I can not tell you how much fun it was to watch my Dad walk his one and only daughter down the aisle! They had both been ever so patient, and for Esther to ask me to be the main photographer for the entire day, which included that special moment, was my highest honor. Having a second photographer to help out, though, really helped the day go more smoothly. And it provided opportunity for an array of photos to be captured that could not have been captured otherwise if I had been the only photographer. So, to showcase these unique moments, I asked Lydia to share her perspective as second photographer on that special day!– James
May 15 was one full day. The day I helped James shoot Esther’s wedding.
Since there were two of us, we could take multiple pictures of the exact same moment. It’s very interesting to see those two different perspectives next to each other, so, come along on a little journey to enjoy some photos from the perspectives of two photographers!
While we were scouting locations the day before the wedding, James and I talked through who would have what lens at what time, and generally what each of us would cover. It’s so important to have clear communication with your team so everyone knows what’s expected and so we each know what the other is covering.
At heart, James is a landscape photographer. He tends to like shooting wide-angle, and as the main photographer, he gets priority for positioning himself where he wants to be to get the shots he’s looking to get. So, for the most part, he used his 24-70 f/2.8 throughout the wedding day.
I tend to like to shoot telephoto. Zooming in, capturing little details, looking for unique side perspectives…that’s kinda my forte. So for most of the day, I used the 70-200 f/2.8.
With a set up like this, it enables me to zoom in and capture details while James is taking the “main” photos.
Another time I like to look for those closeup details is when the bride/bridesmaids groupings are being shot. I like to go off to the side and capture closeups of bouquets and the expressions being shared between the bride and her dearest friends.
When taking the individual bride/bridesmaids and groom/groomsmen portraits, James shoots horizontally while I shoot over his shoulder and get a vertical perspective.
It saves tons of time to capture vertical and horizontal at the same moment.
Same concept works with group shots:
I had to step back to get the whole group, since I was using the telephoto.
Sometimes we switch it up, just both taking whatever perspective we would like to! You can really see the difference focal length makes in some of the photos we took throughout the day. In these photos, James and I were both shooting at f/2.8, but just look at the difference in background blur!
Oh and there were so many fun, spontaneous photos throughout the day! Esther asked if we could take a picture of the two flower girls twirling with Uncle Jonathan and Uncle David, and it was such a sweet idea! While James was getting the main twirling shot, I chose to capture the uncles and nieces at a closer angle with the telephoto.
Another benefit of having a second photographer is that they can get good pictures of the main photographer in action 🙂
Not only that, but you can get some pretty fun behind-the-scenes shots. Not exactly the sort of photo the couple is going to hang on their wall, but the family will sure appreciate having the hilarious moments of the day to look back on. 🙂 When a group of little nieces and nephews isn’t too sure they want to stand still and get their picture taken, all you need is a few uncles and aunts to start a pine cone juggling contest, and it makes the photographers’ job a little easier!
After all the bridal party photos were taken, James and I swapped lenses and had the couple slowly walk back towards the car while we captured some photos of them walking through the woods. It was kinda different having the wide-angle lens on my camera for a change!
At this point in the day, it was time to switch gears a little bit.
For many moments of the day, the main photographer and second photographer work together on location, capturing the same moments from unique perspectives. But there are times it’s best for the two photographers to split up and capture multiple moments in various locations.
Jonathan & Esther wanted their wedding to vividly illustrate the relationship between Christ and the Church.
One way they did this was to hold the wedding ceremony at an unknown hour, to symbolize the unknown hour of Christ’s return to earth to claim His bride, the church. Just as Christ will come with the blast of a trumpet, Jonathan was to come to Esther, and the trumpet would sound around campus summoning all guests from the homes, dorms, campground, and other places to begin to walk toward the Chapel singing hymns which include lines such as, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more” and “To God be the glory, great things He has done!”
James was going to go to where the Groom would be until the Trumpet Sound, so I stayed behind to hang out with the Bride, also taking the opportunity to get some details shots with the decorations.
It’s fun to see what the two of us were photographing in our respective locations, pretty much around the same time!
Since I didn’t know the exact time Jonathan was going to sound the trumpet, it was a bit of a waiting game. James was texting updates so I knew generally how things were going on his end, but I still wasn’t sure what the exact moment would be. I knew I wanted to capture Esther’s expression when that trumpet sounded though.
I pulled Esther aside for a brief moment, to capture the feeling of her waiting for the groom.
If you look at the time stamp on this next photo (included in the filename), you can see that James took the picture of the groom getting ready to go only two minutes later.
There’s only a five-second difference in the time between these next two photos. Little did we know that even as we were capturing special moments with the bride and guests, the groom had already started sounding the trumpet way at the other end of the campus. It must have been fun for James to take pictures while riding down the road in the back of a pickup truck! 🙂
Oh the thrill when that trumpet sound was heard and Robert came bursting through the door with the announcement, “Your Groom has arrived!!”
At this point, I ran back outside, and James and I both took pictures of the procession from the dining hall to the chapel. Once everyone was on their way, James stayed with the procession and captured moments along the way while I ran and hitched a ride in a car that was taking a shortcut to the chapel, so I’d be there ahead of time when the procession approached.
We did pretty good at staying out of each other’s pictures throughout the whole day, but there were a couple times we caught each other. Can you find either of us in these photos?? 🙂
Now at the chapel, James and I briefly reviewed the plan for where each of us would be at various points in the ceremony, and then I went around and took some detail shots from the front of the chapel while James got a drink of water, checked his batteries, memory cards and camera settings. Taking these shots also gave me the time to make sure all my camera settings were set up how I wanted them.
Once the procession was about to begin, I went to the back while James went up to the front. I like to capture the moments while the bridesmaids are getting ready to go down the aisle, so I quickly (and quietly!) asked them to smile for me while I snapped a photo.
Once the processional started, James was in the front to take photos of each bridesmaid coming down the aisle. At first, I was planning to take shots of them from a different perspective towards the back, but it turned out I wasn’t liking that angle. It was at this time I happened to go to the back and saw Esther and her dad sharing a special moment together before they got ready to head down the aisle.
These daddy/daughter moments when dad is about to give away his precious daughter are absolutely priceless, and it almost made me cry just watching the tender exchange. I was so glad I had gone back and photographed that.
When the processional was happening, I kept the mental reminder “if you can’t see the camera, the camera can’t see you”, to stay out of James’ pictures, letting the bride’s dress shield me from his view.
Later, while the parents were praying over the couple, I came up the side, and was going to take photos from the opposite angle of James when I noticed the ring-bearer all engrossed in his own little world, carefully tying his shoe. Gotta love the mindset of a 4 year old! 😀
We had planned to switch places partway through so I could zoom in close when they were exchanging rings, giving vows and for the first kiss. So at this point, James went to the back of the chapel while I went to the front. Here are some parallel shots taken of the same moments, from the two different perspectives:
Esther had been hoping to have their photos taken with all the guests, so after the ceremony ended, all the guests came out, kind of receiving-line style, and we took their photos.
My sister Julianna chatted with guests while they waited in line and checked their names off the guest list so we’d know we had gotten everyone. James arranged the group. I snapped the photos. It was like a well-oiled machine.
After the guests had all headed off to the reception, we took some more photos of the couple by themselves. This was the time to get more intimate shots as well as photographing the details like rings, now that they were married!
When taking photos of the rings, James will usually tell the couple, “don’t mind us for a moment here…we’re going to be taking pictures of the rings”. They usually don’t mind waiting while that’s being done, and I like to keep an eye on their interactions during that time as well. There are usually some precious expressions exchanged between the two of them.
If you look at the time on these next two photos (in filenames), you can see they were captured at the exact same split second…how fun is that!?
Then for the reception, we both just kinda went around and shot whatever struck our fancy. Since I knew James was getting the main photos, I went out to where Donald had organized a coloring contest for the kiddos, and took pictures of that while speeches were happening.
The final challenge of the day was going to be the exit! The reception was held in low light, and the guests were going to form a line and wave glow sticks as the bride and groom exited the room. I had just barely set my camera settings and got into place when it happened! The photos came out really fun though.
Well, there you have it! That’s what it’s like to photograph a wedding as a team! It’s something that takes creativity, attentiveness to detail, flexibility and good communication.
Oh, and always, always make sure the photographers snag a picture with the bride and groom as well! You need some sort of photographic proof you were actually there, eh? 🙂