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Pat Dy on Intimate Weddings, Rapid Tests, and SDEs

Have you been thinking about how your wedding documentation teams are going to capture your memories safely? While we can easily assume that they will probably be socially distanced from us when they shoot, there are many other tasks and things to consider for photographers and videographers which may not come to mind to clients and celebrants. For one--are we still going to be able to shoot the couple per table with their guests? What about the trend of engagement sessions abroad, can this still be done? Pat Dy, author of the first Philippine wedding photography book Love Behind the Lens and top wedding photographer, talked to about wedding photography in the new normal.

Read his thoughts on rapid tests, protocols, SDEs, and engagement shoots below.

On Intimate Weddings

Intimate weddings, mas ramdam. Everyone’s talking, everyone’s focusing. Sometimes ‘pag sobrang daming guests, half of them hindi nakikinig. Ito, kita mo, the environment was really quiet. In the zone, nakikinig lahat. Ramdam mo, everyone’s listening to what they’re saying.

[When shooting,] whatever is there, we work with it and we also move things around so that we can get a cleaner shot. What’s nice about intimate weddings is there is more time to shoot the couple. Siyempre before, ang laki ng entourage, ang daming nangyayari throughout the day, parang sometimes may A to Z ng nangyayari. And then after Z, back to A nanaman! Sometimes we’re stuck in this box that we need to do all these pictures, etc. etc., nawawala na yung totoong essence ng wedding, it’s just for show.

75% of couples who work with us always say “We want a smaller wedding but our parents want a big one”--I was joking the other day—they always want to invite the whole barangay. But now is the best time to do an intimate wedding!

On Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Labati’s Civil Wedding 

I think Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Labati’s wedding gave a lot of couples an idea on how to do their civil wedding. Of course, since they are celebrities, napansin na “Uy it’s possible to have a beautiful, intimate wedding”. So I guess na-inspire rin lahat because of this wedding.

On the Same Day Edit (SDE)

It’s going to be a post edit. Number two, the SDE was designed for guests who will not be able to make it to the church. Or when it’s a big group—at the hundreds—and they’re way at the back. So they can’t really see what’s happening at the church, etc. Ngayon sa intimate weddings, wala nang SDE since nakikita naman lahat that’s happening with the limited number [of guests]. And in terms of photo and video, for the future events we’ll be doing, we’re trying to push for at least two photographers and two videographers. Number one, angle and safety—kasi what if ma-cover ka and hindi makunan yung what’s needed—so maganda pa rin two photographers and we’re pushing for that.

On Engagement Shoots

Wala nang mga abroad shoots, some couples are opting for maybe next year nalang. Maybe like a post-wedding portrait session na. We have a few couples inquiring, that since we have a studio, why not do it in the studio? Nagpa-advise ako sa mga doctor friends ko and sabi nila, it’s more risky to have it indoor. Just have it outdoors, better. When they’re having their makeup, iwasan nalang muna yung kwentuhan with the couple, have the makeup artist and the hair person with the bride. Then dress up, then come out and shoot. Then we can start taking photos. So iwasan yung hanging out in one small area.

On Protocols and Rapid Testing

I’ve also come up with protocols for my team—of course the face shields and face masks. And the biggest question right now is is how are we going to test our suppliers, if they are covid-free? For the next wedding, most probably, if you’re going to have us tested, it’s better if it’s just an hour or two before. I’ve heard with other weddings, let’s say the call time is 3 PM, they are asked to come at 9 AM. 9 AM because there are many who will be tested and that is the schedule of the technician. Our answer there is, if they are going to wait for six hours just to shoot your ceremony, they’ll already be so tired just waiting around with all their face masks and shields. So one or two hours before is enough. And have it on site. Don’t make them go somewhere else that’s far and hot—everyone will encounter difficulty and the quality of the work of your suppliers will suffer.

If the couple wants to have us tested, the correct way is to have it done on the day itself. In our protocols, we’ve also stated that we can find a testing facility that is close to or nearby to us before we proceed to your wedding. If you have a medical technician or nurse who can administer on site, the better. Just not six hours before. Just one or two only.

Related: A Photographer's Checklist for Your Wedding

On the wedding day, everyone should really go through the rapid test—suppliers, guests, the couple. Family pictures inside the hotel room, iiwasan na yan kasi masyadong enclosed. If you’re doing family pictures, maybe at the lobby? Or inside the big function room so that there’s spacing. The other thing in our protocols, if there is someone with an underlying condition, like a cough or is sick, please do not enter the room anymore. Don’t force yourself.

Watch the full Love Wins Live Forum with Pat Dy, Yong Ferrer, Jervy Santiago, and Paul Vincent by clicking the link.

Photograph courtesy of Pat Dy
Photograph courtesy of Pat Dy
Photograph courtesy of Pat Dy
Photograph courtesy of Pat Dy