One of our biggest hot buttons is a photographer who does not understand the big picture (pun intended) of capturing the needs and and wants of their clients. When we first started Encounters eleven years ago, many photographers subscribed to a very dated and inept approach to shooting weddings and events. Retaining negatives for future sale, little or no candid shots and consuming much of the clients “party time” with predetermined portraiture was common practice.
We are very selective when recommending photographers to our clients. Wedding couples of course have strong opinions as to how and what should be captured. Most want some portraiture and lots of candid shots. It is super important that couples have a very strong comfort level with their photographer. Couples should be able to relax and enjoy themselves for hours unaware their photographer is close by.
Last weekend I visited the beautiful United States Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis to familiarize myself with how their wedding ceremonies flow. I wanted to be prepared for one of our upcoming client ceremonies. I have coordinated many wedding receptions where the ceremony took place at the Naval Academy, but I needed to be refreshed. So on Saturday afternoon I met with Claire the Chapel Coordinator and we went through all the do’s and don’ts of the Chapel.
Because the chapel has so many requests from Naval Academy graduates, weddings are done with military precision and always start on time. No flower arrangements are allowed to be brought in, only bouquets and boutonnieres. After going through all the paper work and touring the Chapel, Claire invited me to watch the scheduled 2:00 wedding. At exactly 1:45, the organ music began and the grandparents were seated. At 1:50, the mothers were seated and the groom came out with is attendants. At 1:57, the bridesmaids entered and walked down the very long aisle to be seated on the altar. At precisely 2:00, the bride was escorted down the aisle by her father and exactly 2:30 the recessional began. Perfect!
After the ceremony, the bride and groom were ushered into a small room about 20 feet from the end of the aisle. The bridal party recessed out of the Chapel and one of the (two) photographers was taking photos of them walking up. In the meantime the bride and groom were standing in the open doorway of the vestibule having a few minutes alone; smelling her bouquet and taking in the experience. This was such an emotional time for them. I could not believe these photographers never thought to document this significant moment! One photographer standing behind me was looking right at them, but not once did she raise her camera to capture these priceless images. THIS WAS THE MONEY SHOT!
All of our recommended photographers would have broken away from their “recessional shots” and captured the couple reflecting on their new status as husband and wife… timing is everything.