If you are a photographer whether: fine-art, product, architectural etc... you have probably been asked by a friend to photograph their wedding. Some photographers will gripe about their friends lack of knowledge about the field of photographer saying things like, "sure we all use cameras but then again a surgeon and a butcher use similar tools but you wouldn't ask one to do the others jobs." Of course the lines are far more blurred in photography when the end product of all the fields of photography are the same, a photograph.
I personally love photographing weddings, especially the wedding of a good friend. The only difficult thing I find about photographing a friends wedding is deciding when I should be the photographer and when I should be a guest and simply enjoy the day like everyone else. Well I shouldn't say only difficult thing, there are all sorts of obstacles with photographing weddings in Japan. In this case I was photographing at a very famous and popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo, Hie Jinja.
The main problem photographing at shrines or for that matter wedding halls is that they often don't allow outside photographers as they have their own photographers and photo packages. Sometimes you can bypass this restriction by paying an extra fee to bring in your own photographer, and sometimes if you are lucky they don't care but in general there will always be some kind of restriction. In the case here I was not allowed to photograph the actual ceremony but was allowed to photograph everything prior to and after the ceremony. In other instances where I am allowed to photograph the ceremony I may have to stand in only one spot, and am restricted in terms of when and what I can photograph.
In Japan, often you can't have your wedding cake and eat it too. If you want good photography at your wedding then choose the photographer first and then find a venue that would best accommodate your desire.