There are certain parts of the wedding day where magical things happen for us photographers, here we discuss those moments immediately after the ceremony where everyone is full of smiles, huge hugs and eager to congratulate the happy couple.

There’s none better than Andrew Billington at getting brilliant shots of these real moments and so we quizzed him a little about his approach.

I know you love the first 15 minutes after the ceremony, can you tell us why you feel this is such a key part of the wedding day?

I think it’s a great part of the day to capture emotions. The couple leave the church or ceremony room usually first and then family and friends flood out to congratulate them – shooting fish in the proverbial barrel for a photographer. The one thing I don’t want to start doing is putting people in lines and shooting formals or a big group shot. That totally kills it.

Do you ever intervene with this and get the couple to stand in a certain place (like good light) or just go with the chaos as it unfolds?

I never move the couple to better light or a prime position – if I start doing this then they’ll look at me all day for guidance before they move anywhere. If people are hesitant to leave the church because they think I’m doing some special ‘photographer’ stuff with the couple I walk far away from the couple and that encourages people to actually come out and congratulate them.

You seem to get in really close for these photos, can you share some tips on how to be a stealth ninja and not be noticed?

I get in close all the time. I don’t photograph a wedding from the outside looking in. I don’t know if there are any tips for getting close other than giving yourself permission to do so. I’m still reluctant to step up sometimes and have to push myself – but I know the shots will be better if I do. It’s partly a matter of confidence I think. I know the photo I’m looking for, sometimes I have to be ‘close and wide’ to get it, so as a photographer it’s my job to be in that place. Which is sometimes 12 inches away from a very emotional person!

Any other tips you can share with us about your process for getting so many brilliant shots immediately after the ceremony?

Don’t concentrate solely on the couple or the bride. Look around and see what else is happening. Step back sometimes – I want to get a wide scene setting shot of everyone outside the church too so I’ll walk away from what’s going on and find a wall or something similar to stand on.

Many thanks to Andrew Billington for sharing his approach and some great photos with us!

Andrew Billington –