Selecting a photographer for your wedding is an important task. During your search, you’ve reviewed numerous portfolios and, perhaps, reexamined your spending limit a couple of times. Along with ensuring that your photographer’s style and approach are in line with your aesthetic and that your personalities are a good match, there are other factors that can enhance the overall results and your photography experience.
1. Choose a Great Location
Much care and attention went into creating your overall wedding look – from attire to décor. So, why not make a statement with the background and landscape of your photos? Start the conversation with your photographer early in the planning process!
A beautiful garden can be a wonderful option for the "first look," if you and your spouse-to-be decide to see each other before the ceremony. Additionally, a hotel with well-lit architecture can work perfectly for both getting-ready photos and as an indoor backup plan for more traditional portraits should the weather turn against your favor. A venue with abundant daylight will be a photographer’s dream.
2. Consider a Photo Timeline
Although there has been a shift to photojournalistic wedding coverage, you should contemplate a formal session with your attendants. Don’t wait until weeks before the big day to talk to your photographer about your couple portraits. Also, consider photos you may want of family and friends. Various details need to be discussed including travel, lighting, and the amount of time your photographer may need to accomplish your wishes. Smaller groups take less time to photograph, while larger ones – with over 10 attendants – can take more time to arrange for variation of photos. For an average-sized bridal party of 10 or less, you can anticipate a minimum of 45 minutes to an hour, not including travel time to and from locations.
If there are specific sites, such as a garden or alternative space, where you would like to be photographed, be sure to factor in how long it will take to get there and return to the ceremony or reception. The last thing you want is to be rushed or stressed if you neglected to plan an adequate period to capture creative portraits.
However, if your schedule doesn’t allow for other locales, your photographer can utilize your venue and make recommendations. The bottom line is the experience should be fun and relaxed for you, your bridesmaids, and groomsmen. Remember, the more time you dedicate, the more opportunities you have to create flattering photos of everyone.
3. Make a List
The majority of the wedding day will be comprised of candid moments that will be captured as they happen naturally: mom smiling as she sees her daughter for the first time in her gown; a father embracing his son after a toast. In addition to these unscripted instances, you should also think of the key people you want in formal portraits. How often do you have all of your loved ones together? We recommend writing a list and sharing it with your photographer prior to the special day to ensure enough time is allotted to capture the desired images.
Every couple has different expectations for posed photos, whether they involve immediate family only or extended family with variations of members. It is a good idea to consider taking pictures with older relatives first. The momentum of the day can be fleeting and it is easy to forget to include an aunt or second cousin in shots after the ceremony. Moreover, once loved ones depart for the reception, it could be difficult to round them up later.
4. Find an Alternative to Table Shots
If your parents are funding the festivities, they will likely have their own list of desired photos. There have been occasions where the parents had lengthy lists of images they wanted taken with friends and family that may or may not include the newlyweds. Instead of table shots, consider a step-and-repeat option, where attendees can come up and take photos with a customized backdrop featuring the couple’s monogram or a photo booth. This can be a wonderful way to incorporate extended family into pictures during cocktail hour or throughout the evening. After all, you want to be able to enjoy the reception without being pulled away for photos at guests’ tables.
5. Utilize Your Photographer’s Expertise
As photographers, we’ve seen numerous events with different styles and recognize that couples have many factors to juggle. Most established professionals have a plethora of experience, so be sure to lean on them. From beginning to end, they know the ins and outs of the big day and can offer insight. It is wise to maximize your money spent with your photographer by communicating with him or her throughout the planning process. This ensures he or she understands your vision and the coordination of the event.
Ultimately, it is your celebration and your planner will likely be the final authority as to how it should be scheduled logistically. Your photographer will be one of your biggest advocates as he or she will be with you, in many cases, throughout your entire wedding day.
Opening photo by Carasco Photography