Think about it. 20 years from now, you’re sitting on your back porch with your favorite person, reminiscing about the old days. The nostalgia sets in as you soak in the warm summer breeze, and as you whisper into your partner’s ear, you say, “remember that amazing sunset on our wedding night….I wish we had got a picture of us during that sunset. That would have been picture for our wedding photographer to capture.” * Insert Debbie Downer horn here.*
In spite of the disappointment, you still pull that wedding photo album out and reflect on all the great memories. What could this couple have done to ensure that their photographer didn’t miss a moment? Well, it’s the responsibility of the wedding photographer and his/her experience to help you through that. It is also the couple’s responsibility to take a little time in helping the photographer plan out the day.
Typically, your wedding photographer will have a detailed questionnaire that you fill out, that will cover the majority of what I included in this post. I can’t stress the importance enough in filling this out. However, read through these key points and work with your photographer to maximize the time you spend together.
1. Good wedding photos take time.
Good photos don’t happen in 10 minutes, so make sure you allocate a good amount of time to take them. Maybe you want to take a ride down to a special spot just up the road for epic sunset shots.
Whatever the case maybe, working with your wedding photographer ahead of time will help them plan out their day and shot list. I promise, it will go so much smoother. Having a shot list and a solid timeline will help your wedding photographer prepare. Especially if shots are going to be taken at a separate location. As a wedding photographer, I understand the day doesn’t always work out as planned and I am experienced in adapting to different situations. However, having an idea of where I’m going, what I am shooting and an estimated time frame, will help me prepare ahead of time.
2. You do you.
This is your day. Don’t feel limited by the standardization of having a wedding. It’s ok to break the traditional way of having a wedding. For example. Standing off to the side of your officiant. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve captured killer shots of the first kiss or ring exchange, only to have the officiant standing right in the middle, making some weird face or speaking mid sentence. It’s not traditional, but for the sake of your wedding photos, it’s ok. It’s the little things that go a long way. I can name off a hundred other ideas. You get the point.
Work with your wedding photographer on the timeline. We’re experienced enough to give you feedback on what works and what doesn’t. It’s also a good idea for us to know if there is anything outside of the norm.
3. Your wedding attire, it’s going to get dirty.
I get it. You’ve spent a lot of money on your dress. However, it’s a lot more fun to let loose. Your wedding photographer may take you to some tricky locations. Maybe a sunlit field or old barn. You can expect there to be mud, dirt etc. I can tell you that the best photos are always the ones that you have to work a little bit for. With that said, I want my couples to have a good experience and not run them through a military style obstacle course. This is why it’s important to discuss where we are going to be taking the various wedding photos and what your limits will be.
4. Get dressed for your wedding somewhere nice and try to keep it clean.
You’re getting nervous, prepping can be stressful. Everyone is coming in and out, asking this and that. Cut down the crowd, relax. That way your HMUA and photographer can do their job. Keeping the room clean and somewhat tidy, will help your photographer get cleaner wedding photos. We appreciate it too because it is less work for us when editing.
5. Make a list for family photos and make sure your wedding photographer is informed of any issues that may come up.
Your photographer doesn’t know your family, so it helps to have a list of names when taking family photos. I find it very useful to call out names for family wedding photos versus everyone deciding who’s taking a photo with who. Also, let your wedding photographer know if there are any special circumstances like divorces and/or deaths. This can help avoid any awkward moments. You never know, the grooms mom might secretly hate the groom’s sister’s boyfriend and not want him in any of the pictures. True story.
This is why I always include this information in my client’s wedding questionnaire.
6. Trust your wedding photographer.
I mentioned shot lists above. Shot lists are great for a general wedding timeline, where to be at what time and who they’re shooting. Every wedding day is different. As a photographer, our job is to be creative given the subjects and environment that we are provided. You don’t want a photographer who’s going to shoot like someone else. Having a pinterest board is awesome to share ideas and visions for your wedding photos. Besides, you chose your wedding photographer because you saw their work and felt they were the best fit for you.
Your wedding photographer is also one of your main side kicks for the day. They are going to be a big help in helping you through the day by providing their expertise and experience. Trust them.
7. Keep lighting in mind.
Photography is about balancing light, whether it’s ambient light provided to us naturally or using flash photography to light a scene that would otherwise be dark. It’s very important to plan your wedding to give your photographer the best light possible. With that said, as professional photographers, we do the best we can with what we have to work with.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have long summer days and short winter days in reference to light. Plan your wedding photos with that in mind. An hour before sunset is always going to be ideal for the best lighting. Unless it’s overcast, try to plan the evening photos just before sunset. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, keep this concept in mind as well. Position is key.
8. Make time to be alone on the dance floor.
If you’re going to have a first dance, give yourselves some extra time to soak it all in. You just said your vows, your favorite song is playing. Get lost in the moment together. This is also a great time for your wedding photographer to capture some great candid shots. So tell your bridal party to hold their horses and give you a few minutes.
9. Most important- Enjoy your wedding day.
Enjoy your wedding day! Your photos are depending on it. I get it, weddings are stressful. This is a moment you have been waiting for your entire life and you have meticulously prepared for the occasion. Again, trust your vendors and their expertise. We’ve done this a few times.
Be happy, be present, slow down. Enjoy your wedding day. Let us vendors do the rest.