Celebrity Wedding Logistics: The Ins and Outs of Photographing Notable Nuptials
by Jacqueline Tobin and Jessica Gordon
April 14, 2014 —
When ‘N Sync founding member Chris Kirkpatrick tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Karly Skladany this past November at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel near Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, Marc Anthony and Tony Ryan—who together make up Marc Anthony Photography out of Cleveland, Ohio—were the designated shooters for the special day. “It was our first celebrity wedding,” explains an excited Marc, who has photographed mostly high-society nuptials over the past ten years. He adds that he and Tony take on only about 20 weddings a year so that they can go after high-end clientele and build personal relationships with them (see “Perfect Chaos,” Rangefinder March 2013) .
Wedding planner Brenda Kucinski of Socially Artistic Events, whom Marc and Tony had worked with in the past on socialite shoots, fought for the duo to shoot this particular wedding. “She was really the one who suggested us for the shoot,” says Tony, “the main reason being [other than her already being familiar with their work] that, while the client’s management team was really pushing to hire famous fashion and art photographers, the planner kept saying that the couple really needed to have someone present who knew how to shoot weddings unobtrusively while still producing gorgeous imagery.”
Landing the Job
Not only did the work on the website speak volumes for the duo, the fact that the photographers’ personalities aligned so well with the wedding couple was also a plus. “[The bride] was concerned with potential hires being starstruck because there were going to be a lot of celebrities at the wedding; she just wanted us to be ourselves, to be relaxed and interact with everyone like we would anyone else,” Marc explains. To help further that along, the pair was invited to the rehearsal dinner to mix and mingle, and get to know everyone ahead of time.
“One thing we prepped the couple for was that to tell the whole story, we really wanted to have male getting ready shots,” says Tony. “Chris totally agreed,” especially since—as the groom told People magazine in an exclusive once the photos were released—“we were getting ready together in the bathroom, and we laughed that the bathroom was bigger than some of our dressing rooms. We joked and laughed a lot; it really was like how things used to be.” For Marc and Tony, capturing those types of moments and feelings, of friends and band mates reunited was key to capturing the day successfully.
“When I was doing Chris’s pictures, Justin [Timberlake] went into the bathroom off the main room to groom his hair and stuff and he was singing to himself,” says Marc. “Just like he probably would at home.”
Adds Tony: “Out of respect to Chris, we treated him as we would any other groom and put the spotlight on him, and then we did a series of just him with the other four members of the band and got some interesting shots of them around a pool table, getting ready and also horsing around outside. They were already used to being in front of cameras, so we were able to get some great shots that highlighted the natural rapport between them.”
Challenges to Overcome
In terms of rights and licensing, Marc says they had to negotiate a contract that worked for everyone. The contracts are sealed with confidentiality clauses, so they can’t get into details, but they did work with the couple and their legal team to handle what shows up in the media and that it depicts the couple and their families and friends in the right light. “We have ownership of the images with the couple,” Tony adds. “Anytime people want to order prints or photos, we have to get approval from Chris and Karly.”
One thing to keep in mind, though, says Marc, is privacy and discretion. “These types of people have such public lives, so trust is key. If you’re on social media sharing photos of your session and talking about client experiences, it scares them off. We released to the media only the images they permitted us to release. And we couldn’t even tell our own families we were shooting their wedding. All our families knew was that we were going to Florida to shoot a wedding!”
Other Notable Nuptials
Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock
Photo © Koby & Terilyn Brown/Archetype Studio, Inc.
October 20, 2013
“For this shot, we used an on-camera flash pointed up with white card for catchlights, and a Lasolite Tri-grip white reflector for soft fill. It was shot with a Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm f/1.2L at ISO 2001/125 sec f/2.5. Our biggest goal is to be a positive impact on the wedding day, not an interference. Our previous engagement shoot with the couple in England made the wedding day very comfortable, especially during such a private event.”
Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky
Photo © Genevieve de Manio Photography
July 31, 2010
“The task of being sworn to secrecy about any details regarding the wedding was the biggest challenge of this wedding. Only a few images were released, and other than that, everything else has to remain private. It was an honor to be asked to record this historical event; every part of it was special.”
Lake Bell and Scott Campbell
Photo © Margot Landen Photography
June 1, 2013
“I will never forget that beam of light that surrounded Lake and her father as they walked down the aisle. The doors swung open and the sunset poured in behind them, creating this glow that any photographer would dream of capturing. I could sense the reaction throughout the chapel. It was an honor to have had the best seat in the house.”
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