Signing The Register – The facts : Did you know that it’s standard practice in this country to be told that you are not allowed to photograph the official signing of the register? Generally, with very few exceptions, even your official wedding photographer is not allowed to photograph this important part of the ceremony.
Very difficult to document your wedding accurately if you have to re-enact the official signing after the fact. Lots of cheesy smiles and fake poses with pen in hand. Not my style and certainly not what my clients expect.
Did you also know that there is no law whatsoever which precludes the photographing of the signing. Many clergy and registrars are just mis-informed or simply misunderstand the law and blame copyright and data protection laws. Not true, since the official documents are a matter of public record and not private in any way. I’ve even been told that I cannot photograph the official document since I might use the pictures to forge the couples signatures. (Of course, I could do that if I forge the same signatures on my wedding photography contract with the couple) Another wonderful excuse often given is that if I were to photograph them during the signing, I may make the couple somehow loose concentration and mess up their own signature. (That excuse always makes me smile)
Remember, it’s your wedding day.
Make sure, when you meet your registrar or clergy in charge of the ceremony, that they are aware of the law. Request that they allow the photographer to go about their business of actually documenting your wedding. At the same time, make sure that the photographer is allowed to stand in a good position to be able to photograph the entire ceremony in the first place. On ocassion I’ve arrived at a Church to be told I have to stand at the back for the entire duration. Definately not what my couples would want. (I mostly know the ‘difficult’ venues now after many years experience and flag these issues up to couples well in advance)
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of signings… Please tell me why so many signing tables are placed in unattractive places. A typical place is right in front of a window with an untidy display of cars in the car park right outside. A typical way of photographing this scene would be to light the couple with flash and evenly balance exposure with the brighter light outside the window. The result of course would be a mess of perfectly exposed carpark behind the couple. Not a pretty picture. In fact, exactly as the eye would see it on the day.
My preference, when faced with an ‘unattractive’ environment is to ‘beautify’ it. After all, in ten years, you don’t need to remember that car park.
I reduce the flash, or take it off completely, and expose for the couples faces. The result is a light and airy picture with completely blown out, white windows. Look, just like magic, no cars, no trees, no background business.
While I’m at it, I’ll also take off that ridiculous plastic pot plant, mini hedge, green afro type thing that is always plonked right on the table, in front of the book. I’ll take it off and place it on the floor. (I’ll make a mental note to return later and incinerate it for all time)