Behind the Lens, Part II

There’s a lot of mileage involved in shooting a wedding. The photographer follows the bride and groom from the time they get ready to the last song on the dance floor. To measure how much energy a photographer uses when photographing such an event, Terry and his primary photographer, JJ, strapped on their Fitbits to see how many steps they took.


The results were surprising—a combined 28,868 steps covering 13.09 miles… roughly the length of 230 football fields! All of this legwork was done at The Pierre in NYC, which in contrast to all the movement covered, takes up a corner of a block. You know Terry and JJ were hustling that day!

Guests have the impression that, on the day of, the photographers just take things as they happen and snap away. Every shot of the wedding is focused on telling the story of the day, and Terry’s team prepares to make that happen:

  1. Terry makes sure he gets a schedule from the wedding planner a week in advance.
  2. Based on years of experience, he pares down the timeline to the key moments the couple wants captured and the crunch moments he knows he and his shooting partner need to get the best angles
  3. The day before the wedding,Terry uses the floor plans of the venue to plan the day and get everyone on the same page with loading in, storage areas, shooting angles, and duties.
  4. Terry and the team plan sketch out which actions and areas they’ll cover throughout the day. He makes sure everyone knows where to shoot from in order to capture the important moments.

On the day of the wedding, Terry and the team will do a walkthrough of the spaces to ensure that their preparation lines up. This leads to shots like these:

With the ceremony taking place in the 4050 sq. ft. Cotillion Room, there was a lot of ground to cover. The way the seats were arranged and how the room was designed didn’t allow for a lot of movement.

Due to that, Terry saw that the biggest challenge was not blocking anyone’s view during the ceremony due to the chair placements. Pre-planning—finding the best vantage points and moving efficiently ensured that the team was capturing great shots from every angle and ensuring a distraction-free experience for the guests.

One of the most sought after but difficult moments in a wedding is the First Look, which is when the groom sees his bride in her wedding dress for the first time. 

Coordination was key here as well—they determined the positioning of the bride and groom. Terry was shooting from the front, and JJ was shooting from the back. And to ensure their subjects’ focus, Terry and JJ shot from angles where they wouldn’t be in each other’s shots.

Even with all the planning, it’s vital to capture the spontaneous moments. Like we said in the previous post, “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

And here’s one of the best parts about this job: capturing and cataloguing the split-second moments that pass people by. In the picture above, Terry was able to capture this perfect moment—the bride and groom’s eyes locked together, basking in their moment, surrounded by all their friends and family.

Even when the focus is on someone else, Terry and the team are looking where people aren’t. For example, during the best man’s speech, all eyes are on him—not on the bride and groom. As everyone is transfixed on the best man’s most embarrassing stories, Terry and the team keep on rolling: kneeling to get under guests’ lines of sight, and moving around to capture the moment from a different angle. The team exercises delicate care in making sure they’re never obtrusive or noticeable. The compliment Gruber Photographers aim for every time is “They got the best photos and I hardly remember seeing them.”

The execution comes with years of combined experience: the team knows how to best capture those most emotional moments—the delivery of the speech and, of course, when the best man lands his jokes. All at the same time, Terry’s team captures the reactions of the bride and groom—and later on, they can see for themselves how they felt during one of their night’s most anticipated highlights.

A wedding day means that there are countless moments to be captured—Terry and his team push themselves to capture every scripted and unscripted moment. They figuratively and literally go the extra mile when it comes to their job, so expect them to be fully prepared and ready to go the distance for your special day!

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