Have you been to any weddings recently? Well, this year alone, I have been to three weddings of friends and I must say that I am really quite frustrated with how the photography profession has changed since the first time I became interested in photography. Photographers are invited/hired/what-have-you to certain events so that they could document what is going on.
First of all, it has been my understanding that photographers are supposed to be inconspicuous. They are not really part of the event because they are not guests but neither are they potted plants that ought to be in display. So they have to blend into the background, but still actively do their job: take photos.
Second of all, if you cannot be inconspicuous, then at least do not interrupt the proceedings. If people want to get close to the bride and groom, let them do so. You are, in fact, supposed to encourage those activities because those actions are what you are supposed to capture: the effusive outburst of emotion and sympathy from the guests (especially during weddings). Sure, you may instruct the bride and groom to stand at a certain spot every now and then, but they are NOT supposed to follow your every direction. The bride and groom are supposed to enjoy and be able to move around without being overly self-conscious about how they look going around.
Last, but definitely not the least, photographers are not supposed to be closer to the main stars of the events than the guests and family members. You are not supposed to block people from seeing the celebrants–the main attractions–of the occasion. Notice how photographers are often allowed only up to a certain point in major events? Because they have to be restrained from getting too close and causing interruptions to the goings-on of the event. This is why photographers invest in gear and equipment that can allow them to do their job without interrupting the event.
Spontaneity cannot be done artificially. If you want your photographs to be real representation of what happened on that special occasion, it has to be capturing memories and not staged segments of what the event is “supposed to look like”.
Yes, I considered much of my photos useless because there is always a “professional” blocking the way. Take note that when taking photos, I was never close to the bride and groom. I always found my spot on the side because I wanted to capture special moments between them and their loved ones. Of course, I came close to the bride and groom but it was mainly to express my best wishes and congratulations to them.
Bonus pet-peeve: While standing in front of the bride and groom, the photographer was checking his shots!!! Damn it, check them after you step aside! You don’t have the luxury of blocking the way.