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As I was cleaning out some of my scrapbooking supplies this weekend, I ran across an article in a CreatingKeepsakes magazine (www.CreatingKeepsakes.com) by Candice Stringham (June 2008) that I thought offered great advice on capturing some shots that the event photographer might miss! 

 If you are like me (and Clay!), you take your camera to every wedding you attend!  As a bridesmaid, groomsman or guest, we always like to capture some ‘behind the scenes’ or candid shots of friends and family to remember the special occasion.  At our own wedding, Clay and I had, in addition to our paid professionals, 3 extra cameras snapping away!  Our brother-in-law, Trey (www.TreyCogginsPhotography.com) captured some great shots from a different perspective.  We also utilized my uncle and cousin’s love of photography and received some great shots of our families from different angles and vantage points.  The best part: we got these photos weeks before the professional ones were ready!  Thanks guys!

With all of this in mind (and as you mentally prepare your camera equipment to capture the beauty of the next wedding you attend!), let me make one disclaimer….PLEASE steer clear of the hired professional!  Remember, they are the ones with the responsibility of capturing the couple’s special moments.  Keep a respectful distance and take your amateur portrait shots AFTER the professional is finished getting theirs!  With these things in mind, here are a few of the tips offered in this article…

1.  “Shoot from a different angle” (or vantage point).  If the photographer is taking shots of the couple’s departure from the right side of the church, jump over to the left-hand side!  Capture special events (i.e. garter toss, cake cutting, etc.) from a different side of the room.  Not only will you stay out of the photographer’s way, you might capture an expression or an emotion that might otherwise be missed! 

Photograph taken by Trey Coggins

While Clay and his mom were sharing their mother/son dance, Trey captured this sweet moment with my dad.  It is one of my favorite pictures of the evening! 

2.  “Include the guests”.  The hired professional is going to be very busy trying to capture the happy couple.  Although guests, more than likely, will be included in many of these shots, I’m sure the couple doesn’t want to forget who was in attandance on this special day!  Take shots of guests dancing, laughing and enjoying the event! 

3.  “Look for the shots that the professional won’t get.  Photograph guests’ candid moments, table decor, little details and  fun happenings…”  You never know what pictures the photographer has taken and which ones might go unnoticed.  Photographs of flowers, guests, the wedding party, even architectural details of the venues would be a great gift for the newlyweds.  While our hired professional was photographing the groomsmen, Trey was a great sport and got some super fun, goofy shots of the girls! 

Photograph taken by Trey Coggins

And one I added that I feel is extremely important!!

Be respectful of the rules of the venue.  Some churches and venues do not allow photography from anyone other than the event professional.  Others do not allow flash.  PLEASE remember, when photographing inside a venue, to turn off the sound on your camera!  I’m sure the couple does not want ‘beeps’ in their wedding video from continuous camera usage!  Do your research before the event if you plan to take some photographs.  Check with the bride or check out the venue’s website for photography rules and regulations!