Fonthill Castle Wedding Photographers
Susan Stripling Photography
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Fonthill Castle Wedding Photographers

"What do you capture during a wedding ceremony? Where do you stand? How do you document moments without getting super close and being distracting?"

These are the types of questions I am often asked by potential clients, and by wedding clients as their date comes close. These are great questions, as I understand the need to document the wedding ceremony as well as preserve the respect and dignity that this part of the day deserves.

The Public Hotel NYC WeddingAt this church ceremony in Philadelphia, church rules dictated where I could (and couldn't) stand. Respecting the rules is incredibly important to me as a photographer and human being! What do you capture during a wedding ceremony?

Great question.

Many people think that documenting a ceremony means just standing at the end of the aisle and taking one picture after another from the same spot.

The only time that is true for myself and the way my team covers a wedding is when we're in a church or synagogue that prohibits us from moving around, instructing that we stay in only one spot. To be clear, if there are rules at your place of worship, I will always obey them. I respect that the rules exist for a reason, and want to make sure that everyone involves knows how much I respect the ceremony proceedings.

During the ceremony I focus on capturing the important moments : exchanges of vows, exchanging rings, the kiss, any readings or blessings, and so forth. The highlights, the major landmark moments.

But what I aim to capture is way more than that, way beyond. It's the sweetly fleeting smile as you turn to look at your college roommate in the fourth row. It's the second your parents' hands clasp each other during an emotional moment. It's the clap your best man gives you on your shoulder the second you see your beloved coming down the aisle towards you. It's all the moments, big and little. I aim to capture them all for you, the moments you see and the moments that happen unaware.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Wedding CeremonySunny smiles, tiny tears. I am here for ALL OF THEM. What a beautiful thing to be able to witness and capture. Where do you stand?

I have had lots of clients ask where I stand during the ceremony. Sometimes out of curiosity, but mostly because they've been to a wedding where a photographer did something...well...disrespectful. They stood on the altar behind the priest. They stood in front of the mother of the bride. They stood in front of the entire congregation while the grooms kissed, blocking the view of everyone there to celebrate their love.

Where I stand has to do with several variables.

  1. Are there rules at your venue/church/synagogue/place of worship that dictates where I can and cannot stand? If I have to be in one spot for the entirety of the ceremony, this is something that we'll talk about before the wedding day. I always ask my clients to relay any ceremony rules to me so that we can discuss them and how they may (or may not) impact the coverage of your ceremony.
  2. Do you have a videographer? Where are he or she situated? That will possibly affect the angles that I can approach during the ceremony. Don't worry, I'll always talk to your videographer before the ceremony so that we can both get the angles we need!
  3. What are the logistics of your ceremony location? Is it outside with a lot of space? That will give me loads of room to move around and capture lots of angles without it being obvious to your guests when I move around. If your ceremony is indoors, I may or may not have room to move around - every location is different. If you're concerned about what (if any) limitations your indoor location has for photography, let's talk!

Ceremony at Palace at Somerset ParkThe use of a long telephoto lens goes a long way towards helping me capture moments in an unobtrusive manner How do you document moments without getting super close and being distracting?

THIS is the real question that I love answering. How do I capture all of the things I mentioned above, while obeying rules and being the quiet little ceremony ninja that I am?

One of the things that allows me to capture intimate moments while staying back is my use of long lenses. You might have heard of them as "telephoto" lenses, but to make a long technical story very short, it's a lens that lets me zoom in on the action from a distance. I love the look of a long angle lens in the first place, but it has the added bonus of being a great way to hang back from the action of a wedding ceremony and still create "up close" images.

The other thing I bring to my capture of a wedding ceremony is years of experience. I know how to be quiet, how to move stealthily, how to anticipate a moment and reposition myself subtly to capture it when it evolves. There are many things that almost two decades of photographing weddings has taught me, and how to handle a ceremony is a lifetime lesson that is invaluable.

If you have any questions about your ceremony, and how I would capture it as your wedding photographer, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Location: 84 S Pine St, Doylestown, PA 18901.

Keywords: Doylestown (6), Fonthill Castle (4), Mercer Museum (4). Filename: 356_060813_Roudenko.jpg. 1/500; f/4.0; ISO 3200; 185.0 mm.

New York (NYC) Photographer
Susan Stripling Photography
58 2nd Ave #17A
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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