Here's a top tip to getting better wedding photos at your big day.
I don't think I've EVER had couple come up to me and ask for an album full of formal photos.
Sure, when Sheila and I got married they were the norm. We've an album with exactly 36 images in it. Precisely three of those are not-formal. One is an image of us walking back down the aisle. Two are photos of us having confetti thrown at us. Three out of thirty six images are "as it happens".
We didn't ask for an album of formal images. That's just what was the done thing.
Nowadays couples do ask. They ask for exactly the opposite of what we had. Maybe they've seen their parents' albums full of what they see as awkward "posed" images and not liked them. Maybe they don't like to be "posed" in front of the camera. Maybe they are more used to seeing relaxed images taken by friends on Facebook!
Typically a couple will ask us for photos of all those fun interactions that happen at weddings. They ask us to take photos of things "as they happen".
Now the reality of every wedding is that couples want a mix of imagery. They definitely want a few groups - for example themselves with their parents. They definitely want the artful images that I create that make the couple look like they've just stepped out of a magazine page. They definitely want the informal images too. But the "as it happens" images are definitely the ones requested first and foremost by my clients.
How do we, as photographers, get those images?
I go "hunting".
That's what I call it when I go off to create images of things "happening".
I talk to Granny. And Grandpa. And Uncle James.
Actually I talk to pretty much everyone that will talk. I always find that when guests see me as a person, rather than "that guy with a camera", they relax a little. Interacting with them a little allows me (oddly) to hide. They stop noticing me and start to concentrate on their discussion with whoever it is that they've not seen for simply ages. Even if they do see me they simply smile and let me take a photo of them, "as it happens".
I will take my time. I'll stand and watch and wait. I'll move around. I'll see things out of the corner of my eye and keep an eye on them developing. And then I'll make my image: "as it happens".
It takes time. It takes patience. It takes skill (obviously, I would say that).
There's a point to all of this rambling.
If you want those little moments captured your photographer needs to have the time to watch, and wait, for them. If you have many things going on, for example a Jenga game, connect four, a Tug-of-War and an ice-cream van, the photographer can only spend a short time on each. They need time to watch for things developing. More things means more time needed.
My top tip is to allow space in your schedule for your photographer to not be having to cover something specific. Time for them to just wander around and see what is happening. Time to capture those instants when things are just "happening".
Here's a few from this year for fun from a variety of weddings.