Monday, June 15, 2015
As a wedding photographer, one of the most frustrating parts of my job in recent years are the guests who also want to photograph the wedding. It’s a nuisance, and one that I could do without. Still, I put up with it. And the reason I do is simple: If I were attending a wedding as a guest? There’s no way I wouldn't bring my camera and take pictures. I would be conscientious about it, though. And I would make sure I was doing it in a way that wasn’t distracting to the couple, other guests and the professional who was hired to make the official wedding pictures, most especially. Here are a few ideas on how to help document the wedding day in pictures without getting in the way:
Don’t take the same pictures as the professional.
I wish I had a nickel for every guest who stood in the aisle in the way of my shot of the bride and groom exiting the ceremony. The point is, taking the same pictures as the professional is overkill and boring. Your pictures won’t be as good, and there are so many other opportunities at a wedding to make pictures that are personal to you and meaningful to the couple. And I’m not talking about the selfies with all of your besties, either. Look at the details, for instance. The couple chose these details for you to notice. It could be the wedding colors, flowers, stationary or some touch that was especially creative and made you stop and take a second look. One couple I photographed used a custom-made surfboard as a guest book — a novel idea and a fun picture. Photographing the details as you come across them will never interrupt the proceedings, and your friends will appreciate that you were thoughtful enough to photograph the details.
Photograph moments the professional didn't.
I’m reminded that professional photographers at any wedding have limits. They can’t be everywhere all of the time. They need time to move from location to location, time to take a break and eat. They may have been hired to photograph only certain portions of the day. But a guest? Guests are almost always in on the “action" when the photographer isn’t there. Think about those flower girls and ring-bearers who are usually playing in the dressing room. That’s a perfect opportunity for the guest-as-photographer. Go ahead and take that picture. Odds are good that the small moments that barely get noticed on the day-of are going to be remembered and remarked upon. Your friends getting married will appreciate that you took the time to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment that wasn't documented by anyone else.
Interview the people around you using video. Record their well-meaning thoughts for the couple on their wedding day. Bonus tip: After the wedding, edit the video, post to youtube and send the link to the couple as a wedding gift. They will cherish the messages from friends and family recorded by you. You can do this with people at the table you’re sitting at or when mixing with friends during a cocktail hour. Try it out. It’s fun to do and better than one more video of the first dance or cake-cutting.
The Unplugged Wedding
Recently, I've started seeing notes and signage asking guests not to take pictures, but rather to unplug themselves from their camera phones. Here’s the thing: When someone in the background of a wedding picture is checking their phone and not watching the proceedings, it shows poorly. The idea is for guests to be a part of the experience — to pay attention. These signs usually mention that a professional photographer is attending just for the purpose of documenting, and that it’s more enjoyable for everyone when you let them do their job and you do yours. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. If you have nothing to add to the wedding day by bringing your camera, or you can’t resist checking Facebook or Twitter during the proceedings, then leave your phone at home. It won’t be missed. — Sean (this post was first published as a column in the Colorado Springs Independent blog here)
Friday, June 05, 2015
Here's a list of the best places to get married in Colorado Springs. All of these locations host ceremonies and receptions. If you're looking for both church and reception hall, then I have suggested a church pairing for each of these Colorado Springs wedding locations. At the bottom of this post additional locations are listed that are also really wonderful. Click on the name of any location for more detailed wedding information. Thanks, and I hope you find this helpful! — Sean
Garden of the Gods Club
One of my absolute favorite wedding locations is the Garden of the Gods Club. Its spectacular beauty is an uninterrupted view of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. In this wedding photograph, above, Mamie and Nick walk together in front of a stunning landscape. This location is perfect for small to mid-size weddings and is centrally located. With a larger wedding (200+) ask about a tented event on the south lawn where this photograph was made. Hands down the best view in the city! Suggested church pairing: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
There really isn't anything quite like The Broadmoor. It is a AAA Five Diamond and Five Star Resort with luxury accommodations and unbelievable service. Think first-class spa, a half-dozen of the best restaurants you will ever enjoy, three 18-hole championship golf courses and a handful of beautiful settings for a wedding in Colorado Springs. The Lakeside Terrace is one of my favorites ceremony locations. In this wedding photograph, above, Katie and Justin share a moment during their unity sand ceremony on the Lakeside Terrace. Flowers by Design Works. Suggested church pairing: First Christian Church
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is located in the heart of Colorado Springs. It recently underwent a renovation and addition that allowed the Fine Arts Center to become the premier downtown wedding location in Colorado Springs. The museum is known for its architecture and its extensive art collection. It also offers live theater, art programs and it has a wonderful restaurant and bar. In this wedding photograph, above, Caitlin and Emilio enjoy their first dance in the new wing of the museum. A caterer is required. Suggested church pairing: Shove Chapel
The Hillside Gardens is characteristically Colorado! It is both a plant nursery and a wedding location. It offers a ceremony site with a view of Pikes Peak and an outdoor pavilion for caterered receptions. Larry, the owner, has a knack for collecting things and whenever I am there, there is always a new art piece in the garden. Hillside Gardens also sports the best old-truck-turned-into-bar that I know of and plenty of firepits for the evening. It's a great place for a party and for romance. In this wedding photograph, above, Emily and Billy steal a kiss during their Hillside Gardens reception. Suggested church pairing: Any local
Glen Eyrie Castle
The Glen Eyrie Castle is a real discovery. It is an honest-to-goodness castle (now a retreat center) that sits in a secluded valley just a couple miles from downtown Colorado Springs. The castle was built by the founder of the city and is now enjoyed by anyone who would like to visit. The Glen has it all, incredible grounds, friendly service and a stunning sense of the history of Colorado Springs. The Glen Eyrie does not serve alcohol, but I've never attended a wedding there where everyone wasn't having fun. In the wedding photograph, above, Sigrid and Brock enjoy a moment together on the castle grounds prior to their reception. The Rolls Royce is courtesy of DDG Classics. Suggested church pairing: Air Force Academy Chapel
More of the best places to get married in Colorado Springs: Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs School, The Club at Flying Horse, La Foret, The Pinery, Briarhurst Manor, Phantom Canyon, The Cliff House, Spruce Mountain Guest Ranch, Cheyenne Mountain Country Club