The Art of Being Inconspicuous

Weddings are very expensive, very personal, very intimate events to be shared by the wedding couple and their closest friends and family. It’s a time when two people promise before the world their love for one another and their commitment to each other till death do them part. It’s truly a once in a lifetime event. Never again will these two people stand together at this moment, in front of these people, saying these words to one another. The last thing they want is some goofy photographer running around getting in the way and causing a distraction! It’s our job as professionals to not become part of the event but to simply capture the event for the couple and their family to enjoy for generations to enjoy.

I know it’s hard to stay inconspicuous while at the same time capturing once in a lifetime moments but it can be done. I am a 6’ 2” 300lb beast of a man and I can blend in with the best of them. The trick is being aware of your surroundings. Plan out your shots.  Be familiar with the schedule of the event so you know when and where to be for all the right moments. There is no reason to be running up and down the aisle if it’s not necessary. Many ministers don’t appreciate it and most of all your clients and their guests will not appreciate the distraction. Here are some tips I employ to practice what I call non-invasive wedding photography.

Invest in a quality long lens. Somewhere in the 70-300mm area and make sure it has IS (image stabilization). These lenses take great photos, are wonderful at getting close-ups of the ring exchange and first kiss as well as capturing those intimate fleeting moments between the bride and groom all the while letting you remain behind the wedding guests but still able to capture wonderful images. Long lenses allow you to be where you need to be without you being in the way. Ever heard the expression “you make a better door than you do a window”? Guests will appreciate it that you are not distracting them from an event. I attended an event one time where the photographer had an assistant who was holding 2 slave flashes and he had the master on his DSLR. He was running (literally running) up and down the aisles to capture that shot. When the bride and groom were leaving back down the aisle he had all flashes going off in front of them as he and the assistant walked backwards down the aisle not 8 feet from the bride and groom. It was distracting, I was distracted. I don’t remember much about that wedding but I remember a lot about that photographer and that is not the kind of memory we want to be remembered for.

Be aware of where you are during the ceremony. There are going to be times when you just have to be in the way, it’s just not feasible to be completely invisible all of the time but it is possible to minimize your interference.  For example, when I have to be at the front of the ceremony I make sure to minimize my position. For instance, I will crouch or kneel until it is necessary for me to position myself for a shot. I may dart off to the side of the stage too just to make sure that I am not in the way of any guest’s line of site as well as in the frame for their photograph. I know, I should be trying to sell them photos, not getting out of the way for theirs but to be honest, being polite goes a lot further than trying to make a few bucks and they will remember that.

The third technique I use is a second shooter. I absolutely recommend it whenever possible. Having someone of your similar talents there to cover parts of the ceremony that you cannot get to alleviates you having to run back and forth to try and capture fleeting moments. 2nd shooters can minimize the distraction you may cause but at the same time they may increase distraction. Make sure they are on the same page as you as far as your non-invasive photography techniques.

If you implore some of these ideas as well as your own I assure you, you will have a great wedding photography experience.

Until next time, happy shooting!

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