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4 Tips to Capturing Killer Ceremony Details

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During the wedding day shoot, there are various moments which require you to capture specific details from each part of the day. These details range from the bride’s dress and the groom’s tux, to the bridesmaids’ flowers, and the wedding cake and the table decor. Capturing details during the wedding day enhances your storytelling ability, creating a picture for your couple when they receive their images from you.

Here at ShootDotEdit, we’ve discussed how to shoot details such as the wedding rings and other getting ready items. Today, we’re excited to feature photography duo, Amy and Jordan Demos, who are going to share with you how you can document the important details of the wedding ceremony. Here are Amy and Jordan’s 4 tips to capturing killer ceremony details every time.

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Our brides, their planners, and their floral designers spend months dreaming up the perfect ceremony decor, which is why we are committed to capturing killer images to show off all their hard work! These photos always make it into our couple’s album, and frequently end up being featured on the websites of the creative team AND on national inspiration blogs, so we have lots of reasons to make sure we are proud of them!

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Image Compliments of Amy and Jordan Demos

1. Know your Limitations

Most wedding ceremonies in Arizona take place outdoors about 60-90 minutes before the scheduled sunset. So, unless it’s a downtown venue with big buildings shading the ceremony site (a rare occasion out here since there are only a few city venues), it is most likely that before the guests arrive, we have still got some pretty intense, direct sunlight hitting part of the altar decor. This occurs either straight on or at an angle which leaves part of the altar in extreme highlights and the other part in extreme shadows – which is not the most flattering light on humans or decor. Unless you like that 1950s police thriller interrogation lamp look, of course.

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Image Compliments of Amy and Jordan Demos

2. Take Two Sets of Photos

So…how do we get killer ceremony photos of the complete set-up without guests in it when the light is not ideal before the guests arrive? Answer: we take two sets of ceremony detail shots. A “safety set” and a golden hour set. In the 30-minute window before the ceremony, we take detail shots of the aisle and altar decor just to make sure we have it covered in case something runs late or goes wrong during or after the ceremony. Then, right before the ceremony starts, we communicate with the on-site coordinator or wedding planner and ask this simple question, “Will the ceremony decor be re-purposed for the reception immediately following the ceremony?” If the answer is “yes” (which it almost always is), then we kindly and politely ask if the event producers can hold on removing and repurposing the decor until about fifteen minutes after the ceremony so we can get detail photos in better light.

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Remember: we take the first set of ceremony detail shots about 15-30 minutes before the ceremony, so by the time it is over, the light has dropped another 45-60 minutes, which makes a huge difference.

Related: Find out what the best images are to take throughout the wedding day shoot, plus how to get them published, with our Free Guide! 

3. Make Any Scenario Work

Now, here’s the thing: sometimes it is not possible for the event producers to wait fifteen minutes after the ceremony, because the vignette is massive and complicated to move. But, that has not been our experience. From what we have seen, if we communicate in advance to the person in charge (and offer to send them beautiful photos of their gorgeous work for free!), they almost always agree! It is a win for everybody. In the event they do not, though, don’t sweat it! Just do the best you can with the light you have and, like Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!” That is what being a wedding photographer is all about!

Related: Your body matters…your camera body, that is! Download The Wedding Photographer’s Guide to Camera Bodies to discover some of the best cameras on the market

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Image Compliments of Amy and Jordan Demos

4. Utilize your Second Shooter

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Learn Posing From the Pros

If you have two photographers, the best way to make the most of your time in the fifteen minutes following the ceremony is to have one photographer (the lead photographer) photograph the ceremony details in golden light while the second photographer does the marriage license and grabs some fun cocktail hour shots. That way, you still leave yourself with twenty minutes of husband and wife “Golden Hour” portraits and your couple gets to enjoy cocktail hour for 20 minutes while you set up for the reception.

Want more awesome stuff like this? Get Amy and Jordan’s FREE video with their five photography life hacks here!

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When you properly capture the details of the ceremony, you are adding to the story of the wedding day for your couple. Detail shots are also great photos to include in an album, slideshow, or photo collage so make sure you pay close attention to them. Discovering unique ways to shoot the details during any type of situation can assist you in quickly creating stunning images your clients will love. To learn more shooting during the wedding day, as well as ways to light and pose, download our Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing Guide!

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