I wanted to recap on something I run into every fifth or sixth wedding. An entourage of family and friends that want to help during the couples photos. This sometimes is following the ceremony or a more private moment sometime during the reception. I'm not going to specifically reference exact details but wanted to tell you how most circumstances unfold. This is for informational purposes / venting purposes... i'm only human. :) The photos in this blog do not reflect any specific weddings where this occurred, they're just pretty photos.
I really like to write exactly like I talk and this is a story i've told brides and grooms before. I wanted to take the time and write this out for other brides, grooms and fellow photographers who may or may not yet have encountered this moment.
Please hold your phone side ways to read it to correctly view the conversation's proper exchange. Otherwise this post will just sound a little too weird.
Here's a few moments with just the bride and groom to help give example to special moments that unfold during these private photos.
Me to bride & groom: Okay, the clouds just parted way to beautiful sun rays and a deep blue sky with a rainbow... let's go run and get a few photos. Okay.. ready. Let's go. Sweet!
Me: Totally cool. You just have to stand back a bit because I need their complete focus.
BRIDAL COUPLES PHOTOS START
Friend or family member: (talking on phone) Yeah, we're behind the building, come on over.
Friend or family member: (one minute passes) You should both hold hands and do this thing where you make a heart and...
Friend or family member: That looked really pretty, you should have them go over there next and stand on that rock. Oh hey Jim (another family or friend walks over).
Me: Could I have you folks just give us a little bit of room so I can have their complete focus while I do the photos. Just for a few minutes.
Friend or family member: Hi Denise (now a third family member has joined because they saw the five of us standing over here and wanted to see what we were doing).
Friend or family member: I'll come help. I'll come and watch. I want to take a photo with my phone so I'll come along with you.
Friend or family member: Of course, no problem. I'll just stand back and won't say a word.
Friend or family member: Hey you should take photos over by the wall there. Tim and Diane got their photos there.
Me talking to bride & groom: Okay, look back over here. Okay, I need you to move slightly over to the left and focus on each other and..
Me talking to bride & groom: That's perfect, I just need you to slightly turn a little bit more this way and... perfect.
Me talking to bride & groom: Okay, look back over here again. (looks over at family or friend and reaffirms the need to stand back and not converse). Okay move slightly over to the left and focus on each other and move in slightly towards a kiss but don't kiss yet.
Me talking to bride & groom: Let's take a walk down this path over here and what i'm going to have you do is do a slow walk, hold hands, talk and have a moment to yourselves while I take photos.
Friend or family member: What are you guys doing, are you taking photos right now. It's very pretty over here.
Friend or family member: (All the friends and family): Totally, no problem. We just want to hang out and watch.
Me: Could I have you all step over this way while I do their photos, I only have about three more minutes before we have to head back.
Friend or family member: (Two minutes pass) Hey (directed towards bride and groom), are you both going over to the hotel after or heading back home, Rob is texting me and wanted to know. Hey can we get a photo with you over there in a few minutes.
You get the point.
What really happens is the bride and groom don't actually get a private moment to themselves for these special photos that they're going to have for the rest of their lives. Think about your parents or grandparents wedding photos and now imagine that they could have had a dozen other special ones equal or greater than those ones.
Everything always starts off with good intentions. I'll hold your drink, let me hold up your dress, I want to come and watch, I have a quick question, can we get a quick photo, can I take a photo with my friend, this person wanted to know this question, what are you guys doing.
I've had a bridesmaid rush in after each test shot to fix a brides dress. When i'm setting up a magical photo that will be hung on their wall from now until the end of time i'm going to put a little extra care into everything. I'll be adjusting power levels, exposure and position of lights for maybe a dozen photos before I even think about a final pose. Before i'm even ready to start posing a bride i've had the bridesmaid try and jump start the photos by posing them and positioning them and after each test fire (too bright, not bright enough, not in the right position, add a second or third light) run in and turn a two minute photo session into a ten minute "are we done yet" sorta mood. This is just another example of moments that I run into. :)
I'm never going to be rude to a bride & grooms wedding guests, family, friends. I'm never going to be rude to the wedding coordinator / planner who wants to stand next to me and count down every single minute of our remaining time (This happens usually during formal photos). You in fact will never know if you got in the way. If you make a weird suggestion or try and hijack a moment i'm most likely going to humor you and go along with it and a smile. It's always going to be easier to say good idea and take a photo or two and then move on to my shots.
Every single wedding I've made it part of my routine to borrow the bride and groom for additional photos post reception moments like bouquet toss or cake cutting. Most of these moments go off without a hitch but occasionally I get someone who wants to tag along. During your wedding day you're going to be surrounded by people the entire day, ball & chain to a schedule of events and have the same thingss repeated at you for hours (wheres the honey moon, do you feel different, you must be tired, congratulations). This is typically a moment to breathe, have a bit of quiet and also a special moment with your husband or wife.
I know this post most likely won't change how the next twenty years of weddings go or in fact anyone will actually read this. But it's therapeutic at best and helps keep me sane in moments that I cannot control. These are moments that brides & grooms don't know about until their wedding day and it's actually happening. They're very much on my side when i've had to occasionally shush off people. So if you ever see a bride, groom and photographer head off to get photos I can almost guarantee that they will be just fine if you wait to talk to them when they return.
In the end i'm there to take beautiful photos and be nice to people even if they are stepping on my feet. I hope this wasn't too offensive and if it was, you might be that person tagging along during photos. ;)