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If shooting a wedding by yourself, which side do you capture the couple walking down the aisle?

crossover37crossover37 Member
edited February 2013 in wedding photography
When shooting a wedding without a second shooter, you can be on the side, front, or back when the couple walks down the aisle. Which side do you choose because if you choose to shoot the shot of them walking down the aisle towards the pastor then that means you can't get them from the front unless you run.

Which approach would be the most efficient? This situation can also be related to the kiss and bouquet toss too. Close-up, wide angle, vertical or horizontal? It's a split second thing.


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited February 2013
    Personally, if by yourself:

    Aisle: I'd position myself around 3/4 of the way in, but from the side, then the moment they pass, step out into the aisle and shoot from behind like I do if no assistant.

    If you are shooting from the side of the aisle and not in the centre with people behind you, it gives them a chance to get shots, I am mindful of that.

    Orientation: I generally stick with horizontal, coming down if by myself to include guests. Back shots of her, I switch to vertical to get the full length, and step out into the middle of aisle to get a perfect 'square on' shot, even kneeling down for a great perspective, ignoring people behind me for a few seconds until I am sure I got 3-4 in the bag.

    Kiss shot: 70-200mm, back down the aisle, probably around 3-4 pews back from them to get a decent wide shot at 70mm, but then you can also zoom in tighter at 'the kiss moment'.

    Be ready though, some are 'pecks', and over so quick you wonder what the hell happened; others are long drawn out. Once I know I have grabbed a wide shot, I zoom in, and lock focus with AF-On button, holding it down, then I can just fire away without having to wait/get focus via shutter button, just press the shutter a few times.

    It's also important to try to get the reaction after the kiss, keep the camera pointed at them, as sometimes they laugh, or if lucky she will cry. Or, they will kiss again. Some switched on priests/celebrants will also tell the couple [if you are really lucky] to 'kiss again, the photographer missed it' which will cause a little laugh, then a 'laughing kiss' I call it.

    Orientation: Vertical, switch to horizontal only if time. It's all about them in 'that' moment.

    Bouquet shot: Wide, slightly from the side a bit back, locking focus on the bride, grab a shot as she tosses it up and over her head so she is in focus but ladies are in background, then, if quick enough swing camera to the women in background zooming in as you do and take a shot as they scramble for the bouquet. Oh, make sure you have plenty of headroom, for the flowers in flight if you are able.

    It takes practice, but as long as you get that first shot, because by the time your shutter has fired, the flowers will be in flight and the ladies at the back more than likely have their arms outstretched anyway so the 'story' is there.

    Orientation: Horizontal. Vertical cuts off too much, unless you are in front to the side of the bride so you can see majority of the ladies at back and want to make sure of flowers in the air.

    Of course you lose depth of field with that, so would need to decide which is important, the toss or the catch. I'd go with toss, and hope I am quick enough to slightly alter focus point onto ladies at back and get shot.

  • Thank you so much Trev. Great advice indeed!
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    You need to stand across from the groom, so that you can get his expression ... as well as photograph the bride coming down the aisle.

    I prefer not to stand at the top, but a few rows down. But you can not stand on the same side as the groom .. because then you *will* block his view of the bride as you step slightly into the aisle.
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