Weddings are often well-planned affairs, but the occasional glitch does happen, like the ring bearer throwing a tantrum as he walks down the aisle, or a bridesmaid passing out at the alter (both have happened). For a photographer, those are some of the most memorable moments to capture, and as long as no one is injured we like to look back at those and laugh. No one was laughing however, when a reverend lost his patience with a photography team who attempted to do their job during an outdoor ceremony. The uncomfortable scene went viral on the web.
This has been a fear of mine each year that I’ve been in business. I feel for the photographer, I feel for the officiant, but most importantly I feel for the couple and their guests. As wedding professionals it is essential to remember that we need to take our egos out of the day. It is our job to provide a service that exceeds the couple’s expectations and takes stress and tension away from their line of sight.
What happened here was a breakdown of communication. To photographers everywhere: communication and compromise are the keys to making it in this business. Always discuss boundaries with officiants before the ceremony begins. In this case it appears that this was done. A blog write up on The Knot about this incident encouraged the photographer in question to defend himself. The photographer, Kamrul Hasan reported that he was simply told not to shoot in the aisle. Assuming this is accurate, the photographer was not breaking the officiant rules. Furthermore, the photographer said he was shooting with a telephoto lense and the video footage also appears to be compressed indicating neither the photographer nor the videographer was too close to interfere with the service. Since the ceremony was outdoors there were no flashes popping either. Outdoor weddings are typically more relaxed, chill, and less traditional. For the ceremony the couple was placed adjacent to a draped trellis leaving few angles to document the bride and groom’s faces. Add this all up and it appears the officiant stages a nutty for no reason. The officiant should not have stopped the service, but if he was really concerned he could have privately called the photographers over during the ceremony and asked them to move politely without scolding them. He certainly could have given better instructions prior to its commencement.
In any profession, there are people who are bad at their job, and I know many photographers have ruined it for the rest of us. But after ten years of business, most officiants and photographers know how to work together. Especially for outdoor ceremonies, photographers are granted more freedom and movement. If this was an indoor ceremony, I would have given the officiant more of a defense, but in this situation I would have chosen to be in the exact same place as the photographer who got yelled at.
The real problem here is the breakdown in communication because if the bride and groom experienced stress even for a second because of the vendors, they have failed.