Wedding Photography: Getting Close During The Ceremony

Photographing a wedding normally starts with images of the bride and groom getting ready and then doesn’t stop until the reception is over. Within that time, there are countless moments that need to be captured. But within that list of moments, there are some that are more important than the other. The ceremony is one of those moments, if not the most important of moments. It’s what your entire wedding day is centered around. So it only makes sense to talk about how we shoot the ceremony and why we do it this way. 

When it comes to photographing the ceremony, there are two trains of thought. The photographer can stick to the back and stay out of everyone’s way, or they can get nice and close.

The problem with sticking to the back of the chapel is that it doesn’t give you very many opportunities to capture the important moments. While you are standing at the alter, most of the time you are facing the pastor. What this means is that most of the time you have your back to the crowd and the photographer. So while you are smiling, laughing, and shedding tears of joy, all we are getting are pictures of the back of your head.

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Getting Close

This is why we like to get close to you during the ceremony. We want to capture your true emotions and what you really felt like during your ceremony. To do this, we need to see your faces. The first thing that comes to peoples minds when we say this is, won’t you moving around be a distraction? While us being there could be seen as a distraction, it’s no more a distraction as having your wedding party up there. We also don’t spend the entire time up by the alter. We only need to be up there for key moments. 

For example, when the father gives away the bride. One of us will already be up there to capture images of you walking down the aisle. So it only makes sense for us to stick around a bit longer and capture this important moment. 

Photographing close during the ceremony to capture the real emotions of the day
Tucked away by the pastor, no one notices I’m even here.

Another example is when you are performing some type of ritual. This could be exchanging notes, lighting a unity candle, etc. In these moments, you, the pastor, and the wedding party are already moving around getting into new positions. So one of us walking up to photograph the moment will hardly be noticed. In the example below, the groom didn’t even realize we were there. He only found out after the wedding when seeing the images. 

Photographing close during the ceremony to capture the real emotions of the day


What About the Rules

A lot of chapels and even pastors have rules against photographers getting close during the ceremony. Some chapels make photographers stay in the back of the building and there are even chapels that don’t allow photography at all. These rules are normally in place because some other photographer was over the top distracting or disrespectful. Having a simple conversation with the pastor can sometimes put them at ease and give us some wiggle room with the rules. The below example is an image from a chapel that only allowed photography along the back wall or from the balcony. But after a simple conversation and explanation as to what we wanted and how we would get it, we were able to take images from in front of the alter. 

Photographing close during the ceremony. Not all rules are strict

Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Some chapel rules are strict and they are not always willing to budge. While we can get that needed wiggle room a lot of the time, it’s not something we can guarantee. So make sure you know and are comfortable with the rules before you settle on a certain chapel or pastor. 

We are shooting for you and your future family

One of the main reasons we like to get close is because we want to remind you what it felt like in that moment. We also want to show your future family what it felt like. If you could invite your future kid to your wedding, where would you want them to witness? From the back of the chapel through a telescope? Or from right up beside you? Whatever your answer, that’s where we should be in order to capture that perspective. That said, if you rather we stick to the back of the chapel and get what we can from that vantage point, that’s always up to you. We want to capture the images you want and will cherish forever. Just as long as you are aware of what your decisions entail. 

Below are a handful of ceremony images. You’ll see a few different angles from the same wedding to give you an idea of the variety you can expect. Just because we get close doesn’t mean you don’t get the wide all-encompassing images as well!

If you need help with wedding planning, Make sure to check out our free Wedding Planning Guide. If you are also still looking for that perfect wedding venue. Make sure to take a look at the Top 20 Wedding Venues in Northwest Arkansas. 

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