Wedding Photography Etiquette

Wedding Photography Etiquette
The couple must communicate their vision to the photographers and be clear about who and what they want to be photographed. Wedding guests should always be respectful and mindful of professional photographers, avoiding getting in their way.

For The Photographers

1. Communication Is Key

Communication is one of the most important pieces of wedding photography etiquette when shooting a wedding. You must be clear on exactly what kind of photos the couple wants on their big day.

Clear and open communication is imperative to ensure the wedding photos come out like the couple wants. You should discuss style, vision, expectations, and the details of the wedding, such as the wedding venue, the lighting, and a wedding timeline (including preparation, the ceremony, and the reception).

Another important thing to communicate is whether or not the bride and groom want specific photos with specific friends or family members. Oftentimes couples like to take group shots or capture specific moments throughout the day.

2. Keep A Low Profile

Wedding photographers and videographers should always be as discreet as possible when shooting a wedding. You never want to distract from the ceremony or take the attention away from the happy couple.

Although you are working, you should try to fit in like the other wedding guests. This means following the traditional wedding dress code as well.

Behaving according to wedding etiquette and acting professionally is important to ensure you don’t distract from the couple’s special day, whether the wedding is in a church or another venue.

3. Be Assertive, Yet Flexible

You are professional and generally know what’s best when it comes to capturing professional photos, so you are in charge. It is important, especially if you have a second shooter, to take control of the situation and ensure everyone knows what they need to do.

However, you should always be adaptable and flexible regarding changes. After all, newlyweds may change their minds regarding ideas, places, and people they want to be photographed.

For The Guests

4. Be Considerate

photographer clicking picture of wedding guest
Photographer clicking picture of wedding guest

We know you want to get that perfect shot for social media. However, the couple hired a professional (and probably expensive) wedding photographer, so you should always be considerate of that. Be sure to stay out of their way and respect their equipment.

Never get in front of the photographer to snap your picture, whether during the ceremony, the first kiss, the first dance, or the wedding procession. Be aware of your surroundings and allow them to do their job. You can snap pictures of your friend’s wedding, of course, but just be considerate and respectful of others.

5. Timing Is Everything

Always avoid disrupting the wedding photo shoot by taking your own pictures at the same time. Allow professional wedding photographers to get their job done, and only once they are finished should you jump in and take photos.

You are welcome to stand by and watch the photos being taken but always wait until the very end to request your own photos. Also, be sure to do so quickly. Don’t take up much more of the newlyweds’ time requesting tons of pictures. They are ready to celebrate!

6. Be Present

man recording the wedding
A man recording the wedding

Enjoy the wedding itself rather than watching the ceremony and reception through your phone’s screen. Don’t worry about getting so many photos, but enjoy the celebration. Get out on the dance floor!

After all, the bride and groom pay someone to take the wedding pictures. Your only job is to enjoy the wedding! Allow professional photographers to do their job and trust that they will capture all of the important moments.

For The Host & Couple

7. Communication And Coordination

photographer clicking picture of wedding couple
Photographer clicking picture of wedding couple

Regarding photos of your wedding day, you want everything to be perfect. This means you must communicate with the wedding photographers beforehand and ensure they understand exactly what you want.

Be sure to coordinate with them about the time and place of the wedding and give them a timeline of the wedding events. Also, be sure to communicate any specific requests about the types of pictures or styles you want before the big day so that they have time to plan.

If you are having a destination wedding, be sure that all travel arrangements have been taken care of and clearly communicated with your photographer well ahead of time. Also, if you have a wedding planner, be sure they are in contact with the photographer to include them in the wedding planning itself.

8. Provide Necessary Information

Ensure your photographer knows exactly who and what they should be photographing. Providing a list of key people and moments you want your photographer to capture will ensure they know exactly what you want.

Make sure they know who the bridesmaids are, tell them if you want photos of the officiant, and let them know if you want specific photos of the wedding party. This is your wedding album, so you can choose what types of photos you want.

Another thing to consider is ensuring the venue is well-lit. If it is not, make sure the photographers know this ahead of time so that they can bring the necessary equipment to get the perfect photos. If certain permits are needed, you are in charge of getting those as well, so make sure it is done ahead of time.

9. Respect The Photographer’s Profession

Yes, we know this is your big day and you want the perfect wedding photos, but you should allow the photographers to do their job without intervening too much. It may be innate for you to want to micromanage to ensure you get the perfect pictures, but you should trust that the photographers you hired are professional and will give you the high-quality photos you want.

Once you’ve given them the direction and idea of what you want, allow them to work. Let them use their creativity and skills to give you the best wedding album they can.

10. Enjoy Your Big Day!

Remember, this is your big day! Everyone is there to celebrate you and your partner’s union. So remember that and enjoy it!

Don’t spend too much time worrying over every little detail. Just trust that the people you hired, whether the photographers, caterers, wedding planners, etc., will do their job and give you the perfect wedding.

11. Should You Tip Your Photographer?

Proper wedding etiquette says that if you are happy with the photographers’ work, you should tip them 15 – 20%. This is not a hard and fast rule, but any gratuity is greatly appreciated.

12. How Can You Thank Your Photographer?

There are several ways to show your gratitude for your wedding photographer capturing your special day. Some of these include:

  • Writing a review of their work for others to see.
  • Give them a small gift to show your appreciation
  • Writing a thank-you letter
  • Leaving them a generous gratuity

Margaret Dunn

Margaret is a passionate writer based in Costa Rica, though she was raised in the southeastern US. Being from the South, good manners and proper etiquette were ingrained in her from a young age and she has always been fascinated with etiquette in different settings and places. When she is not writing, you can find her exercising, reading, or spending time with her family at the beach.

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