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[Q of the week] – getting in there

By April 5, 2012Storytelling

a little while ago we got a question from Perspectives Photo + Cinema about how close we get to our couples during their vows. it was in reference to a film we did not too long ago, a pop-up wedding in Vegas. they said:

Wow, you guys are right there during the vows huh. I understand that shorter focal lengths bring the audience into the film as opposed to just observing it but how does the couple and the guests feel about you being so close the them?

Ps: I’m loving the use of audio you capture on the day! Gold.

first off, that’s exactly why we get in close. shorter focal lengths DO bring the audience in and make them feel like they’re a part of the event. small movements are exaggerated which makes emotions pop off the screen and make you really FEEL them…

i was re-watching the film a few minutes ago to pay attention to our proximity during their vows, and i totally got lost in the story. i had to watch it a 2nd time to actually notice the “technical”!

k. back to the question. how does the couple feel about us being so close?

does it look like they care? do they ever look into the camera during their vows? do they look uncomfortable? or are they totally in the moment, in their own little world, enjoying every second? that’s the fast answer. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

first off, we become really close (emotionally) with our couples. it’s really personal, and most of the time we become friends for life. when you have this kind of relationship, it really doesn’t matter. if you’re just a friend with a camera, does it matter how close you are? normally, the maid of honour is just a couple of feet away from the bride during the vows. does that make her feel uncomfortable? probably not, because they’re good friends. that’s the kind of relationship we aim to have.

secondly, most of the time, our couples don’t even notice us there. this comes back to them being comfortable with us, yes. but it’s not just that they’re ok having us close, they’re so comfortable with it that they don’t even notice a lot of the time! we had a bride come up to P once after their same-day edit and ask “how did you get those shots of me during makeup? i don’t even remember you there!”. P responded “how can you not remember? i was a foot away from your face the whole time!” ย “oh yeah. you’re right!”.

what about the audience? well, we’re not as close with them. chances are, we’re meeting most of them for the first time the day of. but, 1. most of them see how hard we’re working and they see that we’re not jerks getting in the way. we’re pros who are doing everything they need to tell the story. and 2. are we there for the audience or the couple? everything we do is in the best interest of the couple. and if that means irritating a guest from time to time, that’s a price we pay for creating something that the couple will cherish forever.

having said that, we always try to be discrete. we don’t want to make it about us.


good thing lil’j is small enough to hide behind, well, anything! she makes it a breeze to ELIMINATE HER!!!!!!!

Amina Moreau

About Amina Moreau

Knowing the impact a well told story can make, Amina's passion for psychology, storytelling, and helping others comes to fruition right here. Driven by a relentless pursuit of meaning and impact, she is steadfastly committed to making every project truly purposeful. Follow Amina on Twitter


  • I’m like Joyce when we’re filming. Easy to hide behind someone when almost everyone else is taller ๐Ÿ™‚ Great share – thanks for the info. Taking this approach more and more with our couples has helped our experience as much as theirs – they’re having just as much fun (and we’re getting these great shots). We often have couples wanting to get together (and we do) long after their wedding has passed. It’s a win win.

  • bernardlau says:

    Anything for the shot! Though, still be careful as u dont want to have a bad rep with other photogs or guests in getting in the way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I often hide behind the groomsmen too! But I doubt I’m as lil as j is

    • Lil'J says:

      we certainly have a reputation for doing what it takes to get the shot but when it comes to something like this it’s also easy to get a game plan together with the photographers. for example if we want to get close during the vows we can plan for everyone to step back say right after the processional when things are a bit slower to get that wide shot.ย 

      i’ll confess though, sometimes i get too excited and forget about the plan – sorry Amina ๐Ÿ™‚

      • amina says:

        i second what lil’j said about making a game plan or “choreographing” as i prefer to call it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        but it’s not just about other people hiding. it’s also about moving around so you can “hide” people via changing your angle. hand signals work great too. and it’s real easy to flip justin the bird regardless of whether he’s in the way or not… ย ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I guess I’ll throw in my 2 cents being the groom of the wedding in question and being in cinema as well. I honestly had very little “sense” of them being so close. As a bride/groom you really get all tangled up in the emotion and everything around gets a little tunnel visioned and really no longer matters. When I was able to go back and watch the film I was surprised as to how close the shots were and I truthfully do not remember them being in that close.ย 

    We received our images from Justin and Mary about a week ago and they got some killer shots with not member of the SM crew in sight. You could definitely sense the respect between ย photographer/cinematographer and the fact they’ve all worked together before probably didn’t hurt. The experience overall has really challenged me to be more confident in getting the shot needed to tell the story as well as build better relationships with the photographers and couples to set that expectation from the beginning, and let’s face it, at 6’2″ I’m not hiding behind anybody ๐Ÿ™

  • amina says:

    i second what lil’j said about coordinating or “choreographing” as i prefer to call it. ย ๐Ÿ™‚
    but it’s not just about other people hiding. it’s also about moving around so you can “hide” people via changing your angle. hand signals work great too. and it’s real easy to flip justin the bird regardless of whether he’s in the way or not… ย ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cora says:

    As the bride of the couple pictured, I can say that we never even noticed the proximity of the team.. I mean, sure, I knew they’d be close, that they’d come in to grab the shot, but ultimately, I’m in tunnel vision, as is everyone else at our wedding! Ultimately, you know that when you work with the SM crew you’re working with folks that you WANT to capture those intimate moments ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Perspectives Photo + Cinema says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and answering my question guys. ย It’s great to read the bride and groom’s side of things too ย – ย Jared.