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How To Avoid Turning Weddings Into a Media Center

January 24, 2018

I’m not saying that all of us dream about the day we get married, but that’s a fair majority. So now imagine that in the moment when you are making the promise of undying love to your better-half, there are 5 photographers jostling in the backlines like their life depended on it and the sound of families cheering  has been replaced by an endless string of ‘Move’ and ‘Side, side!’
So much for living a fairytale!

Whether you’re a wedding photographer or somebody looking to book one for their wedding, below are a few useful points from some of our favourite photographers in the world to keep in mind and avoid having a SWAT team attack around the mandap

Q. As a photographer, what amount of pre-planning goes behind a wedding shoot to make the process smoother during the main days?
Answered by Adam Johnson

The pre-planning for my photography starts from the first time I speak to a couple before they’ve even chosen me to capture their day, where they begin explaining to me how they want photography (and usually video too) to fit seamlessly into their day without taking over. My couples often care most about enjoying the moments without missing things because they’re having to pose or stage. They also often want someone who is going to feel like a friend at their wedding instead of having a team of staff. So we spend a long time talking about what they want.

Then usually a month or two before the wedding we talk in detail about the timeline of their events, and where they want to make time for couple shots and that sort of thing. We talk again about how I’m going to work so that they understand not only that, but also that I can ensure I’m working in a way that works for them. I want to make amazing photos – that’s my main goal – but I also want them to have the best time because I know it’s those truly unscripted ‘moment’ photos which they’ll really grow to treasure as the years pass.

The wedding events themselves can often feel stressful for couples, as their months of planning and imagination come to life in front of their eyes and they want everything to be perfect. I find that by the time the wedding comes the couple feels like I’m really ‘on their team’ and they’re confident in me because we’ve talked in so much detail and planned together. But I also work in a way that if the timeline changes or things happen at the wedding which mean we need to change the plans I can do that without causing the couple any extra stress – I find it so important to be flexible like this!

So really what I’m saying is that the pre-planning isn’t just to allow me to ‘make my art’ or enforce my style but is based more around the couple having the time of their life at their wedding and fitting photography in and around that – that way everyone is a winner!!

Q: How big a team of photographers does one need to have to make sure all the aspects of a wedding are covered?
Answered by Rahul Khona

The majority of weddings I shoot locally and abroad are mainly on my own. I love the freedom of shooting weddings by myself. I don’t feel that a second photographer is required unless the number of guests is over 200, or if the bride and groom are getting ready in totally separate locations, or some other logistics that require a second photographer.


Most of my clients have the utmost faith in me and what I deliver as a solo wedding photographer. However, the most number of photographers I’ve ever shot a wedding with is two, myself and second photographer. The advantages of having a second photographer, is both shoot the ‘getting ready’ photos; during the speeches, one can cover the top table, speaker and nearby guests, whilst the second photographer, can move around the room capturing guest reactions, and also covering different angles from the main photographer, incase they miss anything.

I don’t think any wedding needs more than two photographers. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding. It’s not a photoshoot. I like to be discreet capturing real, natural moments that occur, and having a ‘team’ or several photographers, can be a distraction to yourself, your guests and even to me. Also, if you have a cinematography team, then it would also make it harder to not be in each other’s photos or video, or even get in each other’s way, which can make it frustrating for me or the video team, as we’re both trying to do an amazing job for the client.


Ultimately the decision, comes down to you. On whether your budget can include a second photographer or not, and also how much trust and faith you have in your photographer to do an amazing job capturing your wedding on their own or with a second photographer.

Q: What can go wrong if the creative wavelengths of the photo-video team do not match?
Answered by Ali Ghorbani

At the end of the day, it comes down to respect, communication and the understanding that the client is the only reason you’re present at a wedding. Respect comes from experience and most young photo-video teams these days don’t have enough experience or exposure to understand the teamwork required.  They haven’t yet learned about professional courtesy.
Communication is key.  You have to discuss positioning, lighting and any challenges which you can foresee coming up with others in order to make sure everyone has the best chance of getting the shots they need.

All of these things are to reach the ultimate goal:  To deliver the best images to the client.  Unfortunately, many so-called professionals seem to put themselves and their agendas before the client’s interests, thus sometimes creating a stressful environment for everyone else who is working at the same wedding.

Q: What points should be kept in mind while selecting gear for a wedding shoot?
Answered by Ashima Narain

Regardless of what you are shooting, I think it is imperative to go in with some idea of what you want to achieve in terms of images, and then how you need to do it. This wish-list of shots helps to determine the equipment you will have to carry. Often, especially in a situation that you are not directing, you will not be able to tick all the boxes on this wish-list.
However, by having an idea of what you want to shoot, it keeps you prepared for moments that suddenly unfold, and these unexpected stories are often better than you imagine. Personally, I know that weddings are crowded affairs, and it is imperative to be able to quickly and quietly negotiate crowds. This is possible when you can move with your equipment fast. Usually, I carry 2 cameras – 1 with a tele lens and one with a wide. I work with 1 more photographer, so that we can use an off-camera speed-lite with (no more than) a 9” soft box.
This ensures that we can highlight the people and the situation that is interesting, instead of having even light throughout the frame. As I also work as a journalist, I try to do as much as I can by myself, and I try not to draw too much attention to myself – with my voice or equipment.
If you have any questions you want answered, write to us on and we will include them in our next post. Keep visiting The Wedding Filmer blog for more.

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