (minimum donation is suggested at $10). The more we collect at the door, the sooner Keith gets started creating images. There will also be a silent auction for you to bid on great images at bargain prices.

Any photographers who would like to donate art for auction, please call Keith at 413-250-3738.

The Wisdom of Coca-Cola

… Im pitching article ideas left and right. Just had my Ireland /France rail travel story published at www.gonomad.com, now I’m working on several photo-related articles and a story about taking advantage of the oh-so-easy MARTA system to explore Atlanta, the city from which I just returned.

But my advice this week to fellow scribblers is this: you’ve always got your pens, no matter what else is going on in your life. And sitting in the airport yesterday, it occurred to me that ironic, or appropriate, little moments in life are happening all the time, so you don’t necessarily have to fly to Europe or Atlanta or Timbuktu in order to have something to write about.

All I did yesterday, for instance, was unscrew the cap of my Diet Coke and look to see if I’d won a free 16 ouncer or a t-shirt, and life was suddenly, absurdly, put into perspective. The cap read “Thanks for Playing, Please Try Again.” No Shakepearean sonnet nor Edward R. Murrow commentary on life as we know it could have summed things up better for me, so I’m taking that ridiculous piece of advice to heart.

Story rejected? Editor being a boob? Writer’s block? Photos fuzzy? Did the cat claw your new shoes? Roof leaking? Rent hiked? Heart broken? Thanks for Playing. Now please, try again. -wj10/2005

Atlanta photos:

The National Catholic Youth Conference was in town. Here I got caught in a demonstration of prayer… oddly though, photography was allowed.

Strolling through Olympic Park, I stumbled upon a NASCAR event. Kyle Petty? Perry? Not sure… but he was kind enough to smile for me.

Published: Sunday, 30 October 2005 Tags: