SNAP Wedding Photography Conference and Workshops
AWedding photography workshop confrence gathering summit -38.jpg


HOW TO: Shoot Like You're Swimming

How's your week treating you?  

If you missed last week's useful HOW TO about managing your work flow, you can check it out here.  It's full of useful tips about all of that business stuff. Go see.  

Today's rather splendid HOW TO is brought to you by SNAPster Andrew Billington and here's what he has to say: 

I grew up in the 70s and loved to go swimming. Plastered everywhere around the pool was this sign and I think it's burnt deep into my psyche because it's also now how I approach photographing a wedding day:

I have a 'hands-off', unposed documentary approach to photography. Following a few simple swimming pool rules allows me to have the least amount of impact on the wedding day, enabling me to photograph the day as it unfolds, as naturally as I can.

No Running

Running around on the wedding day, sprinting from shot to shot, would disrupt the day way too much for me.

I'm not matching the rhythm of the day. 'Softly softly catchee monkey' as they say in the Boy Scouts.

If I see a photograph I want to take I walk to it. If the scene has moved on by the time I get there then I'm sure something else will be happening. Running to it I might get the one photograph but I'm certain it will stop me getting the next six as everyone becomes aware of my huffing puffing and bobbing around.

No Shouting

If there is an element of 'formal' photography to be organised I'm never to one to shout for or gather guests. I make sure the couple have designated a member of the wedding party to bring together family and guests.

It means I can continue looking for interesting photographs whilst people are gathered. I don't suddenly become the annoying, shouty photographer spoiling the fun and making everyone stand around whilst the canapés pass by.

No Pushing

There are many set pieces in the wedding day that guests clamour to photograph for themselves – signing of the register, cutting of the cake, First Dance – and I'm always happy for anyone to get any photograph they desire of the day. I'm not going to be pushing them out of the way to get 'my' shot, however they might find that they are part of the photograph that tells the story of that part of the day for my point of view.

No Acrobatics

I'm not going to draw attention to myself by hanging from a lightshade to get an amazing angle either – certainly not at an inappropriate time anyway.

I've been told by two different vicars the same story of a photographer walking up and laying on the floor between the couple and the vicar during the exchange of rings to get a 'unique' point of view. Who do you think the family and guests were looking at during that moment, not the couple that's for sure.

No Bombing

I'm always aware other people enjoy taking photographs of the wedding too so I try as much as possible to not walk across their shots. They seem to appreciate it and it doesn't paint me as the arrogant pro only thinking abut his own photography.

Obviously as the day goes on and people get drunker I try to photobomb as many group photos as I can.


Follow these few simple 'rules of the pool' and I guarantee that wedding days will be more relaxed, welcoming and spontaneous.

Finally, I'm married to the lovely Rachel but if you are single it's up to you whether you follow the 'No Petting' rule.....

All images (c) Andrew Billington

To hear more from Andrew check out his workshops: "Creative Thinking and Documentary Technique: A small intimate workshop aimed at sharing practical ways to work more creatively, attract the couples you want (and want you), build confidence & take better photographs."