Two pieces of only slightly snarky advice for wedding photographers (and the couples hiring them)

Another wedding season has drawn to a close. Now that my DJ partner and I don’t advertise and actively turn away weddings that don’t appeal to us, we are doing considerably fewer gigs each year.

We did a total of 8 weddings this year, down from our record total of 48 several years ago when we were actively pursuing business and promoting our company. I served as minister and DJ at last weekend’s wedding, a dual role that I seem to be doing a lot lately.

People apparently like the one-stop shopping aspect of the DJ/minister.

Even though I’ve only worked 8 weddings this year, I am not without a handful of stories, wedding advice and lessons learned from my 17th year as a wedding DJ.

Here are two pieces of advice for wedding photographers:

  • If the number of photographers on the dance floor during the newlyweds’ first dance meets or exceeds the number of people actually dancing, you have done something seriously wrong. Guests should not be craning their necks around two or more photographers in order to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom dancing.

At my most recent wedding, for example, the bride and groom enjoyed their first dance while two photographers stood side by side with them on the dance floor, less than 10 feet away,and a third stood just off the dance floor, also obstructing the guests.

At the most, there should be one photographer on the dance floor at any one time, and if the dance floor is small enough (as this one was), is it too much to ask to stand just off the dance floor for most, if not all, of their dance?

  • The cake cut is not a photo-shoot. It is a ceremonial event that should be enjoyed by the bride and groom with minimal intrusion from any of their vendors. As such, wedding photographers should not be the ones directing the newlyweds through the cake cutting process. The result is often a stilted, disjointed affair that provides the photographers with ideally posed shots and superior angles but strips the fun of the experience from the bride and groom. If you need to pose a shot or two before the cake cutting begins, fine. But then back the hell away.


At my most recent wedding, the photographers directed the entire cake cut, nudging me out of the process entirely.

There were three of them. I was outnumbered.

As a result, the bride and groom’s every move was choreographed, paused, adjusted and paused again before proceeding. It wasn’t a cake cut. It was a series of frozen moments designed to maximize the photographer’s performance.

Not cool.