Perhaps you’ve seen the viral video of the wedding officiant stopping the wedding to firmly tell the photographer/videographer to move? If not, here you go:
I’m a huge advocate of the saying “knowledge is power” and I am not here to complain about the Officiant in question, as this video is clearly one-sided. I am here, however, to prevent this happening to me and my future couples.
So here we go:
I realize it’s my job to be a professional photographer and deal with allllll kinds of situations from family dynamics to awkward lighting. As an Officiant, your job is to join a couple in marriage. Often this means it is a scared event, one that should not be disturbed, especially while in the house of God. I understand that when I’m under your God’s roof, it’s your / God’s rules.
I’m not here to say “blah, blah, they hired me to do a job, etc.” Nope. I won’t go there. Chances are you already know that – you’re a smart dude.
What I am asking is that you respect venues outside of “God’s House”. That’s right, a public venue is just that: public.
I recently photographed a wedding at the lovely Walper Terrace in Kitchener. I was told by the couple that they would really like the whole ceremony captured and they would really like the curtains closed for the ceremony (it was a very hot day and the air conditioning was down at the Walper), so I went down ahead of the ceremony to set up a flash to help capture the ceremony and respect their wishes.
As you can see, with the curtains closed there is NO LIGHT and without my flash, this room is quite literally a dark box.
While I was midway through my set up, the Officiant told me firmly and with no smile that under no circumstances is flash allowed.
I attempted to explain the situation and the couples’ wishes, but was quickly scolded by the Officiant that “it is industry standard to not have flash during ceremony” and should I disagree with him I would be “asked to leave”.
I know I look young, but I’m not stupid and neither are you, Officiant. Clearly the air conditioning is busted and having the curtains closed during the ceremony is the wish of the couple (and the venue) and this means “industry standard” needs to wiggle a bit. Here’s the deal Mr./Ms. Officiant: Not Every Wedding Is The Same! Have you observed a Greek Orthodox wedding? They expect me, the professional photographer, to actually get up on the platform where you are standing and take photos with flash! They EXPECT this. Have you observed an island destination wedding? Those ceremonies are max 10 minutes long and people wander up from the beach to watch and are more intrusive than I am. Have you observed a garden/gazebo wedding? It’s another ball game altogether. There is no “Industry Standard” for flash during a ceremony.
My Task: Don’t use flash or it will upset the Officiant and he’ll ask me to leave and don’t overheat the groomsmen. oh! and capture the ceremony beautifully. Lucky me.
The Compromise: I had to ask the venue and the couple of compromise, because heaven forbid the Officiant should bend the rules at a public venue, like this overheated room in an old hotel.
The Solution: We slightly opened two curtains, hoping not to back light and overheat the couple and it was my job to “make it work” – and I did, because that’s my job as a professional.
It’s not as sharp as I would like it to be…. but I can work with it:
So what can we learn from this:
~ Couples, please discuss your photography wishes with the Officiant/Priest prior to the wedding. If they have firm photography rules, please let me know.
~ Officiants/Priests, please respect public venues that aren’t your own beautifully lit churches.
~ In exchange, I promise not to interrupt the ceremony, shoot from a discrete distance and capture beautiful memories for this couples’ legacy to enjoy.
If you are an Officiant or Priest reading this and I’m waaaaay off base and have no idea what I’m talking about or you feel disrespected, please! by all means! leave a comment and ‘shed some light’ on this topic.
If you are a bride & groom looking for a wonderfully cooperative Officiant, I would highly recommend any of these guys:
~ Jim Emerson – http://www.enduringpromises.com/
~ Paul Filsinger – http://www.weddingsbypaul.com/
~ Al Harder – http://kcwalharder.com/
~ Martti Pajunen – http://www.kcwmarttipajunen.com/
Soap Box Done.