Can You Say Awkward? Easily Avoidable Wedding Photography Mistakes

September 18th 2013 2:27 PM

As a professional wedding photographer I’m always working with different people. Wedding coordinators, DJ’s, videographers, officiants; and it’s always different from wedding to wedding. One thing we have a policy to do is communicate clearly with everyone that we work with the day of the wedding. The reason? Well, we are going to get to that.

In the video below we see the officiant, seemingly out of nowhere, tell the Photographer and Videographer to stop taking photos and to stand somewhere else. The tragic thing about this video is how horrified the couple is at the interruption of their once in a lifetime wedding ceremony.

Can You Say Awkward?

I think we can all agree that the officiant was incredibly unprofessional in how the situation was dealt with. While he kept stating that the event was not about the photography, his absurd outburst did indeed make it all about him.

However, there is a little tip we have to avoid these situations. We have often worked with officiants similar to this one. The key is to figure that out prior to the ceremony. So, before each ceremony we communicate with the officiant to make sure we follow their specific rules. If an officiant is very dramatic and sensitive in that discussion, we know to be extra careful.

When it comes to photography, we make it known to our clients that we follow whatever the officiant or the church dictates. If the church/officiant doesn’t allow flash, or doesn’t allow us to shoot a specific angle, we keep the clients informed. If the clients want flash, or want a specific angle, it is always better they take it up with the church/officiant directly.

That being said, our hearts go out to the photographers, videographers and the couple, because this reaction was definitely unwarranted and something that will probably be remembered over everything else in the ceremony.

Cha Portrait 2015.jpg7


I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Comments [176]

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  1. 1

    This guy was out of line, not only was he ignorantly rude to the photographer/videographer, he completely disrespected the the bride and groom as well. One could only assume that the reason why the wedding was being photographed was at the request of both the bride and groom, therefore, he should not have said anything even it he found the clicks of the camera annoying. Plain and simple, he is an ignorant uptight ass.

    • 1

      omg is that a man of god or a man from hell!

    • 1
      Ellmer Gantry

      Perhaps the priest was once a child actor (and doesn’t like to be photographed)…

    • 1

      Priest could have handled the situation more elegantly but as a few others have said the photographers were absolute jerks and completely unprofessional for not moving IMMEDIATELY when asked/told to do so. Instead, they appeared to be questioning the priest, continuing to video etc. and almost getting into an argument. Unbelievable. We all have to deal with awkward circumstances but watching this video would make me think twice about hiring this photographer/video team.

    • 1

      Ernst, I have to disagree. The photographer was not questioning/arguing with the minister he was questioning the bride and groom. Since they will be paying the bill and it’s their day it is up to them whether they stop shooting or move. Unless the minister was brought in with a bag over his head he would have seen the cameras behind him as they would have been set up before the ceremony began. He could have addressed that before he began rather than throwing a hissy fit during the ceremony.

    • 1
      John F.Moniz

      I can see getting mad if this was in side a church not outdoors I think he forgot to have his bran muffin that morning.

    • 1

      I disagree that the photogs were overly rude. I was utterly dumbfounded by the way the officiant handled the situation. I can only imagine being there in person would have been even more puzzling.

      I say to crowd regarding the priest, “Boo this man!”

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      Thank you JASON, he was not only disrepectful us photographer & videographer, but he disrespected the Bride & Groom.

    • 1

      maybe he is a con…not a real minister….doesnt want any evidence of him marrying a couple….he may be a fake…

    • 1
      Ranger Jay Snow

      For one thing it was about the couple not about God unless the guy getting married was God in disguise (my guess) not. Hope the couple goes on and they live a happy togeather married life without the minister. The Photographers should have gone immediatly to avoid the whole thing. Oh well live and learn.

    • 1
      bernard law

      If he’s a Catholic priest, you’re lucky he didn’t have sex with the children.

  2. 1

    Terribly handled, like Jason said way too uptight. While it’s always a good idea to connect with the officiant, or church coordinator to see about any rules (especially if it’s a catholic church, or more formal location) this was outside so no reason to assume areas are “off limits.” Who knows maybe the guy was just self conscious about the bald spot and thought it was a bad angle?

    • 1
      Ellmer Gantry

      Well, wedding photography is an application of science…

  3. 1
    Joshua Birge

    I also think that the situation was handled completely unprofessionally by the priest, he should of spoke his mind before the wedding started and laid out the rules and guidelines. Then i also think this situation and others like this can be avoided entirely. I live in lower Texas and down here people are very old fashion and strict in what can happen during a ceremony, I learned right away that you have to communicate with with almost every person that plays a big part in the wedding. You do this not only out of respect but because if anything conflicts with what the bride and groom want you can cover yourself and solve problems before they arise by informing them. That will open the door to the bride and groom to take action on what they want for the day or it might just help explain why you wont be able to get certain shots. The main villain in this awkward situation is miscommunication.

    • 1
      Amy Long

      It is never acceptable for us as photographers to not be the active models in being sure to introduce ourselves and respectfully ask about restrictions up front. I prefer to do this prior to the event date so I may then communicate it to the couple. Over the years I have learned that there are many officiates that are very strict about where, when, what is captured during the ceremony but are very willing to recreate the shot post-ceremony for the photographer. Being up front and open also presents you as the respected professional to the other professionals who are working th event. I try to coordinate with caterers, DJs, planners, florists, limo drivers, etc. It simplifies things and reduces stress. We all have a job to do, and working together gets it done in the best interest of the couple.

  4. 1
    Laird Nelson

    That priest was a dick, he didn’t have to be so over the top about it. The photog was behind and out of his way.

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      Thank you, I am the photographer that crazy priest is yelling. I did speak with him before the ceremony, he told me “do not come in the aisle”, but when he started to argue I was actually at the back shooting with my 70-200mm. He did not warn bride and groom before either about his rules. Everybody including bride and groom was horrified with his strange behavior. After the ceremony everyone came up and thanked me to be cool. No one at the ceremony was happy with his strange behavior.

  5. 1
    Sam L

    Wow that guy needs to realize that the wedding isn’t about him either. What a jerk. Last time I checked it was about God, and oh yeah THE PEOPLE GETTING MARRIED. It definitely is a photo session as well. That’s what the people who paid him are paying the photogs for. Wow, just wow. Poor couple : (

  6. 1

    This is why I like to attend the rehearsal if at all possible. Meet the officiant the day before, where its casual enough to ask questions about where they feel we should or should not be. Tell them my goal is to get nice pictures for the bride without getting in anyone’s way.

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      I agree with you. But I wasn’t in his way. I was at least 6 feet away from him. I was using 70-200mm lens.

    • 1

      @Kamrul Hasan,

      Partially to blame?

      Firstly, I think the official was a bit of a fool. No actually, I retract that; he came across as a MASSIVE fool.

      However, if what you say is correct then I think you too are partly to blame.

      You say you were “at least 6 feet away”. Well, I say, wow!! Six feet is mighty close to someone; think of it, it’s about the width of a double bed. And being so close, with a huge lens (a 70-200 lens is huge to non-photographers, especially with the lens hood on) and rattling away with an SLR (at that distance I would have engaged the camera’s silent mode if it had one) can be quite irritating for some people.

      If for some reason I felt it necessary to stand that close with such a large lens, I wouldn’t have rattled away. My technique would have been to take single shots, pausing in between shots, and not to have moved the lens around (keeping it up at my face) so as to avoid causing distraction in the official’s peripheral vision (a stationary object often gets forgotten about, melting into the background but a moving one is a distraction when up close).

    • 1

      @plevyadophy, A double bed? common. you are exaggerating the closeness of the photographer. I am 5’6 and when I lay sideways on my King Size bed, my feet hang off the edge. 6 feet is not the width of a double bed.

  7. 1

    Since when is a wedding a solemn occasion and not a celebration of the couple and their union!?!?! I love how he threatened to stop the ceremony…um newsflash you interrupted everything to scold people for doing their jobs…try and do yours next time a little more professionally! The couple’s reaction says it all…

    • 1

      I liked how he referred to it as a “solemn occasion” , but what little we see at the beginning, his style is actually very casual.

      He was wrong to stop the ceremony in the first place. Doubly wrong for making it a big deal and not whispering quietly in the ear of the photographer.

      He was definitely going to be hearing about it from someone in the wedding party.

  8. 1
    Catherine Lacey Dodd

    How utterly horrible. That was one of the most crucial moments, they were sweet and relaxed and then, poof, no sooner than you can say boo to a goose, gone!

  9. 1

    Pretty sure it was about the bride and groom, not god buddy… sorry to burst your bubble.

  10. 1

    So this guy thinks that the photographers are disrespecting this sacred moment so he decided to be hugely disrespectful to teach them that this moment is about god not about photography? How about the god that would expect people to be decent human beings first and foremost – what an ass! Any chance this video can be put out on the web more broadly so the world can see who this “man of god” really is???

  11. 1

    Hmmm, The bride and groom’s children and grandchildren can’t be there for the ceremony. That is why they paid these people to document the ceremony. The clergyman is an uptight old moron who probably missed his morning dose of Prozac. Just one more reason that I thankfully do not shoot weddings.

  12. 1
    izzy poo

    call me crazy but the photographer and videographer shoulda known he was probably already irked by having to wait for a 9+ bridesmaid processional…

  13. 1
    Kerem Hanci Photography

    Seriously? Is this about God? Really?

    If you are religious and you believe God is the creator of everything, what isn’t about God, really?

    I am sure God was very offended by the photographer and the videographer!!!!

    These are the idiots who give religion a bad name. Take a chill pill!

  14. 1
    Leroy Walker Photography

    Yeah…he was a jerk about it. They probably should have used a 70-200 and given him a bit of room. I personally feel that if it’s not in a church than the wedding “rules” are not as firm.

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      I was actually shooting with my 70-200mm.

  15. 1
    Nate M.

    He looks like a white version of Gus Fring.

  16. 1
    Clear skies photography – Ottawa

    When i arrive early to a wedding, or go to the rehearsal, i make time to speak to the minister/priest – conductor of the ceremony to ask if there are any restrictions. Many services have restrictions because it is a Sacred Ceremony. The photographer needs to pay due diligence to ensure he/she is respecting the service because of its sacredness.

    Some ceremonies do not even allow photographs because of its sacredness

    it is an unfortunate incident for all and changes the energy of the event for sure

  17. 1

    What a douchebag – that is all.

  18. 1

    The priest must have come out of a cave the morning of the wedding. That’s the only way I can fathom that a priest/preacher/officiant/participant in a wedding would not be aware that the bride and/or groom (or family) had REQUESTED photos/video and PAID for said services. Heck, if I went to a wedding and there was no photographer or videographer, I would think something was way off kilter.

    In line with his comment, maybe the bride and groom wanted video/photo proof that they actually had a religious ceremony and didn’t just get hitched at the court house.

    • 1

      The couple is also paying for the minister’s services.

  19. 1

    As a professional wedding photographer, I don’t think the priest was wrong. While I don’t think he handled this well, in fact it was down right poor and rude, he was kinda right. Photographers and videographers go too far sometimes. I don’t ever interrupt a ceremony, regardless of religion or not. Part of not interrupting the ceremony includes standing directly behind the priest, JP or in the way of the guests.

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      Hi SPENCER,

      I don’t ever interrupt a ceremony, neither my intention was to do so. I did speak him before, asked him if there are any restrictions or rules, he told me “do not come in the aisle”, but when he started to argue I was actually at the back shooting with my 70-200mm. I wasn’t right next to the priest.

      I’ve been shooting wedding for many years now. So I know where I should be and where I shouldn’t be. But when comes to asshole Priest like him. I have to go according to their rules. Because I didn’t want to ruin my bride and groom’s wedding day. But I did give him piece of mind right after the ceremony for being an asshole. I know lot of people saying my shutter click sounded like a machine gun but that was due to microphones. There were three microphones. But I was shooting from far behind.

    • 1
      Oculos Photography

      Although I agree with you on a whole Spencer and I think that some photographers are poorly organised and rude, I don’t understand why standing behind the officiator would or could interrupt a ceremony. Several weddings that I have worked on have that particular space designated as the one ‘safe spot’ for the photographer.

      One recentt wedding I did was in a tiny room in a stately house (why use the second smallest room in the place for weddings I have no idea) that could barely squeeze fifty people in, and I was shown to my area which was barely a couple of feet in each direction to move between the officiant, the flower display and the registrar. So I was nowhere near as far as six foot from the officiator, as Mr Hasan was.

      Although not ideal from a photographers perspective, it meant I was out of his field of vision, the camera on silent mode, with only the shutter to disturb anyone. I just feel sorry for the couple, the look on their faces is one of pure shock and horror, and let’s face it there is nobody to blame for that but the priest. The photographers had been asked to stay out of the aisle, which they did, and that leaves precious few places in which to stand – especially with the supermarket queue of bridesmaids that bride had standing in the way.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      Kamrul, I checked your web site and you do a good job photographing weddings. However, in this situation I think you owe both the minister and the couple an apology for acting unprofessionally. You should not have been taking pictures from where you were. The fact that you call the priest an arsehole and “gave him a piece of your mind” afterwards indicates to me that YOU are the one on a power trip. You take no responsibility for your actions. You need to show more humility and respect.

  20. 1

    I once photographed a wedding where the priest did that!
    I checked with BOTH coordinators and the priest to see if there was anywhere off limits. There wasn’t. I walked along the outer left area – away from the ceremony and slid towards the middle – while seated – in an empty row and he stopped the service to chastise me! I was horrified for the bride and groom!
    Both coordinators apologized to me and the couple after the ceremony but it was awful.

  21. 1
    Leslie St. John

    The first question I ask any officiant at the rehearsal is “Where can I NOT go?”. Religions are not about customer service, as a wedding photographer you have to respect those who are more conservative.

    Even if the priest was a dick let the couple leave with the thought “wow the photographer handled and diffused that awkward situation brilliantly”.

    • 1

      Wrong wrong wrong!!


      It’s down to a little psychology.

      Here’s a tip:

      NEVER ask an official what you can not do. Human nature is such, especially where people think they have power/authority, to regard their role as being one of disabling (i.e. saying no) rather than enabling (i.e. saying yes).

      Leslie, by doing what you suggest, you are in actual fact saying to him “you have the power, and I am now inviting you to exercise that power by saying no”.

      Also, you have to remember that most people are cowards; they lack the backbone to use their initiative, make a decision and be held to account for that decision. So what they will do is take the safe route and simply say no. If you don’t like it, you then have to ask for their manager or appeal or whatever, and then the responsibility is passed to someone else.

      Here’s what I do, and it works more often than not (with security guards or whoever): I TELL the official what it is I AM GOING TO DO. Now it’s important here to understand that I am not rude or cocky about it; do it politely. The other trick is to show that you empathize with them.

      So here’s how I would handle a wedding official: “Sir/Madam, wow, you must officiate at so many weddings per year, and with so much going on during the wedding it must be really hard to concentrate. I know myself just how difficult distractions must be. That’s why I work the way I do coz I would just hate to distract others as I know how annoying it can be. What I am gonna do is shoot from this angle [show/demonstrate] with this camera which has a silent mode [demonstrate the mode] and I will get about [state roughly how many] shots and that will be it. I just thought I would let you know what I am doing and how I do it so that there no surprises”.

      So in that little spiel there, i have in essence TOLD the official what I am GOING TO DO rather than ASK for permission to do it. If there really are some GENUINE issues, not merely a case of the official being jerk, they will get raised (e.g. in some religions walking in a certain direction around certain fixtures of the holy place is a major disrespect).

      You don’t have to use the example I have just given; you can add your own gloss to it and adjust according to circumstances. But in essence, you politely TELL or WARN rather than BEG for permission.

      Warmest regards,

    • 1

      From what I’ve read, the photographer DID ask him what was off-limits before the ceremony, and the only feedback he got from the guy was “Don’t go into the aisle.” And he was shooting from at least 6 feet away.

    • 1

      @ NopeNopeNope

      “At least 6 feet away” is pretty darn close if you are clattering away with your SLR in drive mode (as seemed to be the case here). Remember, 6 feet isn’t that great a distance; it’s about the width of a double bed.

  22. 1

    What professional photographer shows up to cover a wedding in a brown sweatshirt. See the end of the clip. If you cover a wedding you should at least wear something black and nice so you don’t stand out and take anything away from the ceremony. That being said the minister was way out of line.

    • 1
      Frank Myers :: Raleigh wedding photographer


      I noticed the same thing and wondered if the officiant might have been less likely to go off on them if they were dressed more professionally. We never stand directly behind the officiant in any circumstances, off to the side on occasion but never behind the officiant because it IS a distraction. Having said all that he was completely wrong in how he handled it

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      Hi Sean,
      You weren’t in the situation. So don’t judge without using your brain. I am well aware of what to wear as a professional wedding photographer. I have been shooting wedding for many years. Not that I give a damn to clarify myself what I was wearing but I will tell you anyway. I was wearing a black pants and black shirt and black shoes. Ceremony was held few feet away from the lake – while shooting first look and formal I freeze up my butt. I wasn’t taking tequila shot. So I ran into my car and found a brown hoody. So I put that on for five min to warm myself up.

  23. 1

    Another reason I don’t do weddings anymore.
    Personally, I think the priest was upset that they were catching his bald spot!

  24. 1

    Weddings predate religion so I’m not even sure it’s about God at all.
    Really not handled well by the priest.

  25. 1
    Patrick Shipstad

    I agree the priest handled it very poorly. Was this his first wedding with photographers and videographers?
    It sounded from the clicks like the photographer was a few feet away.. I just think this could have been avoided if the photographer had a longer lens that he could have been at least 15ft away and gotten the same shots without being so close that you could hear click click click.. Nevertheless.. that guy completely buzz-killed the mood of the wedding for everyone, especially the bride and groom. I think he was making it more about him!

    • 1
      kamrul hasan

      I was shooting with 70-200 mm. I don’t think as a wedding photographer I need telephoto lens.

  26. 1

    We always check with the officiant first and there’s usually no trouble whatsoever. In cases like these I always think “You territorial SOB I should slap you silly and you should then do the only Christian thing to do and turn the other cheek so I can slap you some more” but invariably out of my mouth comes “My apologies, please continue…”. No reason not to act professional no matter what.

  27. 1
    Jim Fierek

    As a veteran of over 100 weddings, I feel that the officiant was totally in the right. You might be there to record the event in time, but we humans have been recording memories in our minds for millions of years, photography on the other hand is a relative newcomer to record our memories for the future. You, the video / photographer might have a signed contract, but ultimately, the couple is there to fulfill a contract with either their god or their families.
    IWe have a checklist of things to do before the wedding, meeting the priest / officiant and asking their “permission” to do your job, flash or no flash, behind the alter or not, using flash after… I now present for the first time…, Bottom line, your there to be invisible.

    • 1

      He did meet with the priest ahead of time and asked if there was anywhere he shouldn’t go. The priest’s only feedback was “Stay out of the aisle.”

  28. 1

    clearly the officiant was out of line however the video/photog didn’t make the situation any better by responding to him verbally right at that moment. be the bigger person, move away and deal with it after.

    • 1

      I agree. Be a professional and step back immediately. Don’t do more damage to the event by discussing it or arguing.

    • 1

      He said “Okay,” and then “Where would you like me to go?” to clarify where the priest would like him to be, since the current spot was unacceptable. That’s not arguing; that’s being considerate and ensuring you won’t just move where you think the priest wants you, then have him interrupt the ceremony again.

      The continued “arguing” by the photog was him getting confirmation from other parties to ensure they were okay with him moving, since it was probably specifically requested that he get those shots.

  29. 1

    Jesus hates ignorant priest like this one and loves professional photographers.

    • 1
      Ellmer Gantry

      Jesus was never in frame…go back and check the video again.

  30. 1

    “Power tripping” at its finest.

  31. 1

    Did you see the look on the bride and grooms faces, I would have asked the a**hole to stop the wedding and found someone else to do the ceremony. Who cares if it is a church thing if that is what the bride and groom want you let them have what they want they are paying you, not the other way around you DICK!

  32. 1

    And it’s not about him either – it’s about the bride and groom. He’s a mean looking individual with a “holier than thou” attitude.

  33. 1

    Unbelieveable, “this is not about the photography, this is about God”. Like God is going to be somehow offended that they were taking photos ! I’m sure that it really doesn’t matter a bit to God that this was being done. This was nothing more than what the priests feelings were about it and he was completely out of line. What a jerk !

  34. 1

    The photographers AND the couple should have communicated with the pastor in advance to determine the best spot to shoot from that would be inconspicuous and still capture great shots. He was paid to preside over the ceremony, just like the photographers were being paid. How do we photographers feel when someone steps in front of our shot, takes at the same time we do, or creates a distraction in the background? I think we would react in a similar fashion! If the couple chose to have a minister preside, they did, in fact, invite God to be a part of their ceremony. Photographers should respect that!

    • 1

      Any photographer who would react in a similar fashion when someone steps in their shot, would and should be fired. No, this was an unprofessional way to handle an annoyance by any wedding professional.

    • 1
      Rachel Jay

      There is never any excuse to disrupt a ceremony like that. “I will stop the ceremony if you don’t leave” – how childish! The bride and groom were clearly horrified by the PRIEST and before his outburst, seemed to not even notice the photographer and videographer. – ITS ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT. Period.

  35. 1
    Rick Horowitz

    While I find the advice of this article for photographers to be absolutely good advice, if I were the groom — and not the photographer — in this scenario, I would immediately tell the “minister” that the wedding was mine, and not his, and that if he had a problem with that, then HE, THE MINISTER, could leave.

    If he did choose to leave, then AS HE WAS LEAVING, I would turn to the crowd and explain, “I apologize, but due to the un-Christlike behavior of the minister we erroneously hired to perform this ceremony, we are choosing to be married at another time. We hope you will join us then, when we hope to have an actual Christian minister.”

    • 1

      The problem is, in reality that just wouldn’t work.

      Here, the priest was seriously overdosing on power. And boy does he have power!!! He knows full well the power of his threat: many guests may have taken time off work to be at the wedding; the caterers have been hired for a specific day; drivers have likewise been hired for a particular day; honeymoon may have already been booked and booked on the basis of the wedding taking place on a particular day.

      So basically, save for some really exceptional circumstance, a wedding is not something that can be postponed for another day. And the priest knows that, and hence his prima donna attitude.

      I think the only thing one could do realistically, is not pay the priest if full payment has not yet been made. The alternative, is to post a video of the jerk (as has been done) and hope that enough folks see him and future couples avoid him like the plague; additionally, the couple should lodge a formal complaint with the church’s governing body.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      Actually, it seems the minister is the ONLY one who is concerned with the solemnity of the occasion and is standing up for it. There was nothing unChrist-like about the minister’s requests. Remember, Jesus threw out the merchants at the Temple and overturned their tables because they were not respecting the holiness of the occasion. “My temple shall be a house of prayer!”
      I find it so ironic that obvious non-Christians keep telling everyone how “REAL Christians” are supposed to act!

  36. 1
    Michelle McDaid

    MAAAAYBE this could have been avoided by better communication or a different choice of lens that put the photographer and videographer at a greater distance from the officiant… sure. But I reject that it’s SOLELY the responsibility of the photographer and videographer to chase the officiant down to learn about their unique quirks. I’m assuming this gentleman (and I use the term loosely) has officiated more than one wedding in his time, and if he had specific and unusual boundaries that he wanted respected, it is also HIS responsibility to communicate those to the bride and groom up front, so that those can be passed on to their vendors.

    All that aside, and even if the photographer and videographer had been complete jackasses, making themselves rude and obtrusive during the ceremony, the officiant handled this in a very disrespectful way. The ceremony may very well be a religious event but it is also, primarily, about the couple in question and interrupting their ceremony was rude and selfish.

    Sadly, this horrific moment is what they will remember about their ceremony for the rest of their life now… not the vows said or words of love exchanged. The look on their faces say it all. I feel so bad for them.

  37. 1

    As a professional photographer, its my responsibility to have a dialogue before the ceremony with the clergy and officiants. I have always checked to see what the boundaries are in advance and never, ever violate them. If these people didn’t check in advance what the boundaries were then shame of them. As a wedding guest, I have seen too many weddings ruined by “in your face” photography and video. Wonderful shots can be taken at a reasonable distance without becoming part of the ceremony itself. Perhaps its time to take a step back.

  38. 1
    Daniel Sullivan

    Well, we don’t know what may or may not have happened before this… maybe it was the straw that broke the camels back. However, the priest threatening to stop the ceremony was uncalled for and childish.

  39. 1
    Luis Godinez

    I agree the priest handled the situation poorly but I wonder what pushed him to that point. We are only seeing his reaction and not what caused it.

    Let me go CSI/Horatio Caine on this. There… (⌐■_■) stop that frame. Enhance. Zoom in, and ENHANCE. Boom. Photographer is wearing a brown hoodie. I can’t take that serious. Who in there right mind as a professional wears that to a wedding. I’m sorry.

    • 1
      Ellmer Gantry

      Jesus never wore a tuxedo or commanded a wedding dress code…

  40. 1

    I know I wouldnt have had time, but it would have been nice to throw him under the bus and ask the bride/groom if they want me to stop, since you know, theyre the ones paying me. Course, they would be so scared hed leave half way through theyd agree to anything at that point.

  41. 1
    Luis Godinez

    I agree the priest handled the situation poorly but I wonder what pushed him to that point. We are only seeing his reaction and not what caused it.

    Let me go CSI/Horatio Caine on this. There… (⌐■_■) stop that frame. Enhance. Zoom in, and ENHANCE. Boom. Photographer is wearing a brown hoodie. I can’t take that serious. Who in there right mind as a professional wears that to a wedding.

    • 1
      Chris Biele

      Exactly, meow. Who the hell wears a hoody to cover a wedding? And an ugly brown one at that?! Meow.

    • 1
      Chris Biele

      Oh wait, I was thinking Super Troopers lol.

  42. 1
    Daniel Sullivan

    Think also how this scene looked from the other angle….. the B&G, the minister, then a huge tripod directly between them and at least one other guy in the back. If you were the photographer and saw the video guy standing right there, you would probably have some un-Christian thoughts.

    • 1
      Rachel Jay

      I am a wedding photographer and there’s one rule in the business. If the bride is okay with it, its okay. Period. She was clearly surprised and horrified by the priest’s request.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      Rachel, that so-called “rule” is something you just made up and is ridiculous. If you think the photographer/videographer acted professionally, I feel sorry for your clients.

  43. 1

    It’s always about “god” when someone acts like an idiot, or in this case totally insensitive to the fact that the moment is about the two young folks getting married. Now that incredible moment has been sacrificed due to the Ego of a religious leader; where is the patience, kindness, humility etc. that these individuals preach to the rest of us about. What we see here is the real TRUTH about religion and the religious. Off the subject, but was the systematic rape of children “about god” as well. Adults believing in nonsense ruining yet another moment of someone’s life.

    • 1

      If the bride and groom agreed with your drivel, then they should have had someone else do their wedding.

  44. 1
    Rachel Jay

    I am a wedding photographer AND a bride – I would have flipped on that officiant (after the ceremony, of course). In the moment I would have told him it was okay for them to be there – considering it’s not even his wedding!!! The photographer and videographer were not interrupting the ceremony AT ALL! I would love to hear how the bride felt about this after the fact.

    • 1

      I completely disagree with you. The photographer never should standing behind the priest. He could stand somewhere alse… not shooting near his ear! But everything depend on the place. In Europe something like that is unacceptable.

      BTW. Your photo are really nice.

    • 1

      and I would tell you to find someone else to officiate at you wedding

  45. 1

    What an ASSHOLE!! All those so called church old farts are full of themselves. The photographer was doing his job as he sees fit. The couple hired him to do just that. This guy knows how irrelevant he was five minutes before the ceremony and how irrelevant he is after, so he didn’t want anyone sharing his minuscule limelight. I agree he is just the hired help, when he’s not molesting boys that is. JERK!

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      Do you know how ridiculous your rant sounds? You obviously have a severe bias against religion/religious people. A Catholic wedding is one of seven Holy Sacraments, a sacred ceremony. In fact, it is also a mass, during which the Eucharist is celebrated (another of the sacraments). It is a holy, sacred union before God.

  46. 1
    Howard P

    Well, I’m not a wedding shooter but I have to say – good for him! Obviously this should have been planned ahead of time, but since when should photography not take a back seat to the ceremony? Especially since it can be done creatively and unobtrusively.

  47. 1

    I was married 33 years ago. Photographs weren’t taken in churches until AFTER the ceremony. Honestly, I miss the civility. Think about it. A bride and a groom and a minister are entering into a contract. A holy contract. At this point it’s not about the wedding, it’s about the marriage. In this case, while the vows of a lifetime are being uttered, photographers are within arms-length of the couple and minister, clicking away. Did you hear the rapid-fire clicking????? That was just plain RUDE! (Oh, yeah, another old-fashioned word.) If I’m a guest at a wedding, I’m often trying to see over or around a photographer, trying to get a glimpse of the bride. One more thing, if a bride and groom think the religious part of a wedding ceremony is “nonsense,” they should have a JP officiate. As for those of us who photograph weddings, we need to know the shots the couple want and run it past the minister. Get the shots and get out of the way. It’s NOT a photo shoot.

  48. 1

    that was not about god, that was about him.

  49. 1
    Rob G

    The video guy is way too close and the photographer is shooting away like he’s on a machine gun trial day. I’m not surprised the priest reacted like this. Show a bit of subtlety, guys.

  50. 1

    This is one reason why I do not shoot weddings… life already has enough stress why add to it by shooting weddings? The pay certainly isn’t enough to make up for all the stomach aches and nerve pills they cause just thinking about it before, during and after. I am very happy there are so many amazing photographers out there that can and do shoot those priceless moments frozen in time forever for the bride and groom as well as all those that attended and for those that could not attend and especially for generations to come in the family tree.

    All that said, once the officiant turned around and opened his mouth all I seen was the horror on the bride and grooms faces. The officiant at that point had completely ruined their once in a lifetime event. Even if they were to redo the ceremony or renew their vows someday there is always only one first and as every other first in life that is the one you remember and refer to when looking back.

    The officiant was an official jack ass with severe delusions of grandeur who’s mouth was saying its about God but his actions were telling a different story and making it about him. Not once did he say this is a special day for the bride and groom. Yes God is there and depending on the religion God’s capacity varies drastically.

    Yes it is always a good idea to speak with everyone involved even if you are shooting a child’s recital or any function for that matter. It is obvious the wedding in this video is a small and intimate backyard ceremony in which case many times the photographer(s) at such events are friends rather than a professional photographer/videographer. If that be the case the “rules of thumb” may not be something one would think of however I do not know of any wedding where the photographer is behind the priest, minister, justice of the peace, etc snapping photos. The click click click would be annoying as all get out right behind the person leading the ceremony and may have been what caused this obnoxious jack ass to flip his wig and take it out on the photographer. The same photographer that kept right on snapping shots while the officiant was scolding him and further making the situation worse by talking back creating dialog instead of just backing off and call it what it was unprofessional on the officiant’s part and let that be the end of it so the bride and groom did not have to endure any further embarrassment or humiliation. I can only image what the bride and groom felt when they got the photos and videos of their wedding.

    Simple rules to remember is never go behind the officiant performing the ceremony during the actual ceremony it can be recreated afterwards. Also take two camera’s one dSLR which is the big daddy and would be the primary but also have in tow something like a Canon SX40 where you can turn off the sound completely so there is no click click click, and you do not have to have the flash if that is the wishes of anyone during the actual ceremony. Last of all be invisible as possible, blend in, stay as far away from the bride and groom as possible during the ceremony. The bulk of photos are taken before and after the ceremony and those leading up to to ceremony like the bridesmaids and bride walking down the isle but once the bride has been given away the camera’s should be put to the side unless you have been given total control and no off limits or limitations during the ceremony, which I can say that won’t happen… ever!

    I hope this video is seen by enough people that the jack ass officiant never has the opportunity to ruin the special day of any other bride and groom ever again.

  51. 1

    This priest or whoever he wants to be was so unprofessional, and these people paid for the photographer/videographer services and they have 100% rights to be where they were! They were just doing their job, same as the priest so he should just keep calm and carry on:)! … If I was them I would request refund from that official , period!:) … But I have to say these church officials always think they are the most important! …. Before my wedding ceremony priest asked my best man for the present for him, although he got paid already! So we just gave him a bottle of nice vodka:)! Bear in mind it was in Poland so some of these people just drink in the name of God or whatever;)!

  52. 1
    Steve Keegan

    The bottom line is you have got to know the rules of the church/minister. I have it right in my contract that the couple needs to make sure I am allowed to shoot at all venues prior to booking them and supply me with a list of any rules regarding photography the venue might have.

    Regardless of official rules, setting a tripod up right behind the minister’s head looks horrible. I can’t tell you how many complaints I have had from ministers, couples, guests, etc about photographers being too intrusive. Climbing up behind altars, getting behind the minister, etc. It’s very distracting to everybody. You can get cool shots from the side and back.

    It also destroys a lot of the angles for still photographers. Also, why was the still photographer laying on the motordrive so much in that situation? Everybody is standing still. You don’t need to do that. I’m sure having a motordive going off in your ear might be a little distracting to somebody trying to perform a ceremony in front of 100 people.

  53. 1
    Michael Lykke

    It somehow seems to be a growing “trend” that officants have to despise cameras and I’m willing to bet that if you actually ask them, most can’t come up with a good reason to why. It just seems that some has gotten into their heads that “cameras are bad at a weeding but everywhere else they are fine”.

    It’s a damn wedding – There will ALWAYS be a desire to have it photographed. As long as the photographer isn’t standing between the couple and the officant then it shouldn’t be a problem at all… It’s only a problem because he wants to make it a problem. It seems more like a power trip than anything else.
    What an utter moron he is!

  54. 1
    James C

    I am a wedding photographer, and to be honest I can understand why the Officiant got upset.

    As we wedding photographer you are there to document the wedding, not get in the way. Those machine gun clicks would have annoyed me – at at time he is trying to perform a legal ceremony (even if you disagree with the religious side of it).

    Since when has the wedding been all about the photographer – has no one considered how unpleasant it is for the family and friends just to look at a bank of photographers behind the couple thinking they are the most important people there?

  55. 1

    “I think we can all agree that the officiant was incredibly unprofessional in how the situation was dealt with.
    […] our hearts go out to the photographers, videographers and the couple, because this reaction was definitely unwarranted(…)”

    So you all say you got your high end DSLR and are a superb professional wedding photographers? And you all are amazed with that reaction? Can’t you see the video guy just behind the priest head, and can’t you hear the shutter bursting away all the time? Is it a wedding or a “open fire” situation?

    Just think about it for a minute. And then listen to the shutter again. And if you can’t show some professionalism during a ceremony, then show a little bit of respect. With this kind of attitude you wouldn’t come close to a church in Europe.

    • 1
      Andy Davis

      Have to agree and yes I did hear the rapid fire. It sounded like a machine gun and thank god I don’t have to wade through the many thousands of images that he clearly shoots during a wedding day. Still a disgusting reaction from the officiant though!

    • 1

      Masz całkowitą rację ;)

  56. 1
    Andy Davis

    I wonder if the couple have decided to sue him yet for spoiling what should have been the most precious day of their lives to date. It was beyond disrespectful! In fact he was pretty much blackmailing/ holding the photographer to ransom. I quote “move or I will not go on!!”. Absolutely disgusting! If he had such a problem he should have informed the photographer before hand. I appreciate that the photographer should have probably asked him, but there is always an opportunity at the start of the ceremony to inform the everyone what your feelings are about photography. Not in the middle of the ceremony. Idiot!

  57. 1

    I think this priest have huge problem with relations with others. Love, Respect? Nooo … he know only rules from “his” personal notes: stay like that, talk like that, be like that … :/

  58. 1

    In Poland if you want to be photographer during the ceremony you must have document. Why? Because the first thing is “Never standing behind the priest or altar. Its not proffesional behaviour. I really understand this priest. I think he behave really nice. I saw situation when priest throw out from church photographer for the same thing. Really it was nice ….

  59. 1

    I have a great deal of sympathy with the celebrant on this. I think I’d be getting pretty annoyed with a photographer stood on my shoulder machine gunning away. It wasn’t too much effort for the photographer to ask what was acceptable behaviour before hand.

    That said, the celebrant didn’t handle things well

  60. 1
    Chris Giles

    I think the togs deserved it to be honest. They had not only a video guy there (which the priest looked at during filming, but a tog to his left CLACK CLACK CLACKING away and towards the end of the footage another tog camera right AND a tripod at the back of the aisle.

    I would say there were three people at least all in the priests space causing a distraction and possibly did something wrong in the first place to start a general discord.

    I hear so much about badly behaved aggressive togs during ceremonies that I’m not surprised about this in the slightest. What the priest said was perfectly true. I’m not even the slightest bit religious but it is a solemn moment in the eyes of God. Not a photo shoot with video games and wifi access.

    Priests hold many weddings, any ‘no photo’ rules are always disclosed prior. So they must of really done something wrong to get that reaction.

  61. 1

    OK, so he didn’t handle the situation that well, but the blame here squarely lies with the photographer and videographer. As someone else has pointed out, it’s our job to be *invisible* and certainly not standing right up at the front behind the officiant for all the world to see, clearly attracting attention away from the wedding ceremony. It’s a golden rule of any wedding photography to discuss with the couple & the officiant/minister/priest beforehand to check everyone’s happy with the ground rules regarding when to photograph and where from. They clearly didn’t do this. I actually thought the officiant was fairly restrained – he was clearly very irritated by the behaviour of a couple of rank amateurs (unsuitably dressed).

  62. 1
    Tracy Bullen

    Quite simply…had that been my wedding, the video would have been named “kickass 3” because that’s eactly what I would have done to that priest! How embarrassing for the bride and groom.

    Oh, and just a note to the priest…funerals are solemn, marriages are a festivity. Get with it.

    • 1
      Tracy Bullen

      But I have to agree that the cameraman was annoying. I actually don’t think the priest would have had a problem with the videographer, had he not been buzzed by the constant click click click… here’s my note to the photographer…

      If you have to take 20,000 shots of a wedding ceremony in the hopes of getting good shots, then you shouldn’t be photographing it! If the bride and groom want time-lapse, they can slow down the video.

  63. 1

    It’s a Wedding, not a Funeral.


  64. 1

    Seriously this photography took 12 shots within 4 seconds! I’m not sure if there is another 4 in there as well but that’s a stupid amount of photos to take in such a short period of time! No wonder the priest got annoyed! Yes he handled it in a bad way but why so many photos? Obviously mis communication in there as well.

  65. 1
    Mike Garrard

    Ouch. I always ask clients to check in and let me know how things stand with the officiant’s BEFORE the wedding. That way they know my restrictions rather than finding out after the day, or even worse, on it!

  66. 1

    I’m not a photographer, but a priest, and though I have never done that -I understand the urge!!! I ALWAYS have extremely clear conversations about where and when pictures can be taken, but some people refuse to listen giving everyone else a bad name. As much as you fear the tyrant officiant, we fear the disrespectful photographer! I’ve had rude photographers climb over the alter rail to get a pic of the couples faces while they were receiving communion! When I’ve requested there to be no pictures it’s because I want the couple to really focus on the vows they are making in that moment, not how they might look in the picture. It is a solemn occasion – joy and solemnity are not opposites – weddings are wonderful occasions, but they are also binding lifelong promises that are not easy to undo – they even promise “this us my solemn vow”. I am very happy to recreate any picture they want – but don’t mess with the service I’m leading. Those clicks and flashes are so disruptive to remembering what needs to be done next!

    • 1
      Chris Adval

      You do understand that the bride/groom are the clients and hired you and the photographer to do a job… right? It should be spoken with the photographer and clients BEFORE the event takes place on rules of engagement if this bothers you. If they agree, then sure, but this guy, I’m sure didn’t do that, and now the clients will lose out some shots they paid for and won’t be refunded those missed shots.

    • 1

      Just to respond Chris, The bride and groom may have hired you as the photographer, but as the priest they don’t hire me. I’m offering a service, a sacrament of the church, and for that they offer me an honorarium. They have some say in what they would like in the service, but I’m the one that the government has licensed to perform these marriages, it’s not all about them. I understand the photographers just want to do their job well, which is why I’m grateful when they agree to come to the rehearsal, and show up early just to clarify. My couples are well aware of the shots that they’re able to take. And it’s a wedding, it’s not all about the bride and the groom, the entire congregation plays a role in the promises they make to uphold this couple in their marriage. I’m more concerned about the marriage, then just the wedding day.

    • 1

      @ Chris Adval

      “offer me an honorarium”

      What BS!!

      1. They don’t “offer” you anything; they are advised as to what to pay.
      2. If couples never “offered” your euphemistic “honorarium” are you seriously telling us all that weddings would still take place under the auspices of your church organization?! Forgive me for answering my own rhetorical question by saying that “if you expect us to believe that then you probably think we all still believe in the tooth fairy!”
      3. In the U.S. they say “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its a duck!”. So applying that saying here, what you are paid is a FEE. Please stop with this foolish “they offer me an honorarium” charade.

    • 1


      That remark was addressed to Kristen and NOT to Chris.

      There’s no way of editing comments after posting.

      Sorry Chris.

    • 1

      dear plevyadophy, Sure – there is a suggestion of what an honourarium is – because they ask me what is traditional. It’s usually a token amount of $150 give or take, the only set fees are for the use of the church and the organist. I fully admit that when a couple is spending 30,000 on a wedding and my role so integral, it is very tempting to set an amount commensurate with say – the photographer. But I work for the church and what I do is a sacrament – what you do is a business. Therein lies the difference. I have a full time stipend with the church, and this is a sacrament of the church. I’ve done a free wedding before, and whether you believe me or not doesn’t concern me. You sound overly angry at me, perhaps you should explore why that is, since I did nothing but express my own experience. Just like I won’t paint you with the same brush as the “spray and pray” photographers in this video, you don’t get to tell me what I do is like other priest’s you’ve worked with.

    • 1


      Thank you for showing up and sharing the difference between a service business such as photography and your calling to perform a sacrament. I was surprised reading through the comments that seemed rooted in the belief that the bride and groom are the clients with photographers and clergy as equal subcontractors – this has never been my experience.

      I am the son of a pastor who loved photography, worked as a sexton in my dad’s church for a number of weddings, and have also been a groom, a wedding photographer and an officiant in weddings. The roles are all very different and the relationships are as well – and I have received payments and honorariums for my service in these roles. And I can affirm with Kristen, the clergy as officiant is not one of the subcontractors of the bride and groom. They are the conductors of a sacrament of faith which the bride and groom have chosen to receive, and which the photographer has been asked to record.

      The clergy is helping to launch a marriage and with God to ask the bride and groom to make very specific and very serious promises to God and to each other and to have these promises witnessed by the gathering of friends and family. The photographer has the responsibility to communicate effectively enough with the clergy to learn how to respect this service while also serving the bride and groom. Most pastors will recreate moments for photographers to look like the service for photos to be made OUTSIDE of the actual service. That this situation occurred must rest fully on the shoulders of the photographer – he may feel he did his duty by asking about rules, but he clearly did not do it well enough to prevent this situation.

      Ultimately, I think the photographer focused so much on serving the bride and groom that he lost sight of the fact that respecting the service he is asked to record is a key part of the job description.

  67. 1
    Chris Adval

    Ummm… The clients are right there, they don’t care? Well if the shot is missed because of this guy who’s fault? The guy and the client’s? or the photographer for not standing up for himself?

  68. 1
    Tim Barron

    After photographing countless weddings in the last 25 years, I am amazed at the comments . First of all, as a “Professional” Photographer, this scene would have been avoided. A pro would have talked to the officiant and found out what his/her expectations of the photographer was. If they say no photo’s then I always asked if it was ok to photograph from a distance…..use a lens with a long focal length and step back. Allow the moment to happen. The vows are about religion and are meant to be a solemn occasion. I always warn couples what may happen with Priests depending on the religion so that they are aware…..some are a lot more strict than others. A little prep work and these situations can be avoided…..

  69. 1
    Robert Provencher

    I never, ever shoot from behind the priest or officiant.


    Too risky and disrespectful. The photog/videog should have started walking right away and just listened to the man.

    Leave. Agree with him or not, it got drawn out because they were questioning him.

    Dumb just leave already!

    Out of respect for the bride and groom, and never, ever shoot from behind the officiant again.

    Do you know how annoying that would be, two people with recording devices (one constantly clicking) behind you while you’re trying to do your job?

    No argument here, the photogs were wrong and acting like self important idiots. I don’t care who they are. Turn and walk away with your tail between your legs as soon as he turns his head and starts instructing you to.

  70. 1
    Ellmer Gantry

    The Vatican: it’s about not about Art; it’s about God.

  71. 1

    talk about open mouth insert foot and all a byproduct of something I like to call illusions of the mind. Since the begining of time people have made up ideals, opinions, etc etc. Troubles begin because most have forgot and accept standards of behavior as some form of gospel truth.

  72. 1
    Jack Hourguettes

    This why I was talk to minister before the wedding, attend the rehearsal. I try to select the best spots during the rehearsal. Again talk with the minister, bride and groom and come up with the best locations that makes everyone happy.

  73. 1
    Ginni Tuggle

    Wow! This guy was beyond rude! I felt so sorry for the bride and groom. The looks on their faces said it all. The sad thing is, they had no power to shut him up. He could have refused to finish the ceremony. He made it about himself. What a jerk!

  74. 1

    What a shame. I hope the bride and groom were able to blow this off and enjoy their day. It’s easy to criticize the officiant, but it’s an important lesson in preparedness. A photographer and videographer should strive to be unnoticeable and work as discretely as possible, while the opposite of that was done here. Thank you for underlining the importance of communication and planning before the ceremony as well.

  75. 1

    As a clergyperson myself, I always appreciate the photographer taking the time to talk to me before the ceremony. That being said, I would have never done this. My only rule to a photographer is that they cannot get in between the couple and myself. Where these guys were standing should not have been a problem to the officiant. I’m beyond embarrassed that this is a colleague.

  76. 1

    Priest could have handled better but the photographers were absolute jerks as they seemed to be questioning the priests request (demand) during the ceremony and almost getting into an argument. I couldn’t believe the videographer and photographer didn’t move when asked/told to do so. Priest asks you to move during the ceremony? Then MOVE!

    And if they planned to stand 6 inches away from the back of the priests head, they should have checked before-hand or asked the couple to do so on their behalf.

    My heart goes out to couple. NOT the photographer/videographer who acted atrociously.

    • 1
      Peter McCallum

      There is also a way to do the video/pictures if the couple wants an over the shoulder shot. Tripod if you have to stand with “pastor” facing congregation. There is also having the couple face the congregation. I have done a number of weddings this way — the congregation is there to see them not my ugly face anyway! As I said earlier the “pastor” was rude; to all involved. I would say that the video guy was more rude to the pastor by not leaving when asked and for being there in the first place. The only thing that would have kept me from doing the same thing is 1) the couple 2) I would have already let ANY one who may be doing such know the rules. I asked that couples put “No Flash Photos during service” in the wedding program when I knew the family were photo people or that the family was the photographers.

  77. 1

    The bottom line is ASK where you can be. It’s an average GOPRO shot anyway.Although I have to agree, this “Prince of Peace” really crossed the line. “I’ll stop this ceremony”…(I’ll turn this car RIGHT AROUND you kids!!) An arrogant power play and not very “Christ like” on his part. HELLO….Jesus called, he’d like that collar back.

  78. 1
    Corinna See Stansbury

    I think this is a case of a wedding guest, Michael Borriello (I’m guessing he is a friend or family member of the bride & groom), posting video he shot that weekend. For that reason, it should not be getting any attention from the professional community, except to say, this is what happens when guests try to document the wedding.

    If you look at the two other videos on his YouTube account, one is a practice session of him drumming.
    The other is an armature video from the rehearsal. Sure seems like he was a guest. So again, is this worth our time and discussion? It exploded all over Facebook in the past few days. I wonder if the bride & groom even consented to it going viral. Seems like an invasion of their privacy on so many levels. I would hope that a professional videographer would not post something like this on YouTube. Just my 2cents.

    • 1

      very good point

    • 12096000_10153171245684013_1977723213241257596_n.jpg15
      M. Saville

      Corinna, I think you have a very good point; the more and more we assess this situation, it seems like the videographer’s presence was the thing that tipped the officiant over the edge, not a photographer. Although that shutter sound in the background still seems pretty noticeable; and allegedly the photogs were in fact hired pros. (A couple comments above claim to be the actual photog at this wedding)

      Either way, I’m laying more and more blame on the officiant, at least for the end result here, the outburst which is what everyone will be remembering…

  79. 1

    I definitely agree that as a photographer one should discuss with everyone involved what is and is not appropriate and find solutions to meet the needs of the customer. With that being said there are 2 problems here…

    1. The photographer could have been pressing prior to the video. We do not know the context of what happened before the video we all viewed on this site and perhaps this was the boiling point to which the officiant got overwhelmed with the photographers.

    2. The officiant seemed to handle this in a rather disrespectful way. Not to the photographers but to his bride and groom. They were clearly uncomfortable and felt uneasy and it is an absolute shame for that to happen.

    What we can learn is how to interact as photographers… There are so many personalities out there and we have to adjust our thinking and way of doing things to be respectful of everyone involved.

    What is sad is the photographers and officiant both became unprofessional in the pinnacle moment of the bride and groom’s wedding. It is unfortunate but I hope they were able to move on and celebrate their awesome day!

  80. 1

    The priest is rude, but right. There is absolutely no reason to be standing right behind him and/or shooting in burst mode at this time of the ceremony. It is totally intrusive and unnecessary.

    Stand back
    Use a longer lens
    Use quiet mode on your camera
    Use One Shot versus burst mode

    I count 10 frames being fired off in that short period. What action was unfolding here to warrant that number of images?

    Spray and Pray in action.

  81. 1

    Actually the article covers it. The Photographer and Videographer were unprofessional if they did not communicate with the priest ahead of time, find out where they were allowed to stand, how much they were allowed to move, where the priest planned to stand, did he plan to have them face each other (so they could be seen from the center aisle instead of from behind the priest….usually much better anyway). I always tell the bride and groom that I will talk to the priest/officiant/minister, whatever, and will be bound by whatever limitations they set….and I’ll do the best job I can while respecting those limitations. I’ve been a wedding photographer for 20 years, yes, some priests are difficult (after I’ve stated that I will follow their wishes and do NOT believe in being a disruption to the ceremony in any way, say “yeah, that’s what all photographers say…last week I threw the photographer out in the middle of the ceremony for walking between the bride’s parents and the couple”). Well, I’ve never been thrown out (and I wouldn’t dream of obstructing the parent’s view of the ceremony), I’ve usually been thanked and commended by the officiant for my professionalism (they say they never even noticed me) and I’ve always done a great job for the couple and gotten all that they needed and more. I always allow 30 minutes at the ceremony location to make sure I have time to set up, talk to the officiant, and take some pictures of the groom ahead of time. I’ve also done video and observed other photographers rushing in at the last second, throwing their bags down (sometimes right in the way), and proceeding to do whatever they want….then having the officiant complain to me afterwards as if I had something to do with that offensive photographer. I’ve had some officiants tell me I must pick one spot and not move an inch and not use a flash at all and I had a Monsignor tell me one time that “as long as I wasn’t hanging from the crucifix, I could do whatever I wanted” (I still didn’t cause a disruption) This video makes the priest look bad and maybe he could have been calm and firm instead of an outburst but they deal with unprofessional photographers all the time (especially in this *great* new age of digital when everyone with a fancy camera thinks they are a photographer, but know NOTHING about properly handling a wedding) so I can actually sympathize with him that his nerves and tolerance may have reached it’s limit that day. I hope the bride and groom were able to understand that, move on and not let it negatively affect their whole day.

  82. 1
    dave b.

    i’m just glad the the videographer kept rolling so that everyone can see what a self-centered d-bag the preacher was…and how he felt it was more important to ruin their wedding ceremony than to just keep going and get through it…guess the shutter noise was ruining the flow of his stand up routine…hypocrite…

  83. 1
    Stephen Carnahan

    I am astounded at the number of people that make the assumption that the priest had not set his limits in advance. He probably had, both verbally and in writing. I’m betting that this wasn’t his first warning to the photographers either. I am a minister and while the vast majority of photographers are good to work with, I have had some who have ignored all instructions. The priest is right. A wedding is not a photography shoot. If you come to me to get married, I assume it is because the spiritual aspect of marriage is important to you. So often that is ignored by wedding planners, relatives, limo drivers, djs, and all the others who are in the business of weddings. I’m in the business of marriage, and that is more important.

  84. 1
    Paul White

    I’m a retired Baptist pastor who still does a fair amount of weddings through Ministers in a Minute. Whenever a photographer asks me about my policy regarding the taking of pictures during the wedding my response is always the same: It’s not my wedding. So my policy is whatever the bride and groom desire.

  85. 1

    I really don’t understand about 80% of the comments to this post. I understand the priest/pastor/minister got angry but is this the whole story?

    First, if you’re a professional photographer you should always talk with the bride and groom on where they’d like you to be during the ceremony and cross reference that with the person who is officiating the event. If you feel different I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong and you should feel bad about your opinion.

    I have a questionnaire I always have the bride and groom fill out a month prior that has a small statement that basically reads, “please inquire on any rules your officiant has during the ceremony and give us those rules so we know what we can and can’t do during the ceremony.” Why? One it gives knowledge to the couple on what their officiant thinks is ok and they have to give that feedback to you. Since they heard it straight from the source they can’t say they didn’t know. Prior to the ceremony we always introduce ourselves to the officiant and feed them back the information the bride and groom gave us and ask if it is correct and if there is anything else we should know.

    It takes a whole lot of 5 minutes to take care of this.

    No skepticism about this video here is I believe that we aren’t getting the whole story. Many time the officiant will find us before we even know they are around and go over the rules of the day. How do we know they weren’t told no to be there in the first place? Out of the 50 weddings we’ve done this year about 60% are religious ceremonies and about 70% of those do not allow photographers to stand any where near the altar, for a lack of a better word.

    Did the officiant over react? Yeah it was definitely rude but so was hovering in that bubble where it’s no longer an intimate event. Are the bride and grooms reaction that what transpired that of disbelief of the officiants reaction or the disbelief of the photographers not heading previous warnings? Were the photographers at fault? 100%. You have to blame them for either scenario. Either they knew they were in the wrong and did it anyway or they didn’t know and didn’t do their job and ask before hand.

    I call amateur status on the photographers and my reasoning is why wasn’t there a 70-200 on that thing? You don’t have to be that close to the action. Even an 85mm would have put them in a great angle for a photo and not put them literally on the arse of the officiant.

    It’s our job to find out what the rules are and if we either ignore them or are ignorant that they could even exist we are jeopardizing a once in a lifetime moment because we are being dumb. Not cool.

  86. 1

    if this was my wedding with me as a bride there would be hell to pay… how DARE the priest do that, Id make sure he never got hired for weddings again and you would be damn sure I wouldn’t pay him for that shambles

  87. 1
    Peter McCallum

    Actually, Jason NO HE WS NOT RUDE! It was the photog who was rude on two levels 1) when asked to leave; the photog ARGUED! That is when the minister got up set! 2) The photog should not have been where s/he was in the first place. I do wonder if this was a family member of the Bride/groom and not a pro photog. NOW this SHOULD HAVE BEEN HANDLED with the bride/groom and phtog way before this occurred. As a pastor I made it clear to the Bride/groom what could and could not happen with photogs DURING the worship service; the photog disrupting the wedding, by the way, was one of the things that should not happen. I also usually tried to get with the photogs before the service and give them my ground rules. Not sure if I would have gone off during the service but I will tell you that two things would happen; 1) We, the photog and I would have a Long one side talk 2) good chance he would not work a wedding I was preforming in the future. I will say that in 10 years of ministry, never had a rude photog.

  88. 1
    Heidi Ferren

    The priest could have been more tactful and professional when addressing the photographer and videographer. I am 100% disagreement when he said “this is not a photography session.” Actually it is because the couple or the family hired them to photograph and record that ceremony. However, I will say as a photographer who has worked in many Christian weddings, it is rude to photograph behind the priest. I do not want all guests to see me or my camera as they watch the ceremony. The focus is on the couple and as such it is necessary not to distract from them. Just as we would hate if someone gets in our view, we should remember not to get in theirs. I know how to achieve the shots I need to get by getting around, in addition having a long lens to get up and close. My professionalism at weddings gets noticed and from there I am immediately booked for other events. I also agree that by talking with the officiant prior to ceremony should be discussed so as to be prepared for what is and isn’t allowed such as flashes can be used. In the church, it is most important to be respectful. Even if it is outside the same manner should be discussed too. Above all make it smooth for the couple because this is the day they will always remember.

  89. 1

    I hope this one example doesn’t color your view of all officiants.

    As a Life-Cycle Celebrant® who officiates weddings, I know I always arrive early and try to touch base with the photographer and videographer before the ceremony. (I’ve never known a photographer to come to the rehearsal.) Often I’m asked if I mind flash photography, etc. –once or twice I’ve been asked if I “allow” photography during the ceremony and as long as no one is going to be blinded by flashes, I’m fine with it.

    I even come prepared with a complete outline of the ceremony since my ceremonies often include unique choreography, rituals, or guest involvement, so the photographer can capture all the unique parts of the ceremony the couple wants. I’m happy to make sure we’re all able to do our jobs–that’s what the couple wants, after all.

    There have been occasions though, two weddings in particular, where I’ve been run into and even pushed aside by photographers and videographers while I was officiating the ceremony. I’m happy to say those incidences are rare.

    There’s no reason officiants and photographers can’t get along of we all take a few minutes to communicate and help each other and if we all respect the jobs we have to do.

  90. 1
    Alberto Quiros Bonett

    Well, It happened to me few years ago. I was shooting a wedding and the Priest just told me “pss…please, you are distracting the ceremony with your click”. But later, when the Priest was given the main words, he said: I do not understand why the couple is having always a lot of photos of their party but not about the main ceremony at the church. Of course, I took my camera and start to shoot again! When he try to tell me again, I said…I´m just following your words. This couple will have more pictures of the ceremony than the party

  91. 1

    Ok, will I go to hell for calling a ‘man of the cloth ‘a douche bag’? It was NOT ‘about God’, it was about the love of a couple who INVITED God to attend!!

    • 1

      I think its the other way around.
      Its God who invited them…

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      You will not go to hell for calling a clergyman a douche bag. You will go to hell because you have not put your faith in Jesus. God CREATED the union between a man a woman, so that the two become one. Do you really think he requires an invitation to a Catholic wedding? Where two or more are gathered in His name, :He is there!

  92. 1

    [sorry about my English]
    Well, you can say what you think and try to hide something else with the excuse of a “Priest from Hell” or that he reacted out of line.
    What I see is a lack of respect about a religion. Has a photographer, everywhere I shoot where I´m “trespassing” I talk with the “owner” or the “keeper” before, about my boundaries.
    Even outdoors, that´s the “House of God” or else the wedding was a charade. That´s where the Altar is, and from my knowledge, at the Altar, there is only one thing that stands bewind the Priest, that´s the Cross and Body of Christ and not a photographer.
    It´s easy to blame the Priest! Looking back, and reading your posts, I say you´ve met some really cool and forgiving Priests on your wedding shoots!
    Clearly nobody knows nothing about professionalism in this occasions. If you´re an atheist and want to shoot religious weddings try to learn and have some manners!
    So if you want, 3 advises before a Catholic wedding:
    1- Talk before with the Minister
    2- Never step the Altar or go behind the Minister
    3- Never shoot during the Homily
    After all the wedding its “not about photography its about God!”

  93. 1
    Lisa Smith

    “It’s about God” – but he thinks HE’S God, apparently. Given that people pay ministers from certain religions to conduct a wedding, he has no right to ruin their ceremony. The photographers may have been distracting, but how distracting was this pig of a man to interrupt the whole thing and embarrass everyone concerned. He gives God a bad name.

  94. 1
    Josh Nyenhuis

    It’s not all about God and it’s not all about the couple. The wedding ceremony is about making a commitment before God and before the people in attendance. The priest or minister is there to perform the ceremony, not rule over it as a czar. The priest was out of line, plain and simple.

  95. 1

    As a Lutheran Pastor, I think (some) photographers and videographers are jerks — and the jerkiness is increasing exponentially. I’ve had photographers bowl through the wedding party (and me) so they can get the “perfect” shots. They roam around the altar area, putting equipment on the altar, getting right behind me, shooting over my shoulder, one dip wad climbed on the communion rail. All of this violated the published wedding guidelines I gave the bride and groom in the first premarital counseling session. These photographers are the ones who make every effort to avoid me when I try to make contact with them about the church’s expectation of behavior in a worship service. Too many of them ignore my clear instructions and do their thing anyway. The thing is, I am always willing to stage the exchange of the ring, etc, after the service is over. I guess they believe that “staging” is somehow phony.

    Did the officiant behave badly? Yes. Did the “professionals” involved behave badly? They more than behaved badly. A good deal of the problem (and it’s reflected in the responses here) is that people don’t know how to behave in a worship setting. Many people are outright disrespectful and they show it.

    Want an example? Gary Fong has a video on Youtube in which he shows how one of his products is all that you need to photograph a wedding, even in the church building. He is talking, extolling the virtues of his product, while the wedding service (yes, it is a worship service for many of us) was going on. That’s totally disrespectful.

    Photographers and videographers are not the center of attention, just as I am not the center of attention when I officiate at a wedding. But if you are going to photograph or video an event, have the decency to talk with the officiant before hand and respect the boundaries he/she lays down. Also: it’s not the clergy person’s responsibility to seek you out; it your responsibility to seek him/her out. That’s the way professionals did it 20 years ago. Unfortunately, much of the professionalism is a thing of the past.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      Well said, Pastor! I have been a wedding photographer for almost 20 years, and you are correct on every count. (However, I always thought the phrase was something different than “dip wad!”

  96. 1

    Uh, not about God, its about the bride and groom.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      You’re wrong. The fact that a priest was officiating indicates the couple is Catholic. Catholic weddings ARE about God. They call it a mass and celebrate the Eucharist.

  97. 1

    To some people weddings aren’t about God, but to many people that is a crucial part of marriage. While the Priest was a bit of a prick about the whole thing and made way too much of a scene, the photographers definitely should have talked to him before the ceremony to check, I always do this before shooting ceremonies.

    Also I think speaks to the fact that our society feels the need to document every single frigging moment instead of learning to just let yourself be in the moment and cherish the memory not the photo. You will have how many other photos of that day, especially before and after! It’s such an important moment maybe what the Priest was getting at (not so politely) was that the photographers were ruining the moment, I know it would for me!

  98. 1
    Edward Crim

    A wise photographer clears everything with the officiant before the wedding. I think the priest was actually rather restrained and well within his rights to object to the photographers’ close proximity. If you listen to the video you can clearly hear the photographers shooting rapid fire (sprayin’ & prayin’ – that’s the way, boys!), and any distance from the b&g less than 30 feet could reasonably be considered intruding on the ceremony. If the priest starts noticing you, you’re in the way.
    R-E-S-P-E-C-T – find out what it means to those around you.

  99. 1

    Wow…Just…wow. I have a hard time believing that this was real.

    Yes, the photographers were being rude (loud clicking of the SLR), being right behind the priest with the video camera. I’ve seen other photographers who seemed to think that getting the best “shot” was the only thing that mattered. I’ve seen photographers in the middle of the aisle, during a Catholic Mass, on their knees trying to get shots of the bride and groom and frankly- it’s rude.

    The priest handled it badly- but I suppose he’s had to deal with a lot of dickishness from photographers and this was just one time too many.

  100. 1

    Actually the priest did a great job making the ceremony about God as I’m sure I’m not the only one whose first reaction to his rude outburst was “OH-MY-GOD!!!!”

  101. 1

    Everyone has an opinion, usually not favorable toward religion. We have now a story in this same web site titled: How to Quickly Lose Your Job As A Professional Sports Photographer? Working at a wedding venue, whether church or reception the rule is no different than working as a professional sports photographer.

    Like Anthony T’s article says: Before we go on, lets dissect this further. Wong was not where she was assigned to be, and due to that she ended up causing another photographer to lose the shot. Her first mistake was not understanding the rules of the venue in which she was shooting. Had she taken a few moments to understand the rules this – and likely what comes later- may not have happened.

    The question is not Christianity or other religions, It’s not about me and my shots, it’s not about the couple’s special day. Of course the day is their special day but the question here is the photographer’s attitude. How professional are we? Apparently Yankees Chief Photographer Ariele Goldman Hecht would not have accepted this either.

  102. 1

    priest gives you the death ray look…. and you still talk back and instigate the priest further ? photographer must be thick as a mule

  103. 1

    priest gives you the death ray look…. and you still talk back and instigate the priest further ? you must be thick as a mule

  104. 1

    I’m sorry guys but a huge majority of Americans do see a wedding as a religious activity. Especially if there is a priest involved. First you get the marriage license, then the ceremony. As photographers we need to remember that we are capturing a memory. I’ve only looked at my wedding album a few times in the last 21 years, but get a warm fuzzy when I remember the day. I am still married to the same guy. I remember my Pastor’s encouraging words and smile. The photographer took photos after our religious service.

    It’s also an important time for the family. Little Suzy is getting married : ) They want to feel the glow they once had at their wedding and reminisce. Photographers should be invisible at the wedding ceremony. Never ever interrupt this special moment! The priest seemed frazzled by the photographers interruptions. By the choice of the couple, he was put in charge of the ceremony.

    You can go bananas at a justice of the peace wedding tho : )

  105. 1

    Okay, so the shutter was annoying him. Why did he demand the videographer had to leave as well? Oh, that’s right, it’s all about god.

  106. 1

    That strange man is *not* a priest. A real priest isn’t allowed to officiate at outdoor ceremonies but in the CHURCH, if he wants to start talking sacrilege.

    • 1
      Chuck McLaughlin

      It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. There’s no doubt about you.

  107. 1
    Chuck McLaughlin

    I am a wedding photographer and side with the priest on this one. A professional photographer/videographer should never be a distraction. It looked like the photographer was on the stage/altar with the priest. WE DON’T KNOW WHETHER THE PRIEST PREVIOUSLY WARNED THE PHOTOGRAPHER TO MOVE, SO DON’T JUDGE before you have all the facts.. Does anyone REALLY think the priest reacted for no reason? It sounded like he finally reached his limit of patience. And while he was FIRM, he was not rude.
    And yes, a wedding ceremony IS a solemn religious ceremony. If the couple weren’t Catholic, a priest would not have been presiding.

  108. 1

    Your method of telling the whole thing in this
    article is really fastidious, every one be capable of effortlessly
    understand it, Thanks a lot.

  109. 1
    Carry On

    What’s up mates, good piece of writing and good arguments commented here, I am in fact enjoying by these.

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    Jesse Rinka

    Always always always talk to the priest or whoever is in charge of running the ceremony beforehand. They are all very different and each have their own “rules.” I also like to ask the couple during a consultation if they know the priest well or have a history with him…helps to know those types of things to prevent something like this from happening.

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    Jeff Morrison

    Too bad for the couple

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    Randy Renfro

    Sucks for the couple! Thanks for the video!

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    Donatas Vaiciulis

    What a douchebag.. man from hell