We’ve taken plenty of altar shots over the years. You now the ones we mean. Gather all the family at the front of the church after the ceremony and fire away. There’s nothing terribly technical in the shots. From a photographic standpoint, there’s probably not anything that exciting in them either. However, I will also be the first to admit they are some of the most important images we take, and I don’t want to minimize them in any way. They tend to be ones cherished by mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. It’s the entire family gathered to celebrate, and really how often does that happen. In my family, it’s not a lot.
But I also think if you are leaving the church after those photos to head to the reception or some other place to do some photos of the couple you are missing an opportunity. I’ve seen photographer after photographer pass on the opportunity to use the back of the church for some images, and I don’t understand why. Consider this, if you shoot from the back of the church toward the front you can get amazing depth of field, dotted with colors and warm tones. You can also use the geometry of the pews to help frame the photo and add texture. It’s a great place to shoot and really should not be ignored.
Below are a few examples of Jeff and Jolene, some friends we shot a few weeks ago. The photos were taken with one off-camera flash through an umbrella and took no more then 5 or 10 minutes to do, and they look great. So shoot those images at the front of the church, but before you leave take five minutes and use the back of the church. You might be surprised and wondering why you haven’t been doing it for years.