How Not to Do Wedding Photography

You’ve probably heard people say that you shouldn’t try to get a cheap photographer for wedding photography. Here’s a good example of why.

Can you point out all the things this wedding photographer is doing wrong? Leave a comment and we’ll get a running list going here.

  • Shooting only the backs of people’s heads
  • Not shooting from different perspectives
  • Getting in peoples way
  • Holding the camera incorrectly
  • His flash is obnoxious and distracting
  • He’s the star of the video being shot
  • Wearing a t-shirt and dressed disrespectfully
  • The 70-200mm lens is dangling dangerously near his ankles

(via The Phoblographer)

  • Donovan Rekanize Fannon

    Or maybe that’s just wedding guests snapping, too…. /smh

  • bernie

    clearly he’s the second shooter, so he’s covering the shots from the back. stand farther away and zoom in? so you’re okay with a 2.8 max aperture then? churches are dark, and they are moving. Don’t tell me he didn’t need fstop speed cause the flash, cause that flash won’t light up the whole church, and unless you want that blackout background look that old disposeable film cams are famous for you need speed. I am surprised he’s allowed to use a flash in a church, but I was also once. disrespect for the 70-200? man, once i dipped my 16-35 in holy water by accident while backing up and trying to get a few inches of height. it’s fine. sure he looks like a fool with it down around his ankles though. oh, and as for being the star of the video, everyone , everyone knows that photo trumps video. the wedding photo guy has to get what he has to get, and that’s pretty much that. not to be rude, but him getting the shots is mission critical.

  • Rommel

    i think everyone made their valid points and opinions here. maybe no one explained to him the accepted manners when shooting weddings – each country have their own. when i shoot in Asia – most churches allows flash photogrpahy – except during the Gospel Reading and the Homily. in some cases, some cultures like the flashes going ballistic – it’s acceptable – makes them feel like rock stars – when I share my video showreels (yes my team and I do both video and photos) to my clients – that’s one of their comments – wow – so cool (typically by the groom). I normally ask my clients if they dont mind flash – I have to agree with Bernie’s comment above – flash are required when you have dark churches. these days churches are now surrounded by tall buildings – so even with those cathedral ceilings – it is still very dark. sometimes the weather is not that good outside to bring the ambient light in. -churches dont normally turn their floodlamps on – the place becomes really hot and humid – not all churches have aircon – also these will be an extra charge to the bride and groom.

    i think the responsibility here doesnt really just lie with the photograher in scrutiny – the videographer should have made at least some hand signals that he is in the way – he should have communicated it with him earlier on. if this guy is the second tog – why didnt the main tog briefed him on the acceptable etiquettes. i had an experience like this in the past – the bride and groom insisted on having a relative (amateur tog) shoot at the same time with my team – so it was my responsibility to brief him about the etiquette and set the expectation early in the piece.

    ok – his behaviour might not be everyone’s cup of tea (handlign of camera, the lens between the groin trick, etc) – but I’m more curious on the result of his shots. maybe the Borat technique works !!!!

  • Dude

    He’s probably cousin timmy helping out

  • Peter

    Agreed – second shooter. There are other flashes going off that seem to be coming from the front. I’m thinking the ratio of first to second shooter keeps is going to be about 99-1 tho ;).

  • Ben_ang02

    Do he have any official website /portfolio ?

  • Joe

    Blame the couple – did they look at his portfolio? It is not the phot-ogs fault – he prob. has a book of “head shots”

  • Matt Fisher

    Read the photographer’s name backwards.

  • bycostello

    but he got the job! and hopefully he learnt from teh experience…

  • Thepixtakers

    agree, prolly second shooting…

    when i am doing a wedding solo, i have the dilema, do i stay infront, or stay back…? we aint allowed to take shots inside the church once the ceremony has commenced, so, in all fairness, from my experience, i get more out of staying in the back… I get the bride arriving, the last kiss before being sent inside, and i can get a few shots of her arriving at the alter… also, i will be the first person to take shots of them walking back from the alter…

    BUT, i do NOT get in the way, nor do i overly use the flash….

  • Pam

    I had the opposite experience last weekend. Bride told me she hired a videographer & refused their still camera offer. When I showed up for ‘getting ready’ I had climb over and around not one, not two but 3 vidiots with cameras and still. They totally took over. I had no room to work with cameras in my shots or blinding vid lights and still photog (who wasn’t even supposed to be there). They were the most rude I have ever worked around. As I suspected they were newbies I asked the main guy (owner of vid company) where I can find gaffers tape locally. His response? Home Depot.

    The night was a disaster. I ended up taking shots with my 15mm to show bride why I DIDN’T get the shots. Yes I constantly asked them to move. They NEVER, not once took those cams off the giant tripods. A catholic wedding. Priest as every one I have worked with said the altar was off limits. He planted his main camera and giant tripod at the base of the altar in front blocking access for the bridal party. Then moved the unit to the altar for the rest of the ceremony.

    Only a couple examples while there are so more. At one point I had to tell a very stressed bride that I couldn’t get the shots because of the mass of vidiots, tripods and still photog nipping at my heels with her flash. Of course she was horrified and told planner to do whatever I needed. I said “get the cameras out of my way, 1 vidiot in a 6’x10′ space is enough”. Of course they didn’t move. I am sure I am in many of their shots especially many times they just parked the cameras and tripods in one spot turned on to record, un-attended. The very worst experience I have ever had to endure. I totally adore the bride Nd was quite sensitive to some extreme family drama and therefore could not pester her all night. She was horrified but for some reason couldn’t act. Unlike others I will NOT start a war. However you can bet this will not happen again.

    Who doesn’t know what gaffers tape is and you show me where Home Depot keeps it and I’ll kiss your ring finger. Obvious he was either putting a poor portfolio together, training more vidiots on how to invade and ruin a wedding or is just the worst videographer to pick up a camera. Thankfully I got some great shots but certainly very minimal.

    I should have brought a harness. Then I could have swayed from the ceiling like a fat black clothed angel.

    Oh and about black t-shirts. Many times in our very hot and humid climate I wear a short sleeve black t-shirt. I am there to blend in. I stay out out of the way and always dress clean, neat and non-discrip.


  • Steve S

    Come on, everyone buys the shots of the back of their heads LOL.

  • Santusya Galimgereyeva

    wwwooooaaahhh….so many comments.

    Peeps…he’s the 2nd photographer…can u see the flashes that come from another camera? Yup…he’s not the main camera guy there. Still a bad one tho.(;

  • Fab

    Woooooooooossshhhh….. that was the sound of “Bas ter Beek” sarcasm passing over your head…

  • jason

    i bet of the 57 comments here, only 3 probably have shot a wedding before. there are so many comments that just reword the previous comment, it kind of seems obvious people are just ganging up. most churches allow flash photography. its only catholic churches (and some synogogues) that have this retarded rule.

    the comments are way too demeaning and hoighty toighty to have actually come from professional photographers.

    yes, hes doing a lot of things wrong. doesnt mean everyone should repeat everyone else’s criticisms. i think one even said he was aiming for their backsides… i thought he was just metering, which he should be premetering anyways for the processional. guess thats my critique.

  • Shawn

    I agree with Pam here, I can’t begin to count the amount of times that Videographers have been more of a problem than a help. Actually had a REALLY small chapel a few months back, where the Videographer decided to setup his tripod right in the middle of the aisle. About half way up the aisle.. I couldn’t get a proper shot without having his gear in the shot… The point is that if they’re both being paid, they should have worked this out together initially.. then the photog and the videog wouldn’t be crossing each other’s paths. There are so many variables that can/do happen during wedding shoots that we’re never aware of… and this video reeks of someone just being ticked off trying to take it out on the photog. There are many things he seems to be doing wrong, but unless you know the full story of the day, you really shouldn’t pass judgement.

  • CameraPilot

    I think this is a little low for Petapixel to support and allow an opportunity for others to engage in such a harsh and demeaning commentary. Without knowing the full and complete story, it is irresponsible and juvenile to comment about what is shown in the short video. It really is sad how people treat others these days.

  • Bryanfolstad

    I think I got a seizure from all of those flashes!

  • Dave Diaz

    First he shouldn’t be in the video.
    Shooting from behind get no expressions of faces
    He doesnt need a second camera white that long if a lens
    And he must have taken about 4000 photos

  • Neilsvs

    Would LOVE to see what he can do in PS5 with them!!!

  • Nathan Caulford

    Did anyone say that he is shooting from behind the whole time? Oh, yep EVERYONE did! Maybe he’s a second shooter…wait, yup, covered that one too.

  • Nathan Caulford

    Welcome to the world of user-generated content. Get used to it, I guess. It’s got its pluses and side effects. I feel like I’ve learned a few things though, so this one was valuable for me in that sense. But, people can be ruthless with comments too, especially when they don’t have to say these things to their face.

  • Ggriffith6

    He has single-handedly given the wedding photographers a black mark. But he shows people what to expect when they just hire anyone.

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  • hsvandemark

    also – notice how when the heavy set woman comes into the shooting area (i think they were the third couple walking down), he takes one photo of them and then shoots the couple ahead and behind them. if i was the bride i’d be pissed if my “fat/ugly/not stereotypically perfect” friend/family member was “accidentally” left out of all the photos.

  • Unicycler

    he spent a lot of time shooting the hot chick right after.

  • Earl Brooks

    Some brides look slimmer from the back :)

  • thisguyfailface

    He does suck…but some of the list of things the author has listed are a little nit picky. The flash is a Gary Fong cloud style diffuser that is used in an awful lot of wedding shoots to be so poignant as to be listed as a fail. The lens distance to ground is dumb, but still not a fail, although letting the camera swing between your legs..looking like a giant aroused cyborg body part..yeah that was not cool. There were so many missed opportunities to capture candid and beautiful moments just during this video that the photographer missed. Choosing to shoot them the way he did, he ruined the video..and all his shots are going to look exactly the same.. I’m no pro, but I’m a better photographer than this guy and I work mainly for free..I hope this guy didnt get paid much for this.

  • Cathy

    “most churches” allow flash for the processional and recessional, but not during the service. However, he’s taking too many too fast and the flash is reflecting off the doors behind him making it very disruptive.

  • Maria V.

    I’m glad the photographer and the ones doing the video were not at my wedding 41 years ago. Mom hired a photographer and they decided which photos he was to take. He very unobtrusively took the photos and I still enjoy them. With a sister-in-law and Grandmother with points and shoot cameras, he tactfully arranged his shots and invited them to take theirs after he finished. Ground rules do need to be worked out before the wedding and reception.

    I’ve taken many candid photos over the years, and do have a few rules which really work. I do not use flash, I stay out of the official photographers way, and do not allow the photo taking get in the way with my and my family’s enjoyment. I stay in the pew before and during the service. I do not get in the aisle. I wish I could say the same about others.

    The photographer in this video did not have his act together. Why was he not in the last pew facing the direction the wedding party was entering? Of better yet on the other side of the door taking candid shots of the wedding party before they entered the sanctuary. He was very intrusive. Whether or not the photos were any good, his actions showed a very lack of understanding of what the occasion was. He was not the star.

    Why was the video operator filming the photographer? I think both were at fault. If the photographer had photographed the wedding party on the other side of the doors, it would have allowed the video operator to have unobstructed view of the wedding party walking down the aisle.

    Neither operator had the purpose of the photography/video in mind. They were “fighting” each other to get the “best” photos/video. Oneupmanship. The best wedding photographer I have seen was one who quietly worked around the do-it-yourselfers at that wedding. He appreciated my staying out of his way and not using flashes. And yes, he got one of the best candid photos of me i have had.