The ethical considerations of filming at weddings.
Individual online privacy.
When I get a booking I am careful to take note of what my clients say in terms of data privacy. This usually boils down to whether there is any problem getting everyone on film and then crucially creating a short highlights video online which is available for public view for anyone to see.
Everyone has the right to privacy but it is not practicable to ask everybody at a wedding whether it is acceptable to film them before the camera starts to roll.
What I can do is take note of what the couple request so if you know that there is a very good reason why particular people should not be filmed, as long as I am able to identify them I can usually try to avoid filming them. Again this is not fool proof. If there are any individuals who should not be shown online then the safest option is for me to load a highlights version as private first so that you as a couple can check it, before making it available for public viewing. But please let me know if this is what you want me to do first, otherwise I will assume that there are no reasons why everyone at the wedding cannot be shown publicly.
What you see is what you get.
I film what I see happening.
I don’t try and pose people as you’ve probably already got a photographer doing that. I also don’t use any special editing software to beautify the images I get. I have played with software that does beautify the human face for still images but the results tend to be rather unsubtle and as far as I know there is no equivalent for film.
What I will do is try and capture images of people at their best. For the bride and bridesmaids this is usually towards the end of the hair and makeup session. This is why I don’t plan to be there for the start of the hair and makeup. I would much rather capture the later stages of hair and makeup as I know that done right, the transformation can be quite dramatic. I’d rather be there towards the end to capture you at your best, which is how your guests are going to see you arriving at the ceremony.
Often a make up artist will use their own lighting to make sure that the makeup is being applied in the correct shade and the lighting they use sometimes can be very flattering to the female face. So I am always very excited to see a makeup light as I often get some gorgeous images as a result. Some hotels also have very soft flattering lighting in their rooms which I can use to good effect.
Your photographer will also be looking for the most flattering poses in the most flattering lighting. He or she will be trying to avoid direct sunlight from above at midday which casts shadows under eyes and chins. This is why a photographer on a bright summer’s day will often head for the shade of trees or look for photo opportunities where the lighting is from the side such as by a window. I’m the same and the photographer and me can work together in that respect. The only difference being that I will also be looking for opportunities to take slow motion footage which I love.
Things you might not expect from the film
Not your best side.
Some people are very self conscious about seeing themselves ‘in the best light’. As I have said I will always try and take film which is flattering wherever possible. I may occasionally make a judgment call and edit out clips which I think you might not want people to see but I cannot always get that absolutely right. If you make a slip in speaking during the ceremony and have to correct yourself then that would seem odd to remove it. If the celebrant calls you by the wrong name and had to be corrected then as far as I’m concerned that is all part of the events of the day that I am there to record.
If one of your guests starts to become embarrassing then I may take a different view. If it’s something that I feel you wouldn’t want to keep seeing when you look back on your big day in the future then I would probably leave it out. In fact I probably wouldn’t start filming it in the first place.
With all the best intentions there may be footage that you don’t like. I have had a couple complain about flashes on the film until I pointed out that on the film you could clearly see the photographer and his assistant, both with flash units mounted on their cameras. I am not going to say to a photographer that they can’t use flash as their style and the quality of the results they produce probably relies on it. You’ve probably paid them a lot of money to get those results but you do need to be aware that you might see those flashes on my film and just like news broadcasts on TV I can warn you that ‘what you are about to see may contain flashing images’ but there is nothing I can do to remedy that.
As a male, I am particularly interested in what makes a woman beautiful. When I think about what I notice first about the female face I realise that for me it’s all about the eyes. The eyes for me are the portals to the soul and I believe that you can tell a lot about people just by looking into their eyes.
In recent years I have tried to develop my drawing and painting skills and I am very interested in portraiture especially of the female form and especially the eyes.
I hope you will enjoy the images that I capture on film too and recognise the spirit in which they are taken which is my desire to capture you at your best on your most special day.