The ceremony is pretty easy. You just do your thing and follow what the officiant says. Easy.
Most couples honestly think this is the most stressful part of the day; it is, after-all the main event of the day, the reason you are there.
From a photography standpoint, there is really very little you need to know about photography-wise. I move around a lot during the ceremony to get different angles but I try to be as out of the way as possible. Depending on the venue, I usually shoot from up front during the precessional – to get the bride walking down the aisle and the groom’s reaction. I will then wander around to get different angles during the vows. My goal is to be at the end of the aisle of the first kiss and recessional. If I have a second shooter, I will sometimes have them shoot the kiss from behind you.
I rarely, if ever, shoot with flash during the ceremony. This does sometimes lend itself to overblown backgrounds (but lets be honest, that is just my style anyway) but the alternative is super-fake looking images and a distracting flash…. I’ll take my natural light any day. 🙂
Things to Keep in Mind
1- During the precessional and recessional, keep your eyes up as much as possible. I know it can be scary to walk down the aisle… but when you keep your head down, it just looks like you aren’t enjoying the day.
2 – When you are at the front, take a quick moment to see if you are centered under the arch or arbor or whatever. This may be the last thing on your mind, and I totally get it, but the absolute worst thing as a photographer is to shoot the entire ceremony knowing that the couple will be noticeably off-centered from the front. There is nothing I can do about this.
3 – Don’t be afraid to show your emotion. Emotion is the best and is the center-piece for all of wedding photography.
4 – Consider having an unplugged ceremony. There is nothing worse than a beautiful photo of the bride walking down the aisle when all of the guests have their phones out. OR, even worse, is when I have the perfect first kiss shot set up and Uncle Bob stands up in the middle of the aisle to get his photo…. you get the point.