Pictures and weddings go. Everyone wants to have a great time at a wedding, and here are some tips for capturing those great moments.

No. 1: Stay out of the way of the professional photographer.

Chances are the happy couple has hired a reputable professional photographer. The photographer has a big responsibility to do the job right and get all the important shots, in a tight timeframe. Don’t get in the professional’s way and hamper his or her activities.

Take beautiful wedding photos that will be the highlight of your album

If the photographer is taking posed portraits of the bride, the groom, or their family members, don’t also try to a photo of each pose the photographer sets up. He or she is doing a job, and you and your camera will certainly be in the way, even if you try to be unobtrusive. The photographer needs to keep the attention of a large group of excited people, with an age range from a pre-school flower girl to a octogenarian grandparent. It’s difficult enough to arrange this group into a keepsake portrait without someone off to the side saying “Hey, one for me, too!”

In addition, if you’re taking pictures off to one side of the pro, you’ll distract some members of the wedding party and slow down the whole process.

No. 2: If you want to take pictures in the church, sit in an aisle seat and watch.

Before the ceremony, take an aisle seat. Before you start firing away, however, better learn the house rules. Some ministers, priests, and rabbis expect cameras and flashes. Others permit pictures but not flash, while others don’t allow any photography or video to be taken.

Don’t know what to do? Watch the pro, who will know the rules. If he or she is moving freely about the church and using a flash, then you can take flash pictures, too. If the pro takes pictures but doesn’t use a flash, make sure yours is turned off as well. Read up on low-light and no-flash photography ahead of time.

No. 3: Plan your shots

The happy day!

If you can take pictures inside the church or synagogue, take a look at where you are. If you are far from the action and don’t have a telephoto, reconsider taking pictures. This may be a time to let the pro do their job. Most built-in flash units on cameras aren’t effective beyond 15 feet or so. Also, a good picture should pretty much fill the frame; if you’re way back, it is likely the bride and groom will be mere specks in the picture. Consider just enjoying the ceremony at that point.

Some of the best in-church photos will be when the newlyweds come up the aisle. They’re usually very happy and buoyed by joy. Be prepared! You’ll capture their happy expressions and you’ll have the altar as a background.

No.4: Many of the best pictures taken at weddings are portraits.

Most families are too busy today to sit for portraits. A wedding reception is a great opportunity to get that family picture while everyone is dressed up and in a good mood. Also, the pro is probably focused on the newlyweds, their families and the wedding party. Use this as your chance to get some unique photos.

First, when you photograph a couple dancing, ask them to stop and pose for a second. It will make for a nicer portrait. Second, when photographing a group, pair up the couples and put the kids near their parents. It will make for a nicer composition. Also, make sure you fill the frame.

No. 5: Set up “table shots”.

At most wedding receptions, families and friends are seated next to each. Take advantage of this with table portraits. Wait until the food has been cleared and watch out for foreground clutter. Use the flash!

To pose the group, ask half the guests to leave their seats and stand behind the other half. (Remember the hint above; pair up couples and keep kids close. Who gets to sit and who gets to stand? Make it easy by having grandparents or the elderly sit, and the younger folks stand. By moving half of the people out of their seats, you’ll be able to fill your horizontal frame with two rows of people. Move in to reduce the amount of table in the foreground. Concentrate on filling the frame photo with people, and eliminate the clutter on the table by not showing the tablecloth, dirty dishes, and dirty glasses.

Lastly, remember a wedding reception is a party. The pro is going to get all the “scripted shots,” like the bouquet toss and the cake cutting. Don’t copy the pro here; focus instead on the reaction shots from the family. Those are the memorable moments you’ll want in your album.

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