Are you a wedding photographer? People want you there, but they don’t want you there, kind of at the same time. They do want you there taking the pictures, but you’re the person who’s there trying to capture their happy memories. The happy memory that they want of you is mainly going to consist of you being the great person who gave them fantastic pictures that they’ll treasure forever.
As the wedding photographer, you should try to make sure that you’re in the background as much as possible. Think of yourself as an observer of the events, which is what you should be one way or another. You should also try to make sure that you’re able to get a sense of everything and all of your surroundings. People who are videotaping the weddings are going to have an easier time with this part of the process, of course, because they have to do this anyway. The people who are taking still pictures have to remind themselves to be present and yet out of sight and out of mind.
The way that you make yourself present but invisible is all going to depend on the location of the wedding. If you’re in an indoor area that has big balconies or something like that, then it’s going to be much easier for you to somehow find a way to stay out of sight and out of mind. Standing on the stairs or some other location that is going to be largely empty will usually do the trick. You can also find it easy to do that sort of thing if you’re in pretty much any indoor area, even if it is only one story high. Buildings have a lot of their own natural hiding places that seem to work for everyone else.
It’s a little harder to stay out of sight and out of mind when you’re in an area that is open, which will happen if you’re trying to photograph a wedding outdoors. You’re still going to have to stand in a way that makes you less of a part of the procession and more an observer. This isn’t because people have any negative view towards wedding photographers inherently. However, people are going to want them to feel as if they are just part of everything else and not that wedding photographers are in the group. Weddings are about the friends and families of the new couple, and ultimately, that’s how they’re going to need to be in practice.
Fortunately, you don’t have to work that hard to be invisible. You’re just going to need to make sure that you don’t draw too much attention to yourself, and you’re going to be fine. If you try to only take pictures when the moment calls for it and you aren’t constantly calling people in for the sake of posing, it’s going to be that much easier for you. People accept the wedding photographer as an important part of the reception and the wedding, but very much the person who is recording the proceedings and not a part of the procession. As such, you’re not going to have to hide or go too far out of your way to stay in the ceremony but invisible.
None of this should make you feel like ‘the help.’ This isn’t about you being the help. This is about making sure that you’re able to get the best pictures. Being involved in the ceremony too much is going to stop that from happening. You’ll be ‘off-duty’ on plenty of other weddings. On your working weddings, you have to be present but invisible.