Why are we giving you advice? You hired us and we work for you right? Yes it is your day but keep in mind this is the first time that you are having your wedding and it is like the hundredth time for us. We have some gentle suggestions that will help make your day less stressful. Although it is common for a few things to not go as planned on the morning of the wedding, we have put together a list of common ideas that can help prevent running late by planning your day in such a way that will minimize the time delay.
Time-line for photography: It is helpful for everyone to be on the same page and to get the photography that the bride and groom wants. The timeline can be given to everyone in the wedding party during the wedding rehearsal. Remind them to smile and be willing to participate. It is their gift to the bride and groom as their image will forever be a part of your memories of the day.
Take time for your photos. At least thirty minutes or even one hour should be set aside for the bride and groom for creative photos on the wedding day. After the wedding is over no one will care about 2 hours of photos of people dancing. This is your day so it's ok to set aside time for you. Everything else that is planned will be with this goal in mind.
DETAILS: We will spend a 5-10 minutes on getting details of your dress, shoes, rings, flowers, decorations, sanctuary, candles and guest book. It is helpful to have your dress, shoes, rings and flowers in one place at the beginning of the day. You can appoint someone to have them in a certain area and tell us the name of the person to ask for and the location where we can find them. After we finish taking the photographs the items can be taken back to the bride. The other images will be taken throughout the day.
Prep Shots: This is photojournalist part of the day.
HAIR AND MAKE-UP: Usually takes much longer than planned so allow extra time. It is HIGHLY recommended to plan to have both hair and make-up finished BEFORE we arrive for the photographs. Otherwise, you may not get the photographs you want. We can take photographs of the last touches of putting on the make-up such as lipstick or blush etc. and the last touches of doing the hair such as putting on hairspray. Doing it this way the bride looks beautiful but we capture that part of the day with her getting ready.
DRESS AND SHOES: Allow 30 minutes to put on your dress and shoes. If there is extra time, we have a bonus of getting special bridal photographs. We also like to get special photographs with the bride and mother right after the bride gets her dress on. It is a special moment. Mom can help or pretend to zip or button the dress. We can highlight the image of her hands helping her daughter.
Groom and groomsmen getting ready. This can be putting on ties or cufflinks etc. This can be a fun time. Some guys have all had the same color of socks such as pink or green or they have had super-hero shirts underneath their dress shirts and unbuttoned their shirts for a photograph. They can all wear sunglasses or cowboy hats for example. Something that they all have in common. We will do the groom and his guys portraits after these getting ready shots.
Take some pressure off of yourself and appoint a friend or family to make some of the decisions during the day. You could have them talk to the caterer or florist for example so you can stay cool and unfazed.
FIRST LOOK: This can be a special time for the couple. It allows for a special time alone for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time with the bride in her dress and we capture the expressions of both your faces. The bridal party will need to be at the wedding two hours early so that we can get all the bridal party photographs before the wedding. It allows for extra time for these photographs that are more relaxed.
IF YOUR NOT DOING A FIRST LOOK: We recommend that you dedicate some time for your couple’s photos both after the ceremony and after the formal family photos. Also take 15 minutes during your reception to get away for some special portraits. In order to give you the photos you want we need some time in front of the camera. Remember that the photographs you end up with will depend on the amount of time we have to photograph you.
FORMAL FAMILY PHOTOS. Allow at least 30 minutes. Please assign a wrangler (a person who knows your family) from both sides of the family with a grouping list. They will help us to get the family photos you want. Allow about 3 minutes for each group. This will help you determine how much time you will need for family photos.
If the timeline is not followed the way it is planned we will adjust it to the time that is available for photographs. Please be aware that some of the photographs will not be taken.
What about bad weather on your wedding day or portrait session?
Weather is sometimes unpredictable. We check weather forecast the night before and prepare for it. We look at radar and hourly forecasts from multiple sources. For weddings we embrace the challenge of the weather and have prepared in advance to capture and create stunning images. Don’t worry you’ll be in good hands. For portrait sessions, we have some flexibility and we will communicate prior to the session. We feel that overcast weather makes for great soft light and stormy skies give some creativity to portraits as well. We have even had clients who want the raindrops in the background because it looks cool. If weather does not permit our session to be fulfilled. We will be happy to reschedule your session once at no additional cost.
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Table Shots – Table shots are when you go around visiting tables. There are two options for photography during this time. 1) You can take formal pictures with each of these tables or 2) we can simply focus on photojournalism, capturing the smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table. If you’re planning on doing formal table shots, please keep in mind that these will take a significant time (up to 1 hour or more depending on the size of your wedding). We highly recommend option 2, the photojournalism route with exceptions for the VIP table.
I felt the time has come to write about a very growing trend that has not really affected me – until now. As you know, with the ease of use of cell phones, iPads, etc many people can have instant gratification and take photos and videos and upload them to Facebook and share. This is innocent enough and I will be the first to tell you, that it’s none of my business what your family and friends do at your wedding – with their own mobile devices and cameras.
But aside from that, the issue lies when family and friends take the role or “position” of professional photographer (at times literally and physically) hired to photograph the wedding.
For a moment, put yourself in my shoes. My main goal at a wedding is to be “unobtrusive” to the best of my ability. That’s what you are paying me for. This is accomplished by the use of zoom lens and a variety of different photographic techniques. Imagine, you are coming down the aisle and you have all your family and friends looking at you with cell phones etc in front of their faces. Your family and friends will not see me because I blend in. All of a sudden…a well-meaning family member or friend will stick their arm out into the aisle to get the “perfect view” or (worse yet) jump in the aisle, get the shot and jump back into their seat.
Now, not only do I have to wait for them to get out of the way, but I miss what could have been an awesome photo of your expression at that moment. Sad to say that the person who got my shot will not be lit properly and most likely be fuzzy.
Let me give you another example. Let’s say that a family member or guest who has a “better” camera and not a mobile device. They decide to go behind you (yes…it happens) when you are doing your vows and ring exchanges. That person will be in every photo from my view and if you want them removed from the photo, it will cost you money to remove that person. I can’t run up to that person and say “your in my photograph, you need to move” but I wish I could.
It is not my intention to be difficult or demanding with this. I am NOT against mobile devices. But if they have their faces blocked by a piece of glass, are they with you? You will be getting your photographs in 48 hours or less and everyone will have access to them. But I get it that it’s instant gratification.
It’s your wedding and you are paying me to do my job. You are the boss. But I need to make all my couples aware of what is happening. Not for my benefit, but for yours.I want to do an awesome job for you. However these days, I sadly have to protect myself from situations that are clearly beyond my control.
What I am suggesting is at the very least – announce in advance – you will be having an “unplugged” ceremony. But as you will see in the article I will cite, you can do more – if you so choose.
That being said, here are the steps I will take from now in order to protect myself from missing “key” photographs at weddings.
1) If a family member or guest is in my line of sight when a key photograph is to be taken (ie coming up the aisle), I will take a photograph of the overall scene with that person in my line of site and then wait for my next opportunity (if any) to get the next photograph. This way if I am asked “why didn’t I get this shot” I will have that photograph to present to you.
2) Use of flash photography by well-meaning hobbyist with better cameras and equipment may ruin photographs also taken by me with the use of flash – ie eyes closed, over exposure or harsh shadows in the background.
3) If a family member or guest tells me to move because I am blocking their shot in order to get mine, I will do so if possible. If I cannot (due to the proper angle I am trying to get) I will have to politely and respectfully ignore that request.
4) In all cases, respect and understanding goes both ways. I try my best to accommodate everyone. The only time I can’t is when we are tight for time and I need to get you to the next part of your wedding so things run smoothly.
Here is the article below that is making the rounds on the internet (courtesy of Sarah Rachel Photography). If after you read it and want to discuss your unplugged wedding, let me know. Her views may not necessary reflect mine. That’s why I have stated mine here. If you want more on “unplugged” weddings, just google it or better yet, go to Pinterest and type in unplugged weddings.
Thank you for your time.
See this video below…and you’ll really understand.
Articles like the one below, are appearing more often these days.
See this article: Be camera aware on your wedding day.
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Warren and Jackie