wedding video tips

Where do you stand when filming a wedding?

Understanding where to stand during the various wedding events is a crucial skill for beginners.

No matter what style of wedding ceremony you're attending, there are some standard components shared among them all. If your original plan doesn't quite fit, you should probably read the wedding booklet your client ordered and grill the celebrant with detailed questions about the ceremony's sequence of events.

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Table of Contents

THE PROCESSIONAL

It's always like this. The bridesmaids, flower girls, and page boys will walk down the aisle before the bride and her father make their grand entrance.

Hold the camera in one hand or use a gimbal and stand at the head of the aisle, facing away from the altar. This shot will be angled so that the groom is on the left and the aisle is on the right. Wait in this room until the bride is given to the groom.

As they approach the altar, you should move back and to the left so that they remain in the shot while the pastor or celebrant greets them.

Keep filming the officiant as he gives a brief welcome and asks the bride and groom to light their candles.

READINGS, GOSPEL, AND SERMON

Don't stop recording at any point in the ceremony; in fact, having two cameras will make editing much simpler.

You should double check that you are still recording at regular intervals because accidentally pressing the stop button is possible.

The Gospel and Sermon Readings. The tripod should stay put on the right side, midway between the front row and the altar. Keep the celebrant and the readers in the middle of the frame.

The response psalm is the song that is sung in between the two readings.

The priest will announce that it is time for the marital rite or vows when he has finished his sermon. It's time to stop standing on the tripod and actually do something.

THE VOWS AND RINGS

The click can be edited out of the final product if the camera is removed from the tripod after the Priests have spoken. The wedding vows can now be filmed in one of three distinct ways.

While their backs are turned to the congregation, the couple turns to face the altar and the officiant. The view from this vantage point behind the altar will be of the couple and the congregation through the Priest's peripheral vision.

The two of them are facing each other. You can either hide behind the altar once again, or turn your back on the crowd entirely. Behind the altar is where I usually set up my camera because the reactions of the congregation make for more compelling background footage.

If you're using a two-camera setup, make sure your shots don't overlap by more than 180 degrees. Keeping your back to the group on the groom's side, you can frame the bride without being seen by the other camera if you use a handheld camera. You could also frame the groom with a tripod camera from behind altar and the bride with a handheld camera.

Another option is to have the bride and groom face away from the audience while the celebrant and altar are in the background of both cameras.

Both of them are looking out at the spectators. While not typical, this practise may be widespread in certain religious or ceremonial contexts. When this occurs, the honoree stands to the side, usually off camera to the left or right, with his or her back to the audience, and speaks into a microphone so that everyone can hear.

You can take this shot with your back to the audience at the top of the aisle or further down the aisle to include a portion of the audience in the foreground. However, be wary; they might get up to obstruct your view.

Blend the above three techniques by using two cameras, placing one down the centre aisle on a tripod, and shooting handheld from the grooms' side while focusing primarily on the bride. Some priests would have them face the altar during the first part of the pledges and then the congregation during the exchange of rings. So, be alert.

During the vows, the couple should be facing the celebrant, so be sure to ask the officiant which way they should be facing before the ceremony begins.

In the past, a particular officiant would have the couple face the altar during the first part of the pledge and then turn them around so that they faced the guests during the ring exchange. So be alert and ready for anything.

LIGHTING INDIVIDUAL CANDLES

While doing so, they can either face the congregation or walk around the altar.

They turn their backs on the crowd as they light the candles. Now you have to quickly circle around to the back of the altar in order to film them with the congregation visible in the background.

They will take their seats now. Go with your tripod after filming this. When facing the altar, the right side is the groom's side, so that's where the tripod needs to go.

If you want to cut out the celebrant's speech, you should set up your camera on a tripod before he or she begins speaking.

LIGHTING CENTRE CANDLE

The exchange of vows has concluded, but the couple is holding hands for the time being. The Priest will then ask them to light the altar's central candle. Like the previous item on the list, this one involves lighting individual candles. If you are only using one camera, you should now return it to its tripod.

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wedding film positioning

THE PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

We use the same camera setup as in the Readings, Gospel, and Sermon above, with the camera back on the tripod and a camera angles of the readers from the pulpit.

Like the previous shot, this one was taken with a tripod and pans around the mothers of the bride and groom. Here, too, you'll have to use the focus puller.

COVERAGE

The part of the Catholic mass where the standard prayers are said has arrived. Incorporating this passage of the mass into a wedding video would be unnecessary. When everyone is mingling and having a good time, wander around and snap candid photographs of the guests and little moments like the bride and groom holding hands.

If you only had one camera, you could also take some shots from the back of the church looking up the aisle at the couple with a long lens, as well as some wide-angle shots of the entire scene.

When editing, these shots are especially useful for covering up things like camera zooms. This will give the impression that the video was shot with much more than one camera, elevating the production value and credibility.

COMMUNION AND COMMUNION REFLECTION

You will want to use your tripod to film these from behind. Only the communion will be used in any edited documentaries. The introspective piece will be delivered from the pulpit, making its impact moderate. Please be aware that there may be clapping at the conclusion of this reading.

You can either stand in the aisle approaching the couple as they walk down the aisle, or you can walk backwards down the church, depending on the photographer's preference. You can either stand at the end of the aisle and let them walk towards you while you pull-focus, or you can both try to shoot it in the same way and end up in each other's shots.

You'll need the tripod for the next step below, so make sure you get it to the back of the church before the walk down the aisle begins.

THE RECEIVING LINE

Guests will form a receiving line here as they leave the ceremony to offer their best wishes to the happy couple. Don't change the lens, so that the couple is on one side of the frame and the guests are on the other.

People have a knack of blocking your camera's view, so you may need to raise the tripod up high. This type of shot is typically reserved for the droning documentary cut. It's the only chance you'll have to capture every attendee on camera.

When this is over, you can start filming the couple as they interact with guests outside the church, ride away in the bridal car, pose for pictures, and finally enter the reception venue.

ENTRANCE INTO THE BALLROOM

Once everyone has been seated, the wait staff can start taking food orders. At this time, the groom and bride can take a break from the festivities and enjoy some alone time.

They're knocking on the door now; where do you plan on standing? Keep to one side, with your back to the doors. Once the doors have opened and the names have been called, let them walk past you while you keep them in the frame and then try to join them in their seats. That's how easy it is.

If you don't want to get caught off guard, find out from the manager in advance how he plans to get the VIPs to the head table. Use a wide-angle lens and stay within 8-10 feet to capture them.

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CUTTING THE CAKE

Very little thought is required for this. Simple present yourself to them. There may be a large number of guests crowding around you as they all try to get the perfect photo. Depending on the service they purchased, the photographer may have already left.

So, send the couple this way to get the pictures you and your guests want. There was a kiss, a close-up of the knife used to cut the cake, and an opposite shot of the guests crowding around the couple to get their picture taken.

SPEECHES

Regarding audio, this is the 2nd most crucial moment of the ceremony. Do not begin these without first making sure everything has been thoroughly tested.

One camera, if available, should be positioned in front of centre point of the head table. This is helpful because it eliminates the need to shift attention during the presentation.

To avoid having to watch a single, static wide shot of everyone speaking, use a zoom lens to quickly zoom in when the mic is passed around, and then crop the zoom out later in post-production.

Take brief, unremarkable close-ups of a few guests and everyone at the head table just before and after the speech. These will be used to conceal the edit's zooms.

It's much simpler when you have two cameras. Set up the B-camera in the middle as described above, and then move around with the A-camera to get a variety of shots.

placement for wedding videos

FIRST DANCE

If you're going to use a gimbal, this is the greatest quality you can get. It gives the finished film a dynamic wow factor. It's possible that things will get crowded and bumpy if the guests decide to join in. You should have both the gimbal and a second wide-angle camera on a tripod for a documentary edit so that you can sync them in post-production.

GUESTS DANCING

A tripod that allows you to shoot over people's heads is an essential piece of equipment for any documentary editor. Elevate the camera so that it overlooks the edge of the dance floor. Without a second camera, you'll need to cover up your zooming in and out by panning the shot.

This is tricky and rarely produces pleasing results; a second camera mounted on a gimbal or tripod and equipped with a longer lens is a much better solution. 

STAY FAST WHILE CARRYING AS LITTLE GEAR AS POSSIBLE

Nothing too out of the ordinary happens on the early hours of a wedding. The groom and his pals relax, while the bride and her attendants primp. From then on, you'll be on the go right up until the end of the wedding. It's safer for your shoulders and back if you put the heavy bag down. Make sure you're only toting around the essentials.

Having access to every lens type at once is useless. You can run around with ease while carrying a camera and two lenses. Have some spare batteries and memory cards already formatted.

The worst possible thing would be to have to tell the bride and groom to hold off on throwing the bouquet even though your camera's batteries had run out. I personally witnessed this phenomenon. In other words, don't act like that. Find a power source and set up a battery charging station, if necessary.

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ALWAYS CAPTURE THE TRADITIONAL WEDDING SHOTS

You should get the traditional wedding shots even if you feel the urge to try something new on the big day. Trying new things is a great way to find your voice, but remember that the cake cutting, first dance, and vows are the things that all couples really care about. Get those awesome transition shots after you've made sure the essentials are taken care of.

KEEP THE CAMERA STABLE

There must be stabilisation. Trying to complete this task with just your hands won't work. Make sure you can easily switch between your support equipment, whether that's a slider, shoulder rig, glide cam, tripod, or monopod. Having a universal quick release plate allows you to quickly switch between different pieces of equipment while on the move.

Even though tripods are indispensable for the ceremony itself, they often become an inconvenience when used in other situations. There won't be much room to spread out in if the whole bridal party, plus the hairstylists,  makeup artists and plus their families are crammed into a small hotel room. You can keep shooting as long as you have access to a monopod or glidecam.

SHOOT FROM THE FRONT

Before the big day, the wedding couple put in a lot of thought into the details of the ceremony. Take a picture of the ceremony's front before it begins. Because of this, you can include the entire wedding and highlight the special touches the groom and bride planned.

When the wedding begins, position yourself so that you can see the groom and the bride as they stand side by side with their attendants. To take these photos for the happy couple, you'll need to position yourself so that you're facing the front of the wedding location.

MOVE BEHIND THE CEREMONY

Lighting can be a problem for the photographs you want to take at many ceremony locations. This is especially important if you plan on having your ceremony outdoors, as shadows cast by the sun can make your couple's faces look unattractive.

When the lighting is poor, try shooting from behind the ceremony. Position behind the altar, in which the sun is less likely to be obtrusive, and you'll have a better chance of getting a shot that includes the happy couple and maybe even the officiant.

STAND ABOVE THE CEREMONY

Make use of a vantage point or elevated area if doing so is permitted by the venue. If the building you're visiting has a balcony that you can use to take pictures from, this will come in very handy.

From a greater height, you can better show off the beautiful architecture of the setting, which is especially noticeable indoors. Always seek out a vantage point that is high up when shooting outside. You can take pictures of the venue, the guests, and your couple's reaction to it all for a truly special keepsake.

SHOOT FROM THE SIDE

At certain points in the ceremony, you'll need to move to a more off-center position if you want to get any decent shots. There are shots of the ceremony site, the guests, and the guests' reactions. It can also come in handy if the lighting is particularly harsh as the bride, groom, and wedding party make their way down the aisle.

The photographer can also stand to one side of the ceremony and shoot the groom and his groomsmen from behind, and then switch to the other side to shoot the bride and her bridesmaids from behind.

where stand during a wedding shoot

Don't forget to have a professional wedding photography editing service go over your images from the ceremony to ensure uniformity before delivering them to your clients.

CAPTURE A LOWER ANGLE

Taking pictures from a lower vantage point is one way to get some interesting shots of the ceremony. While the couple is standing at the altar, you can take pictures from the opposite end of the aisle. This gives you a fresh perspective on the ceremony and records the finer points from that vantage point. This photo provides you with more options when showcasing your couple's portraits.

In addition, if you're shooting outdoors, stooping down will prevent any unflattering shadows from falling on your newlyweds as they take their vows.

STAND AT THE AISLE END

Take pictures from all directions as the bride and her attendants make their way down the aisle. You can stand at the head of the aisle while your backup shooter snaps photos of them stepping out of the limo or building. It's customary for guests to move to a different location on the dance floor as the married couple, groom, and wedding party leave the ceremony and head to the reception.

DOCUMENT THE COUPLE'S PERSPECTIVE

The groom and bride have their undivided attention when they are standing at the altar. They're facing each other, so you'll need to change your perspective to get their expressions. To get a picture of the bride, you should start with the groom and shoot over his shoulder. Then you can get the groom's expressions by shooting over the bride's shoulder. Not only do you get to show the bride and groom as they really were on their wedding day, but you also get to take photos from a variety of perspectives and show how they felt at different times.

Photographing the ceremony from a variety of perspectives allows you to capture the most meaningful parts of the day for the happy couple.

CONCLUSION

If you're looking for the ideal wedding venue in Melbourne, look no further than Vines of the Yarra Valley. It's imperative that newcomers know where to stand throughout the various wedding ceremonies.

Keep the tripod in its current location, to the right of the centre point between the first row and the altar. The congregation makes for more interesting background footage, so I usually position my camera behind the altar. The couple faces the altar and the officiant while their backs are turned to the guests.

You can either turn your back on the crowd or take cover behind the altar again. You should put each camera back on its tripod if you've been using more than one. If the tripod is to be placed in front of the altar, it should be set up on the right side, which is the side the groom will be standing on.

Here you can locate the ideal company to create a wedding video for you. These shots, when edited together, will give the impression that a large number of cameras were used to create the video.

This is the sort of shot you'd see in a tedious documentary. It's your one and only shot at getting a complete crowd shot. Shoot from 8 to 10 feet away with a wide-angle lens and the VIPs won't even look like they're in the frame.

This is the highest quality achievable with a camera during the first dance when using a gimbal. It's important to get close-ups of everyone at the table before and after the speech.

The best option is to use a second camera with a longer lens that is mounted on a gimbal or tripod. Raise the camera high enough so that it looks down on the dance floor from above.

Even if you want to take a unique photo at your wedding, you should still get the classics. While tripods are essential during the ceremony itself, they can be a nuisance in other settings. Face the entrance of the venue where the wedding is taking place.

If the light is too dim, you should either stand behind the altar or up above the proceedings. When shooting outside, it's best to do so from a lofty vantage point. There will be times during the ceremony when you should move to a less central location.

One way to get unique photographs is to take them from a lower vantage point. Get your wedding photos edited by a pro.

Review the pictures you took at the ceremony. Watch as the bride and her attendants walk down the aisle from their spot at the front of the church. You can take pictures of them as they walk down the aisle while standing at the head of the line. As soon as the ceremony is over, it is customary for guests to switch spots on the dance floor.

Content Summary

  • Understanding where to stand during the various wedding events is a crucial skill for beginners.
  • Keep the celebrant and the readers in the middle of the frame.
  • It's time to stop standing on the tripod and actually do something.
  • While their backs are turned to the congregation, the couple turns to face the altar and the officiant.
  • The view from this vantage point behind the altar will be of the couple and the congregation through the Priest's peripheral vision.
  • Keeping your back to the group on the groom's side, you can frame the bride without being seen by the other camera if you use a handheld camera.
  • You could also frame the groom with a tripod camera from behind altar and the bride with a handheld camera.
  • Another option is to have the bride and groom face away from the audience while the celebrant and altar are in the background of both cameras.
  • During the vows, the couple should be facing the celebrant, so be sure to ask the officiant which way they should be facing before the ceremony begins.
  • In the past, a particular officiant would have the couple face the altar during the first part of the pledge and then turn them around so that they faced the guests during the ring exchange.
  • Now you have to quickly circle around to the back of the altar in order to film them with the congregation visible in the background.
  • If you want to cut out the celebrant's speech, you should set up your camera on a tripod before he or she begins speaking.
  • Incorporating this passage of the mass into a wedding video would be unnecessary.
  • You can either stand in the aisle approaching the couple as they walk down the aisle, or you can walk backwards down the church, depending on the photographer's preference.
  • You'll need the tripod for the next step below, so make sure you get it to the back of the church before the walk down the aisle begins.
  • Don't change the lens, so that the couple is on one side of the frame and the guests are on the other.
  • So, send the couple this way to get the pictures you and your guests want.
  • There was a kiss, a close-up of the knife used to cut the cake, and an opposite shot of the guests crowding around the couple to get their picture taken.
  • Take brief, unremarkable close-ups of a few guests and everyone at the head table just before and after the speech.
  • This is tricky and rarely produces pleasing results; a second camera mounted on a gimbal or tripod and equipped with a longer lens is a much better solution.
  • You can keep shooting as long as you have access to a monopod or glidecam.
  • Take a picture of the ceremony's front before it begins.
  • When the lighting is poor, try shooting from behind the ceremony.
  • At certain points in the ceremony, you'll need to move to a more off-center position if you want to get any decent shots.
  • Taking pictures from a lower vantage point is one way to get some interesting shots of the ceremony.
  • While the couple is standing at the altar, you can take pictures from the opposite end of the aisle.
  • It's customary for guests to move to a different location on the dance floor as the married couple, groom, and wedding party leave the ceremony and head to the reception.
  • To get a picture of the bride, you should start with the groom and shoot over his shoulder.
  • Then you can get the groom's expressions by shooting over the bride's shoulder.
  • Photographing the ceremony from a variety of perspectives allows you to capture the most meaningful parts of the day for the happy couple.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

After shooting roughly 50 weddings in our wedding photography career and consulting with some other wedding photographers we know, you can expect roughly 50-100 images per hour of shooting time.
The short and simple answer is ~100 per hour of shooting or roughly 800 photos for 8 hour wedding day coverage. As we explained, this figure is not some industry standard that all wedding photographers have to stick to.
On average, couples tend to include one to three photos per page—for a 20-page wedding album that translates to somewhere between 10 and 60 photos.
Most photographers take between four and six weeks to share your photos, though some may turn them around as quickly as two weeks and others take two months or so. Before hiring your photographer, be sure to read his or her contract, which should specify a range of how long you should expect to wait for your photos.
The time required to edit a photo varies based on the genre of photography and requests of the client. To maintain a sustainable workflow, it generally takes around 10 minutes to edit a street, landscape or product shot, around 20 minutes for a basic portrait, 1.5 hour for a retouched portrait.
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