To talk us through the best man’s role in wedding photography is none other than Jill Person, co-owner of Person + Killian Photography. Person + Killian is one of the hottest, most-beloved and -sought after wedding photography teams in Boston. Their photographs have been featured in many major publications and TV shows, and their work has received more than a handful of accolades. (So many, in fact, that we'll just let P+K tell you about them in their own words.) Here is our conversation with Ms. Person, filled with tips and advice for best men-to-be:
BESTMANSPEECHWRITER.com: Are there certain times during the wedding day that the best man is heavily photographed?
Jill: Most photos of the best man would be during a few portions of the day – helping out the groom get ready (bowties, etc), maybe a formal shot of just the groom and his best man (but not always), and then, of course, the toast. Also, we rely on the best man to help keep the groom on schedule when getting ready.
During the best man’s speech, are there specific moments or reactions you look out for? Also, who do you mostly point your lens at during the best man speech - the best man, groom, groom and best man, groom and bride, guests, or a combination of all?
Definitely a combo of all – a few of the best man himself, and the couple, close family members and friends’ reactions to the speech. And, usually, we look for a good reaction to a joke in the speech or to the toast itself at the end of it as well as a hug from the couple when it is over.
Besides happiness and a smile, are there other emotions or gestures that photograph well?
Joking around and reactions to gifts the groom gives to his groomsmen (which, oftentimes, is a personalized item).
What is your #1 pose pet peeve?
Our shots are not so much posed, as they are kind of natural and relaxed. We don’t mind if the groom and his groomsmen want to be a little silly in some shots (sometimes this happens) but we just ask that they also let us get a few more “formal” shots as well. An example of a “formal” and natural shot is the groom and groomsmen walking and talking.
Is there a flattering pose and/or angle for men to take photos?
Men tend to look better when they’re being photographed more straight on or at just a slight angle.
Is there a color, pattern, and/or material that doesn’t photograph well?
We see everything from black to navy, royal blue to tan, various shades of gray and all look great when the colors match and compliment one another. Also, we occasionally get asked about which shade of white will look best under a man’s shirt. White comes in many shades and we think bright white looks and photographs best.
Can the best man help you and your team in any way during the wedding?
Absolutely – especially if the best man is a family member or long-time friend who knows who the various aunts, uncles, etc. are. We usually ask either the best man or the maid-of-honor to help with searching for the family members or guests needed for certain pictures versus asking the bride and groom. We like to keep the couple, as well as their parents, close by during the formal shots to keep conversations with guests at a minimum and the “formal” time going more smoothly.
What is your all-time favorite photograph of a best man?
I love the moment when the bride is about to walk down the aisle and the groom and best man are waiting for her to walk through the door. With the excitement and natural nerves of the day, it always helps the groom to have the best man by his side.
By now you have probably "sat" through a lifetime's worth of best man speeches. From your experience and perspective as a wedding photographer, can you share with us:
Your #1 best man speech pet peeve?
Too much digressing on college parties, etc. Maybe the most uncomfortable I ever saw the couple and guests were when the best man talked about the groom’s ex-wife during his toast. Also, the best man should really know the crowd who will be at the wedding and keep that in mind while writing his speech.
The key ingredients to a great toast by the best man?
May sound obvious but short, sweet, and to the point (not so short but maybe a minute or 2 tops). It’s okay to put a couple of funny things in the speech so long as they are not going to make people uncomfortable, and saying something sweet about the person the groom is marrying is generally, if not always, a good idea.
How a best man is treated after giving a good speech versus a bad one?
If it’s a heartfelt speech, there are lots of laughter, hugs from both the couple as well as the groom’s parents; and it is always nice to see these reactions and be able to capture them in photos.
Again, a big thanks to Jill of Person + Killian Photography for graciously taking time out of her jam-packed schedule to share with us her expertise and advice. For more information on Jill , read this or visit their website, www.personkillian.com. And, keep in mind Jill’s tips on “posing” (stand flush to the camera or at an angle), how you can help photographers during the wedding day (locate certain individuals during the “formal” shots), and speech writing (keep your audience in mind while writing).