WEDDINGS IN MALTA – Supporting the official photographer on the wedding day

An experienced photographer would have a sequence of photos that are to be taken on the big day, normally starting at the residences, proceeding to the church/ceremony and/or the reception venue. He is literally the shadow of the bride and the groom. An experienced photographer would do this in a subtle way without making the couple feel uncomfortable. A professional is always very much aware of the time-frame during a wedding.

In this day and age here, in Malta, one would find a great number of wedding photographers who might be able to provide a coverage limited to delivery on a Pen-drive probably working from home through the online facilities however the true professional would be able to provide the customer with a complete service which also includes a customized artistic album.

An ideal and typical album should contain a mix of the formal and casual shots captured at the groom and bridal residencies normally referred to as the ‘getting-prepared stage’.

One should include details of the bridal gown including close-ups and the rest. The photographer here should give emphasis to the parents and immediate family present at the residences. A typical wedding in Malta would also consist of pictures illustrating the arrival of the bride at the church or the ceremonial venue.

Typically, the photographer must ensure that the process taking place at the church during the ritual is recorded in the official photos. This should include the readers on the podium, various angles of the couple, the consent, exchanging of the rings, the witnesses, the parents, some facial or spontaneous expressions by those present during the mass particularly the family members including the parents and of course the pageboy and the Flower Girl! A few formal poses at the end of mass would undoubtedly enhance any album too.

Moreover, although any professional photographer is expected to perform his job in a soft approach, the family members or guests should not in any way interrupt the photographer while on the job. On the other hand, the latter should not turn a blind eye on any advice or developments that might occur in the course of the wedding. Mutual co-operation is the logical path. Talking of wedding photography in Malta, the best approach is to ensure the right rapport between the newlyweds, the photographer, and possibly the wedding organizer. A true professional organizer normally would also guarantee a parking space for the official photographer and the videographer to ensure that the newlyweds would maximize when it comes to the time factor especially when considering the hefty price tag per minute in the overall cost of a wedding here in Malta.

The moment that the newlyweds step out of church is a great moment to be captured by the photographer. It is a moment of joy, action and big smiles depicting the family and friends throwing confetti. It is a great moment that cannot be missed to support the beauty of any album. In this situation, the wedding photographer should grab the opportunity to organize the well-wishers outside of the church. The same approach is applicable to civil and gay weddings where the confetti is normally thrown at the end of the ceremony as the newly-weds walk down the aisle. As regards the latter type of weddings the exchange of vows together with the signatures involving also the witnesses are the most important elements that are to be recorded by the official photographer.

Following the ceremony, it is common practice that the newlyweds and their photographer will go to a location for about twenty minutes to take some portraits at an appropriate backdrop normally a public garden or perhaps a beautiful sunset if the time frame permits. This might also involve the bridal party.

When it comes to the reception venue, from the moment of the arrival of the newlyweds at the venue till at least the first two hours or so the official wedding photographer is an extremely busy phase of the event. This is the moment that the photographer must be very efficient, fast and in command to perform a sequence of photos that are very important for the couple. The process would start with the welcome drink with the parents of both sides, the group photos together with some posed portraits. The photographer would then follow the couple from a distance to capture more candid and fun shots of friends and perhaps the extended family and guests.

This is followed by the first dance, cutting of the cake and photo-shooting those casual, fun moments till the end of the celebration. The wedding photographer might also be requested to cover the initial stage of the after-party in a more casual mode if this would be the case. When taking all the above into account, from what one can see, the photographer’s job is not that plain sailing. No wonder why in this day and age, a wedding in Malta could mean a good twelve hours of non-stop photography.

Since working in this field for more than three decades, I have experienced changes in local weddings where these days one would come across couples that take the preparation of their big day very seriously. I will mention just one aspect. During the eighties, a good photographer or a videographer on a typical Sunday could have covered not one, but two weddings on a single day just because the duration of a wedding would have been shorter. Now things have changed drastically in this respect. As I mentioned earlier, nowadays, a wedding lasts many more hours. Finally talking more out of my personal experience, this time around not as a professional photographer, my advice to any couple who are in preparation of their big day will always remain that it’s not the size or the extravaganza of the wedding that really matters but the real commitment and tolerance of the newlyweds towards each other in the years after that.
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