An Important Short Lesson For All Wedding Photographers

Update: The featured video has been changed per request of the photographer that was featured in it. In summary the video showed the back of a photographer standing up in the middle of the aisle next to the front two rows shooting with a 70-200mm lens aiming at the bridal party. I saw this video (video replaced with dancing dog) posted up in a Facebook group I belong to by the amazing team of videographers over at Motivity Films. The video was shared as a reminder to all wedding photographers that just as much as we complain about videographers being in our shots, we as photographers need to be aware of our surroundings as well as those working the wedding with us so that everyone can produce a quality product for our clients. The 2-minute video is really quite funny.

Now I am not sharing this video so that we can light up our torches and raise the pitchforks to go after the photographer. I don't even have a clue who it is. Also I understand that later the photographer realized what they had done and apologized to the videographers for her mistake. The reason I felt it was important to share the video, besides getting a good laugh, is because there are some great lessons in this video that all wedding photographers should be aware of.

  1. Communicate with the videographers before the ceremony starts and get an idea of what kind of cameras and lenses they will have set up and running so that you don't accidentally stand in front of one. There are times when you will be crossing, which is not a big deal, but it is always best to be aware of what they have set up so you can best position yourself.
  2. If you see a camera filming down the aisle, try to shoot either alongside it or duck down in front of it. Often, these cameras are zoomed in closer on the couple so you should be able to stay low and be out of sight.
  3. During a wedding ceremony, be aware of how your body could be impeding the guests from enjoying the wedding. You might not be entirely blocking their view, but when you are standing up in front, you become a sight distraction and rather than watch the couple you suddenly become the entertainment.
  4. Use your telephoto lens to shoot further back. Zooming in at 200mm gives you beautiful compression and bokeh, so take advantage of it.
  5. If you absolutely do need to get a shot up front, make yourself as small as possible. Also strip down your camera and pop on a prime lens that is not quite as distracting. An 85mm, 50mm or 35mm might be good choices.
  6. Lastly, always keep an eye on the couple and an ear listening to what is going on. Photos of the couple laughing or the groom shedding a tear are priceless and you don't want to miss those.

The photographer in this video is probably extremely talented, has shot many weddings before and nailed some amazing photos from her angle there. But I hope that even if she stumbles upon this post and recognizes herself in the video, she is able to grab some takeaways from this article so during future weddings both her, the guests and others working at the wedding are all able to have a clean line of sight to the couple, which after all is what we are all there to witness.

Finally, be sure to check out some of the incredible wedding videos done by the team at Motivity Films by visiting their website. Nick and Ben are extremely talented and always put together fantastic wedding films. In fact, here is the highlight reel they prepared for this same wedding. Good stuff!

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Previous comments
jhog's picture

Yes, that's exactly right.

Rodolfo Arechiga's picture

A few years back we shot a friend's wedding there. Gorgeous!

Tara Eveland's picture

love the 'comments' by the videographer that is on the video, especially the end, gave me a good laugh. very good read and great tips!

Malcolm Debono's picture

This is only one side of the story. Had the videographer actually spoken to the photographer and told her where he was going to place his camera in the first place before the ceremony? I'm more than sure that would have solved the problem, which in this case seems to be lack of communication. Not siding with the photographer here as I don't see any reason why any person needs to stand right in the middle of the aisle especially if she's got a 70-200. I also shoot wedding videos and getting to know the photographer and discussing how you're covering the ceremony is key and once I have that done I feel much less stressed throughout the day.

Everett Glovier's picture

I think everyone should just get along. Learn to be nice and talk to people and you won't have problems. I am a videographer, but I have been in situations where I was in the way, or the photographer was in the way. I simply talked with them and never had a problem again. I think as shooters (and fstoppers commenters for that matter), need to learn to be nicer and better with communicating. Comments on FStoppers are sometimes as bad as youtube, and that's just sad.

Nursultan Tulyakbay's picture

I don't shoot weddings, but I have shot events where there are multiple photographers, videographers and limited vantage points to shoot from. While we were setting up it just seemed natural to coordinate with each other to make sure we weren't getting in each other's shots. In fact we also banded together to remedy some of the venue's lighting issues. I don't know what the circumstances were at this wedding, but I would venture to say that this was just as much the videographer's fault for those missed shots if there was no coordination with the photographer.

Ralph Hightower's picture

Who is this woman with the big honking zoom lens? Just because you own a Canon L telephoto lens doesn't make you a "professional". Was she a hired photographer? She seemed more interested in photography the wildlife than the ceremony.
The video guys nailed it in the last video! That was awesome. The woman? She's a jerk!

nbm's picture

Ah, Ralph, to know it all.... yup, wildlife. Squirrels are huge around here.

Tony Guillaro's picture

Why was she soooo close? She was using a 70-200 after all
And personally at that moment of the wedding, my focus would have been on the bride and groom- am I right

Robert Daniels's picture

Them Damn Canon photographers are always known for this. You will never ever catch Nikon photogs doing this SH#T. lol

John Higgitt's picture

I'm confused with this post, the photographer was seen 4 times at the start of the video..

The Photographer takes a photograph and moves on

The Videographer sets up the camera and lets it run for minutes at a time, unfortunately now again as a photographer you cross into their area and apologise, likewise as a photographer i have to deal with the videographer also in my way, but i'm sensible enough to take more pictures than I require for errors.

I like to think i'm polite and professional enough to accommodate other professionals, but to make a post out of this is ridiculous

I have to work around boom mic, jib rigs and not to mention sometimes up to 4 people, so give photographers a break.

The market is saturated and yes there are bad photographers out there and there are bad clients and bad videographers out their too.

In that video the photographer was in 4 sections totalling about 8 seconds, surely the professional videographer noticed the photographer getting in the works both ways

enough said

Sergey Usik's picture

I guess it fits the best for this:

Black in man-3:
Young Agent K: I haven't been here last time. I didn't tell you where I went?
Agent J: No, I mean, we don't really talk.
Young Agent K: What kind of partners sit in a car all day everyday for fourteen years and don't talk?
Agent J: Exactly! And this is the type of problem it causes, it's dysfunctional.

nbm's picture

This is me.

And you know who's rude? The videographers who put this together and allowed it to go viral without ever indicating to me how they felt.

I was quite shocked to see a photo of myself with a "no" sign all over it in my news feed this morning.

First, I'd like everybody here who made snide comments and who's never made a mistake to raise their hand.
Talk about arrogance.

No, I did not ruin ALL of the videographers' shots as petapixel claims. Unless the videographer only recorded for the few minutes I was in that spot.

If it was really that bad, then why didn't one of them (there were 2) walk up to me and ask me to move? Why couldn't they move their cameras around, why am only I expected to make sure I'm not in their shot, use smaller lenses, compromise my work for theirs? Of course I would have moved / crouched down / worked faster / whatever if they had tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out how badly I was apparently blocking their shot. But why am I the only one who can change something? Why can't they move one camera? Come up next to me? Just like them I was paid to capture the wedding.

There were no sidelines. NONE. Very crammed and tight. There was hardly anywhere to go. I started out on the other side of bride and groom, sort of behind the groom, and eventually worked my way out, which was almost impossible. I have no problem going through bushes and climb over rocks to go around; not an option here. I barely managed to squeeze through the dozen or so kids which were sitting at the front of the aisle, in a crouched manner, trying to be small.

I then crouched in the aisle for some time, getting bride and groom, and close-ups of them and their emotions, for those of you who so smartly commented that I didn't bother with those. I was able to shoot bride and groom crouched down and out of sight, especially since they were a step down from the aisle.

I needed to stand up to get the faces of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, people who I would assume are hugely important to the bride and groom. Yes, in this case I was standing up at the front of the aisle for longer than I usually do, and yes, there was a lot of chimping, The light was very challenging and I do like to make sure I get good exposures rather than wishing I changed something later. Some were in the shade, some half in the sun, some had glaring background behind them. Lighting changes, exposure/flash changes.

I did talk to the videographers beforehand and mentioned that I usually get some shots from the front of the aisle; they made it sound lke it was not a problem. I did apologize later for having been up there for as long as I had. They said not to worry about it – yet this is where I find myself. All through the day I asked them if I was in their shot, if they wanted me to move, if they wanted to change anything, get another pose with bride and groom, did they get what they wanted. I do not think I'm more important than the videographer. I've had 2 other videographers this summer tell me I am so nice to them and easy to work with. At least I try.

How is it that Handlebar Studios posts this on vimeo with the caption "learn to play nice", but doesn't approach me about it? Who is not playing nice? I would never ever post anything like this about another vendor in the area.

Lastly, I would like to know how it is o.k. for f-stoppers to use a video that was apparently posted in a Facebook group – private, I assume – and make an article out of it, which now has spilled over to petapixel and into my clients' news feeds?

Richard Evans's picture

Man, this is horrible! A really, really bad call on F-stoppers behalf! I feel bad for you, and very irritated with F-stoppers for irresponsible journaling. C'mon F-stoppers! The writer who posted and wrote on this should be highly reprimanded and even possibly terminated! Sound extreme? Well, it's just as extreme as this irresponsible post! To you the photographer: at this point trying to deal with this and defend yourself is like trying to put out a bunch of small brush fires! Let it go and move on. Who you are and your talent will eventually vindicate you! I wish you much success!

nbm's picture

Thank you Richard. I have to agree that I was very disappointed - I usually find tutorials and useful information on here rather than slender.

Erin_Hernandez_Reisner's picture


Richard Klein's picture

I have shot nearly 1800 weddings in my career, most of which had videographers. I shoot stills. I made it my business to make sure video folks and I were on the same page as to locations and timing. If they were changing magazines or batteries, I could delay some events till they were up to speed, and the same applied to me if I were changing rolls of film, or cameras. (In the days of film.) Now with digital gear, I still make it a habit of working with video so we both are getting what we need, while not stepping on each other's toes. Communication is the key. The B&G see us working together harmoniously and have no worries about that part of their wedding. The times that piss me off are when I am working with amateurs masquerading as professionals. I.E., getting in my way, flicking on a light when I am shooting portraits, and generally being a nuisance by trying to run the wedding their way. In the few times this has happened, I had no problem getting in their way to get my shots, especially if they ignored my suggestions as to cooperation. In cases like this, my philosophy was "no prisoners--get what I need without worrying about them." With video people that I have worked with before, or new ones that are on the same page, I bend over backwards to make sure they get what they need without my interference. Just my $.02 worth.

Pete's picture

I have taken video at three events where there has also been an official photographer.

In two, both weddings the photographer could not have been more accommodating. The 1st a friends wedding I was not there on work and knowing there wasn't an 'official' video being made I though I might get a few shots to get to know the scarlet in a real world setting while hopeful creating a nice surprise for my friend. The photographer invited me along on the more private sections arranged between him the couple and venue. The second wedding was one I was being paid for, and again the photog was great, though he was amazed at the venues facilities for us and the band.

At the conference I filmed a few key sessions of however, unlike 90% of the delegates who ducked when passing what they felt was the like field of view of the camera the official photog never once made such a concession. This was also a static tripod affair it wasn't like I was running round the room to get shots. I'm fairly sure a RED Scarlet on a suitable tripod is obvious enough, and at the height I had it set (high to compensate for the stage) the ducking required was hardly an issue. Its not like he took any shots there either.

Marina Bellini's picture

what a beautiful wedding footage

Aleksandar Jaredic's picture

She seems to use direct flash in bright daylight which tell much about her skills :)

JLB's picture

its called fill flash...

Juan Kis's picture

Yeap! Fill flash, I use that in certain conditions and put my flash on -3 stops. Try that and you'll love it!

Aleksandar Jaredic's picture

I always expose for the highlights and add a fill in Lightroom. I rearly if ever use on camera flash.

GurlRocker's picture

Reminds me of my sister's photographer (except it was a male). She had it videotaped and he was running around the chapel and at one point knocked over a tripod that the videographer had set up for another angle. Sis was none to happy when she saw her video and what this guy did. I don't think he's in business anymore.

Gabriella Lemas-Sanchez's picture

As a wedding photographer. I try to get my shots from all angles not just from the front. With the camera and Lens that the photographer was using, she could have gotten her shot from the side. I have worked with many videographers. Some don't play nice. There was one who got in every shot I took. He was rude and I would never send him any weddings. Later the mother of the bride came up to me and apologize for his rude actions. He ruined many great images because he would not move for the key spots and that were in front of the bride and groom. So this is a two way street. There just needs to be respect among both the videographer and the photographer we must both work together for the common good of our clients.

MitziMay's picture

She has a HUGE ZOOM lens ... for the sole purpose of not having to be right on top of them ... why didn't she just go with a nifty fifty...?? SMH.

JLB's picture

ts not a huge zoom its a 70-200mm lens on a full frame

Erin_Hernandez_Reisner's picture

I was a journalist for a newspaper several years ago and I can't believe the lack of research done. Is F-stoppers just another gossip blog? It really seems like it. Where is the class? Aren't they here to help?

Right now F-stoppers and a frustrated video team may have seriously damaged a photographer's career and reputation. It isn't great that the videographers posted this. You're telling me in 3 minutes and 44 seconds they couldn't cut her out? Really? I do believe that there had to be a better way for the videographers to deal with this issue. But the real problem is that F-stoppers actually believed that this was a valid story. They didn't go digging for real answers, and then sent this thing viral. Now a whole lot of critical photographers get to bash another photographer, without any defense. Thank you F-stoppers (dripping with sarcasm) for your great spreading of love, knowledge, and support to our photographic community. We are all better now to judge a fellow photographer. Thank you for making us wiser and better than we were a few hours ago, I totally learned how to work with videographers today! (End sarcasm).

F-stoppers, why not take this video you found as inspiration; explain nicely to the video peeps that it isn't cool, but you would like to do a story. Without spreading gossip, actually interview several videographers and photographers and write up a real article about how everyone can work together. Give tips for all sides. With that story we would actually be a better community, and our wedding couples would have better weddings!

Noam Galai's picture

Did you read the article? The video is not the point, the photographer is not the focus here. The article is about things we can all learn from this. Actually - some great tips, I recommend you read them if you have time.
The photographer wont lose any clients or future work for this.

streetphotog's picture

Then why put up the video then? Look at all the replies, a lot of them are negative comments towards the photographer in the video. The point of this article could have been made without putting up the video.

streetphotog's picture

I have to say this is very unprofessional of the videographer for putting up a video like this. And Shame on fstoppers for also putting this up. A video like this is only one side of the story, and can potentially hurt the photographers lively hood. You don't need through a photographer under the bus to make your point.

The Loft Studios's picture

This photographer's actions is "HORRIFIC"... and I am a photographer! And for all you other photographers out there defending this "side-show amateur" should be ashamed of yourself! Let's just take the videographer out of the picture for a second. This disrespectful woman ruined the moment for any and all guest who was in the same path as the videographer's, FROM 2 DIFFERENT ANGLES, which had to be at least 10-15 people. This video just happen to show how unprepared and unobservant most of us are, because we believe that we are the only people there who deserve a first rate observation to the Wedding because, what? WE'RE GETTING PAID AND I'M DOING THIS FOR THE SAKE OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM?!? Gimme' a freakin' break! This photographer was in the WRONG for so many different reasons, I can't even count.....
Now, let me tell you what I would have done and have actually had done in real life situations, if I were her. First off, with a 70-200, there's no image that she could not have captured if she had just stayed around the perimeter of the guest. So, first and foremost, I would not have even been in that position. But let's say that I was. We, in the photography industry use a technique called "Sniper or Snipping", whereby we shoot a subject then slightly move to a different position, or in this case duck down to clear the path of others (in this case it would have been to allow the guest as well as the videographer to get a clear sight of the Bride and Groom. Then jump back up for a split second to shoot again, and duck back down again. Also, when I'm in position, I "ALWAYS" look over my back to see who I'm blocking. And if I'm blocking someone like the videographer, I make eye contact with them and give them the "thumbs up" as to ask, " I O.K right here?" They, in return will either gest with their hands "...a little to the left." or "...a little to the right.", or even a "thumbs downs" as to say, "...NO! That doesn't work AT ALL!" So I will move, which I have done a time or two.
As a photographer, we can not have a Prima Donna attitude as to think just because we're the photographers, means we are immune to common courtesy and manners at a Wedding.

CarLITos WaY's picture

The video is unavailable now. Please reupload the video!

Anthony C's picture

The main video wont work and i cant seem to find it on their Vimeo or Facebook page! Does anyone have a link? Thanks!

guismo37's picture

What was she trying to shot with that HUMONGOUS lense from that distance? bridesmaids and groomsmen's skin pores?!

Irek Klepacki's picture

Interesting hints and tips. Unfortunately because of privacy setting the video can't be watched in Sweden :(

guismo37's picture

Just one thing, What were she trying to shot with that HUMONGOUS lense in a full frame dslr from that distance? bridesmaids and groomsmen's skin pores?! couldn't she take the shot from a few centimeters back without getting in the way?! (like from the other side of the guest at her back) Or maybe using the other lense and getting closer without also getting in the way? What about brenizer? How many shots till she knows the right settings? Couldn't she just take a shot, get down, analyze and reconfig THEN stand up again and that's it without getting in the way like that. Come on! I think that if she is a pro photographer she was intentionally blocking the videographer's view. Just my analysis.

Jacques Rall's picture

The vimeo video on top does not play 'due to privacy settings'. Does it still work for anybody and can you please provide a vimeo URL for it? Thank you

Ben .'s picture

No point even reading this if FS can't re-link the video so we know what they're referring to.

I do get the general jist of it though and this is why I don't shoot weddings. Sure I've got the kit to do it. Sure, I've been shooting for 8 odd years but the way I see it is this.

If you don't 100% want to shoot weddings and that's all you want to do and that's your passion and drive..... don't shoot weddings. There's hundreds of people who want to and more who have put the time and energy in to learning/perfecting the craft.

Let em have it.

I don't want to shoot a series of pics that I think are good but the bride doesn't think fit what she invisioned. Right/wrong or otherwise it's her day and their money. If they aren't happy you sure as hell aren't getting to do the wedding of anyone who attended.

Anthony Woodruffe's picture

it didn't seem like she was enjoying the occasion in a literal sense. Looked like she was very focused on getting shots. But I couldn't work out of what... It definitely wasn't the B&G. I just kept thinking the whole way through the video. Why she thought that was the best place to stand, especially with that lens; I'm guessing a 70-200.

Phillip Sutton's picture

What happened? Private video?

Bryan Lee's picture

Private video. Can't view it.

Sebastian K's picture

can't see the video here in austria bc of its privacy settings :-/

EnticingHavoc's picture

Hilarious how crazy people are about their weddings. What comes next ? Hire a few actors to make the plot even more alluring. Maybe lace it with a bit of action, say a short car chase ?
That wedding craze has gone fully out of control.

Scott Painter's picture

My last wedding the photographer walked into the scene at LEAST 30 times. Then had the audacity to say, my back side better not show up some where. I don't think she understood courtesy.

dallas756's picture

It is sad to see even within this thread the notion that one vendor's job is more important than the other. It amazes me how selfish some wedding vendors can be. The photog is NOT more important than the videographer and expect the videographer to just accommodate your every wish for your perfect shots, even if it impedes their ability to capture. (And vice versa for snotty videogs) I would also add that posting videos (or photos) such as this is equally as disrespectful to the couple - you're turning THEIR wedding day into your own beef with a vendor and spreading it all over online, thus putting the couple in an awkward situation they don't deserve to be in. If you two couldn't work decently together and simply communicate friendly when there was an issue, that's not the couple's fault and it's unfair to use their wedding footage all over the Internet is such a way that turns their beautiful day into some viral photog vs. videog beef.

kleefoto's picture

Am the only one that can't see the first video?

Mauricio Alanis's picture

can someone post direct link to vimeo? can't get to see the video

Thomas Shue's picture

Seems the video has been taken down or blocked. Anyone know of a link so I can see what happened?

Nursultan Tulyakbay's picture

For those wanting to see the video that is no longer available. I suspect the poster made the video private out of respect for the people in the video. The video was a few minutes of cut out of the bride and groom while they delivered their vows and the photographer was standing in the isle shooting at things out of view of the camera. She happened to be in direct view of the videographer. The poster of the video over-laid some text complaining about the actions of the photographer. That's about it. I think the comments from those who have seen it sum up what I hope was the gist of this post. Make sure you communicate with other vendors at an event and have a game plan set so everyone can do what they were paid to do.

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