During The Ceremony

During The Ceremony

During the actual ceremony your actions will be somewhat constrained. You should already have spoken to the priest in charge about what sort of photography is permitted, but it's very likely that you will not be allowed to use flash in the church, and a tripod is probably also out of the question. However if you've got a good camera then this shouldn't be too much of a problem. A modern professional-quality DSLR should be able to take good noise-free shots at 1600 ISO, so use this as your main setting for all indoor shots. With an f/4 lens in a typical church you should be able to get shutter speeds of at least 1/30th of a second at 1600 ISO, which with a good image stabilisation system should be plenty fast enough for hand-held shooting. One thing to remember though is that very wide apertures produce very narrow depth of field, so bear this in mind when composing your shots. If you have found a good vantage point you can even use this to your advantage, focusing on the couple at the altar while blurring out the congregation in the background.

Because of these limitations there aren't too many variations on the traditional shots. You should already have discussed with the bride and groom exactly what shots they want, but generally just take as many good shots as you can without disturbing the ceremony. This is where a camera with a nice quiet shutter action is absolutely vital. Here are some of the shots you should try to capture if at all possible:

  • Telephoto close-up of groom's face when he sees bride in her dress for the first time

  • The wedding party (bride, groom, best man, bride's dad) standing at the altar

  • Back shot of bride and groom at the altar with priest between them

  • Telephoto close-up of the couple's hands as the rings are exchanged

  • Telephoto close-up of bride's face, as seen over the groom's shoulder

  • Telephoto close-up of groom's face seen over the bride's shoulder

  • Shot of both sets of parents' faces

  • "You may kiss the bride"

  • The couple and the parents signing the register

  • The couple walking down the aisle together

  • Guests getting ready to shower the couple with confetti

  • The bride and groom walking out of the church hand-in-hand

As the ceremony ends and the final music is playing you should be getting into position for your next shots. You need to be at the end of the aisle to get shots of the couple walking down it hand-in-hand, and then outside to get a shot of them stepping out of the church door. Don't forget to reduce your ISO setting as soon as you get outside.

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