You might imagine that in order to be a great wedding photographer you just have to be good with a camera. The clue is in the name isn’t it? Photographer. Well, you might be surprised.
Of course taking great photos is the major part of the job, but what separates great wedding photographers from run-of-the-mill ones is the other attributes that they bring to the party. I was talking to some other wedding photographers the other day and we all agreed that these are the 3 key skills that every photographer needs in their armoury before tackling their first wedding morning…
1. How to tie a cravat
Cravats aren’t an everyday accessory anymore, even though they are a pretty dapper addition to more formal dress. Because it’s been a while since they’ve graced the cover of GQ most blokes aren’t overly familiar with how they operate. Yes, you are given a quick demonstration by the natty bloke in the suit shop who makes it look easy, but then it comes to the morning of the wedding and you find that your stylish cravat looks less Mr Darcy and more Mr Bean. So in desperation the man of the moment turns to the resident wedding expert: the photographer.
Wedding photographers must know how to tie a cravat because they’ve been to a wedding before and know how they work, right? So Mr or Mrs Professional Photographer, it’s best if you are au fait with the fine art of tying a cravat. Don’t think you’ll get away with it just because you’re going to the bride in the morning either. There’s every chance that her father will be there without even the support of the other groomsmen, and so he may well turn to you!
Here’s a video you might find useful:
2. How to pin on the buttonholes and corsages
When was the last time you decided to complement your outfit with a nice flower attached to your lapel? Did you stop to think – which side should this go on? Because there are rules you know, and you wouldn’t want to look silly by wearing your decorative flower on the wrong side of your jacket. But who can you ask, last minute on a wedding day? And how do you attach the flipping thing anyway? Oh look, the wedding photographer’s here. He’ll know!
Buttonholes – these are worn by the gentlemen on their right lapel, stem pointing downwards.
Corsages – worn by the ladies; usually the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom. They are traditionally worn on the right side with the stems pointing upwards, but these days they can be worn pretty much wherever the lady in question would prefer.
As for how to attach them:
3. Lacing or buttoning the dress
Another job that sounds simple but in reality can be way more complicated than you’d imagine. Lacing a dress can be particularly tricky to get right. Just getting the lace through the eyelets can be time consuming. I picked up a great tip at a recent wedding when I saw the bridesmaid hook a safety pin through each end of the lace and then pass the pin through the eyelet, thus dragging the lace in behind.
In terms of actually lacing up, make sure that you start from the top in order that the excess lace can be tied off and tucked in at the bottom. Again, here’s a quick video for a practical demonstration.
If the dress has buttons then a crochet hook (or button hook) is absolutely invaluable.
There you have it – three essential bits of knowledge that all wedding photographers should have at their fingertips on the morning of a wedding. Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below!