Last summer I was fortunate enough to have been invited to shoot the wedding of Mallory and Shayne. The day was as perfect as their adoration for one another. Friends and family gathered in their backyard and the two married under an apple tree (and a stunning sparkling chandelier!). Our time together began at the Ocean Front Suites where the bridal party had two rooms on the same floor - yes to making the photographers job easy for prep photos. Thanks guys!
The first look was adorable as Mal had her girls walk with her to the marina where Shayne was waiting. How beautiful is this location- and in their neighbourhood which makes it all the more special.
"It took everything in me not to yell out mid-ceremony"
When I first met the Mr. and Mrs. to be it was at the home they share. I was so excited to learn that this would be where their day would be. From the truly stunning courtyard to the upper deck looking over the backyard I was in location heaven with all the available angles and backdrops. During our conversation Mal filled me in on some family details and all the need-to-knows about the day- including that a friend of the family would be there and as an ex pro-photographer he would probably be taking some photos but that he had promised not to get in the way and would mostly be shooting during the reception after I was gone. NBD right?
I have to say that the day went a little differently than that- and admittedly - in the heat of the moment during the exchanging of rings, vows and first kiss ~ it took everything in me not to yell out mid-ceremony (let's be honest I'd probably have politely tapped the officiant and asked quietly). In retrospect as nearly a year has passed I look back and realize that it was a really good learning moment for me. Invaluable. How did I really deal with it and what have I learned?
Here is where things started to change. We have our family friend who has now made his way directly behind the couple as they exchange rings. I can be forgiving if you are just getting a frame or two and moving aside, but the chimping and observing was very frustrating for me during these important moments. Instead of yelling I had some decisions to make in the moment in order to preserve not only my integrity but the final images. So what do you do?
1. Take care of it before it happens. From that day forward my contract has the inclusion of ensuring that no semi-pro photographers or other vendors are creating distractions or shooting during the ceremony or other posed photo sessions. This is an easy clause to add and absolves you of fault if photos like the ones above appear in the final gallery. With my own wedding coming up this summer I have added an intro to our photographer on our wedding website so our guests will know who she is-but also to ask our friends and family to avoid shooting during moments like these.
2. Get creative. Take a look at the next image and see how I got creative with my cropping both in camera and during post. I wanted to isolate the couple for the first kiss- and while the balance looks a bit off here- it was better than the alternative.
3. Let it be. Taking the mindset of acceptance is sometimes the easiest way. As a wedding photographer you are there to record their day as it unfolds. The reality of these moments might not be what you as the photographer had hoped for - but in the end it is their story. A beautiful day to be remembered for all the moments.
These 2 really are "Better Together" and I know for a fact because I creep Mal's Insta account from time to time and become inspired by all of their weekend warrior adventures. At the end of the day I learned a lot from this particular wedding and moving forward I will be sure to be in more control of the things I can and to let the rest of it just be.