Every wedding has a professional photographer who has been doing this for years. What they are going to produce is pretty much a known entity before the wedding even gets started. You know he is going to hold the wedding party over after the ceremony and do a bunch of staged shots.
You know he will "stage" the feeding of the cake between bride and groom, the throwing of the bouquet, the dance of father and bride, all that standard stuff. Naturally, you want to do a good job. But whether you are just getting started or have been shooting video for years, you know things can sneak up on you and make your job more difficult. So there are some "insider tricks" that you should keep in mind especially on the big day so the wedding goes off like clockwork and you get that great video without disturbing the joy and fun of the family. The first few precautions actually happen long before you drive up to the church and that is a thorough equipment check.
Check and double check your equipment and then check it again. It can't hurt to be a bit compulsive about this. Also, check that all of your supplies are new, in good shape and that you have back ups of batteries, bulbs, tapes or whatever recording media you are using. If you know your equipment is in good shape, you can walk in there like the professional you are. Next, be everywhere early and well prepared. In fact, it can't hurt to scope out the church and reception hall the day before to check the lighting and do some planning on where you might plan to get your best video from.
If Martin Scorsese can preplan all of his shoots, so can you. Use what he does. That professional is going to stage the people to get those shots that are on his list of standard shots all wedding albums get. But during that time when the wedding party is trying to be good but giddy with nervous excitement, there will be dozens of little moments that will make great photographs. Maybe get that shot of sister fixing the flower girls dress.
Or that silly tickle session between bride and groom as they play with each other to get through the tension of the day. Use what that photographer is giving to himself. As long as you don't get in the way, you can grab some great pictures that way. Part of networking with the key players includes getting some face time with others who may be supporting the wedding. Many weddings have a wedding planner who must know everything that is going to happen.
Be sure he or she knows who you are and what you are going to do before you start disturbing their domain. It is also a great idea to meet the other photographers and do a bit of preliminary choreography so everybody can get their shots. Be aware that you really don't want to do such a great job of videotaping the wedding that you damage the experience of the wedding guests. This all takes lots of planning. The kids are "down there". Don't overlook the children during the wedding or the reception.
They add a lot of fun and joy. But remember, they are down there closer to the ground than you are. To get their shots, you have to go down there with them. Remember, this event is not about you. You are the proverbial fly on the wall to get those shots that the pro doesn't have on his checklist. But at the same time, don't forget that you are important to this wedding to.
So put down that camera every so often and have that glass of wine and do the funky chicken during the reception with everyone else. Let someone else get that picture.
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