As a wedding photographer, it’s your job to capture every fleeting moment of the couple’s wedding day, but the wedding recessional is one of the most important. The recessional marks the end of the ceremony when the newlyweds exit the ceremony venue as a married couple. It is a poignant moment of joy and celebration for both bride and groom, as they are greeted with cheers and applause from their loved ones. As a photographer, capturing this moment in its entirety requires planning, preparation, and a little bit of patience.
Preparing for the Recessional
As with every aspect of wedding photography, preparation is key. A great place to start is by speaking to the wedding planner or the officiant before the ceremony begins. They can provide you with important information such as the planned recessional route or any restrictions that might affect your shooting angle. Knowing the planned route of the recessional allows you to plan your shooting position so that you can capture the couple’s faces as they exit for the first time as a married couple.
Scout the reception area beforehand, and see if you can find an elevated position to capture the couple as they exit the ceremony space. If there’s no elevated position, you can try organizing guests to make an aisle for the couple to walk through. This creates space for the newlyweds and also creates a clear and unobstructed shot for you.
Arrive early to capture the set-up of the ceremony space. Take advantage of this time to take test shots to get a feel for the light, and make a note of any exposure adjustments you might have to make. The recessional is a quick event and will only last a few minutes. So, knowing the specifics of the lighting beforehand will help you achieve the right exposure, ISO, and shutter speed for capturing amazing shots.
Set up your camera to capture the moment. A great idea is to have two cameras with different lenses, one for a wide shot and another for a detailed shot. A telephoto lens will give you a tight shot of the couple, while a wide-angle lens can capture the entire scene. Two cameras make it possible to switch between the shot types easily without missing a moment of the recessional.
Capturing the Perfect Moment
The recessional is a moment of pure joy and celebration as the newlyweds exit the venue. It’s your job to capture this event in all its glory. This can be a tricky shot to capture – the excitement of the moment can cause people to move around quickly and unpredictably. You have to be quick on your feet, both physically and mentally, to capture the perfect shot.
During the recessional, take special care to pay attention to the crowd as they cheer and make noise. Don’t limit yourself to just the bride and groom. It’s essential to capture their reactions, as well as those of the guests. These moments will produce some trademark images of the couple’s wedding day, as they are heartfelt and candid, capturing the essence of the occasion.
The recessional typically takes 3-5 minutes, so you need to capture as much as possible in this short timeframe. The newlyweds are walking towards you, so it’s an ideal opportunity to capture the couple as they look at each other and smile for the first time as a married couple. You can also use this opportunity to take portrait-style shots that can be used as keepsakes for the couple.
Tips and Tricks
The wedding recessional can be a challenging event to capture. Here are some tips and tricks that can help you take the perfect shot:
– Avoid using flash during the recessional. The flash can be distracting and can also make the couple uncomfortable. Try to make use of natural lighting, which is more flattering and can produce better images.
– Be discrete. Try to blend in with the crowd so that you can capture the perfect candid shot. The more invisible you are, the more natural the wedding recessional shots will be.
– Keep your eye on the bride and groom. As a photographer, your main priority is the bride and groom. Ensure you capture their expressions properly so that you can produce a ton of photos that capture their happiness and love.
– Be patient. The recessional is fast-paced and features a lot of unpredictable movements. It’s important to have patience while waiting for the perfect shot to present itself.
The wedding recessional is a one-time event that you can’t afford to miss. Capturing the perfect shot requires preparation, patience, and creativity. Scout the area beforehand, set up your cameras properly, and stay alert during the event. Keep in mind that the recessional can be fast-paced and unpredictable, so be ready to adapt to changing situations.
With the right preparation, however, you’ll capture shots that will be cherished by the couple for years to come. Pay attention to the bridal party, capture the candid reactions of guests, and make use of the natural light. Every wedding photography experience presents its own unique challenges, so stay patient, stay calm, and stay focused on what really matters – telling the story of the couple’s wedding day.