November 19, 2013

Photo Story: No Groom Left Behind


The more I photograph weddings, the more I realize how much of the industry is geared to appealing to the bride. Just take a look at bridal magazines or websites. Most of the time they are geared toward what she should wear or the latest trends for bouquets. Sure, you’ll see ads for formal wear companies and some beer ads that may satisfy some grooms’ interest in their own wedding. But in many of the weddings we shoot, the groom takes an active role in planning and making decisions about the big day. After all, there are two people getting married.

Unfortunately, when it comes to photography, the groom is often left out or treated as just another part of her day. Some photography companies will offer a single photographer package. This sounds like a great way to keep cost down but what happens when the groom and bride are getting ready at different locations? That’s usually when the photographer offers to hire a second shooter. And guess who this second shooter gets to cover: the groom. The primary photographer will shoot the bride in most cases, again adding to the traditional narrative that it’s her day. Again, the groom is not treated the same as the bride.

Second shooters are sometimes inexperienced photographers just out of photo school who are trying to get some miles under their belt. It’s a good experience for the second shooter, they get to practice their craft. But it’s often not a good experience for the bride and groom who may lose out on great photos because of the inexperience of a second shooter.

Part of our mission at Stark Bellamy Photography is to make sure we document every part of the wedding. That includes making sure the groom has someone with him at all times before the ceremony – not a second shooter, but a trained, experienced photojournalist. Had I not been with Aaron, the above photograph of him writing down his wedding vows would have been missed. I probably would have been with his bride and her bridesmaids making photos as they moved at a glacial pace getting dressed, doing hair and getting ready for the ceremony. I knew Eric was making those photos so I spent my time looking for those quiet moments of the groom before the big event.

I try not to deal in stereotypes, but in my experience, the guys typically get ready far sooner than the ladies. Guys often sit around shooting the bull until just before showtime, then it’s a flurry of activity to get dressed and head off to the venue. Wouldn’t you rather have an experienced photojournalist there to react when the time comes, rather than a second shooter who might get flustered in that flurry of activity. Often, the photos our couples like best are the ones that show pre-wedding jitters or the funny events that happen out of nervousness of the moment. We’ve know how to look for these moments.

We like to say you get two of us for the price of one and a half since our package prices stack up with those offering just one photographer or a primary photographer with a inexperienced second shooter. But the value you get in having that second experienced eye will make all the difference: we’ll be sure to offer equal coverage for your wedding day and not miss a thing. If you like the idea of two pairs of experienced eyes on your wedding, contact us.

Chris Stark
Wedding Photojournalist at Stark Bellamy Photography
Chris Stark is an award-winning photojournalist and former news photographer who honed his craft at several Colorado newspapers. Documentary wedding photography translates perfectly into Chris' fly-on-the-wall style. Chris lives in Longmont, Colorado with his wife and daughter and spends his free time on the bike or hiking with his family.