Wedding Picture Killers

Even the best-laid wedding plans aren’t enough to protect you from a wedding album full of spoiled pictures. Here are some red flags that can pop up in the middle of what were supposed to be treasured photos — and how to fix them before they become a problem.

Guests taking pictures. Yes, they feel entitled because they traveled to your wedding. But any professional photographer can tell you horror stories about lining up for that perfect moment when the groom slips the ring on the bride’s finger — only to have a guest step into the aisle with his iPad, and right into the middle of the shot. It’s not rude to make an announcement before the ceremony that guests may not take pictures from the aisle.
Sound equipment. Don’t you just love it when a DJ’s speakers, trusses, microphone stands and signs are in the background of what could have been memorable pictures? If your DJ is proving sound for your ceremony, ask him to set up behind your guests and provide a wireless microphone with a simple black stand (if any), not one of those gaudy chrome ones.
Video equipment. The same advice applies to your videographer.  It’s one thing to carry a camera. It’s quite another to leave the camera mounted on a rolling tripod in the middle of the room, where it ends up in the background of every picture. 
Competing photographers. Have you ever seen a First Dance picture with the videographer in the background, or a Bride-Father picture with the photographer in the background? That’s what happens when you hire photo and video people who have never worked with one another. Each vendor cares only about his/her own shots. You can solve that problem by asking your photographer to refer a reliable videographer, or by hiring a company that provides both still photography and videography.
Commercial signs. Product placement may be fine for movies, but for weddings it is forbidden. There’s nothing like a McDonald’s wrapper on the table next to you, to ensure that any picture taken in the vicinity of that table will become a McDonald’s ad. The same thing applies to a DJ’s sign. Any DJ who insists on rolling out a 6-foot banner with the name of his company, is using your wedding to advertise for his next potential booking; and he should pay you for the ad space and the audience. Better yet, just hire a DJ who will agree not to post any signs or banners.
Table trash. Your photographer wants to take perfect pictures of your banquet room, including pictures of your table décor. He/she doesn’t want pictures of that purse or beer bottle your early-arriving guest decided to leave on the table. The venue needs to keep the room closed and locked until the photographer gets all pre-reception room shots.
Mirrors. Hey, everyone, let’s all line up for a big group shot with our backs against a full-length wall mirror. That way, we can also get a picture of the photographer taking the picture — and maybe even a good shot of the photographer’s flash. Smart photographers know enough to stay away from mirrors.  
If you trust an amateur or volunteer photographer with your treasured wedding photos, you’re likely to see a lot of pictures with these little nasties in them. That’s why most couples take the time to research professional photographers, to ensure that each image will be a lasting memory, for all the right reasons.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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