Weddings today have changed. It used to be a relatively simple celebration of life event with kisses, hugging, bell ringing, glass clanking, toasts, lots of hoop-a's and mazel-tovs.  It’s a different story today.  Today, they are choreographed epics with Bridezillas and reality show wedding gown failures and Estrogen emotional crack-ups.  On the other side there may be Testosterone emblazoned fighting, the display of lower rear and now frontal body parts, use of poor language and the consumption of alcohol and a few illegal drugs.

With basically bare bulbs, a Graflex and plates, evolving into twin lens reflexes like the Yashica, Rollie, Mamiya and Minolta, I, (WE) somehow managed to cover the event usually based on 120 prints in an album.  That was the past.  Two decades from now those older pictures will still be the same, and the ones taken today will bring comments like "why did we invite those people"?  It's called growing up and many of the wedding couples may not be very mature, influenced by elders also not developed thinkers.

Weddings today, and I have spoken of this in the many articles and seminars, do fall into categories both by the participants and those hired to do the bidding.  If I were to do the structure on a chart it would start with a basic out line as follows;  

Bear in mind this is NOT a condemnation of financial structure but the style points for various general assemblies, and nothing is in stone, I have witnessed some real high-end Weddings where the damages exceeded the actual costs, the retail of the Wedding.  Anything is possible… this is just a guide.


WEALTHY  WEDDINGS are usually: 
Over the top; Traditional; Very Conservative; Hollywood / Photojournalist

Traditional; Conservative; Semi - Hollywood; Semi - Photojournalist

ECONO CLASS WEDDINGS hold the line at:  
Traditional; Unconventional; Conservative and sometimes Bizarre.

BARE-ASS OR THEME WEDDINGS most likely are:  
Hopefully Traditional and Simple; Lots of fun;  Caution Can Be Unpredictable, 
Redneck En-fused; Cro-Magnon, Neanderthal and Warcraft.


  • First, I make a strong point of NOT telling them what to do unless they ask.  You are not the Wedding organizer and when the “ KAA-KAA” hits the electric air flow rotational device (the fan) you do not wish to be standing or stepped in front of the Brides wishes, her mom nor the coordinator. 

  • Your job at the Wedding is to record the event in a pleasing and complimentary way to the participants regardless of how crazy it or they might appear to you. This is especially important in the second phase of the Wedding after the Church ceremony and things lighten up.

  • Second, never get in the way of the proceedings in the Church.  Any unusual rules or regulations should have been discussed at rehearsals or beforehand with the Church leader, Priest or Rabbi.  If I have to, I will study the setup and adjust my game plan to fit the situation.  I am also looking for opportunities for the money maker or unusual shot that could take it over the top simply because we saw something from another angle.

  • Wedding photography is like shooting sports, you are in the moment and redux simply don't exist. It's the reason many don't join this profession and the reason many work with a second shooter or assistant. But the second shooter usually walks in cold and has no priors with the family.

  • Generally I avoid the following:   Weddings at  Religious retreats,  Wiccan,  Druidic rites, and Satanic or S&M worship.  I stay clear and won’t even go there.   I usually forward those requests to someone else. You do not want to get tagged there, unless it’s your bag.  If some of the strange is your bag, you might be able to build a monopoly and thats OK because you are in control and understand different people. I hesitated to use the word weird.

  • I do and have accepted corporate work but I treated it as a Wedding till i established a following with them. Get it in writing, get a deposit, do it by the book... enough said.  That’s it folks for the more unpopular and unconventional weddings and events and we’ll look at more conventional types.

  • We live in a world of cultural difference and nothing shows that premise better than the Wedding ceremony which you, you lucky devil, have been retained to perform at.  Those folks have selected you to be the court scribe on the most important day of their lives.  In the old days, going as far back as the Neo-Babylonian days  the court scribe recorded all the events and rulings and changes the Kings, Judges and others made. 

  • The scribe was fairly safe since many could not read or write in those days.  If he did screw up, boiling oil fixed things. If you screw up, the results could vary so the point is the more you know the less you will not know when it counts.  Here are a couple of clues as to what to look out for. And I mean no harm or inference to anyone, just telling it like it is or in my case was. One has to respect the difference and cultural beliefs people have.