So you’re engaged, congratulations! But now everyone and their aunt is telling you what you NEED to have at your wedding, what they found on Pinterest last week etc, and you’re just wondering how to optimize your day and stretch your budget to the max! High quality wedding vendors are expensive- here are my top six recommendations to get the most out of your wedding photographer, once you’ve selected one whose work you LOVE! (That part is pretty important.)
1. Ask for what you want
Show me your pinterest boards! Tell me what is most important to you. Lots of fun wedding party photos? Sunset or night shots a must? Re-creating a photo from your parents’ wedding? Want a photo of every guest, or just let them party? The more you tell me about your style, desires, and the photography you like, the more satisfied you will be with your experience. This is true for all of your wedding day vendors. Communicate, don’t assume.
This was one of the most important photos for the bride.
2. Work with me on your timeline
With well over a bajillion weddings under my belt, I’m here to help! The way to get the most out of your photographer is to give them time to do what they do best. Consult with me as you build your timeline to allow ample but not excessive time to complete candids, portraits, family, wedding party and newlywed photos without rush. Leave ten minute breaks for breathing room in your timeline, especially if you have multiple locations.
Hair / Makeup will run at least a half hour late. Always.
3. Plan a First Look
A First Look is a private moment in which the wedding couple see each other all gussied up before the ceremony. It means you get to spend time with each other all day, instead of hiding! The best photos of the two of you can be completed in daylight plus you get to hang out with your best friends- your bridal party! Then after the ceremony, you proceed directly to party! This allows you to attend your cocktail hour with your guests (that you paid for) and to grab photos during daylight if your ceremony is in the afternoon.
A cute first look moment
4. Coordinate with your family
I ask that all couples provide me with a formal family photo list up to two weeks prior to the wedding. Please consult with your family members before submitting your list – does a parent want a large, extended family photo? Would a sibling’s family like a photo just of them? Better to have allowed time for it beforehand than have to cut into reception time. Lastly, when it comes time to do formal family photos, having everyone in the right place at the same time is crucially important. Make sure to tell them where to be, when!
This photo wasn’t on The List, but I’m glad we had time for it.
5 . Have an unplugged wedding
If you’ve been to a wedding recently, no doubt you’ve seen the hordes of well-meaning guests clog the aisle to get a photo with their phone or tablet. What you don’t see are all the wedding photographer’s photos that get thrown awaybecause of the people obscuring the bride or groom throughout the day. When a guest uses their device at your wedding, they detract from the value of the vendor you hired to be there. Tell your guests to put their phones down and be present to celebrate with you. You won’t miss their cell phone pictures, I promise. Some couples opt to have a moment during the ceremony where all guests may take a photo, and then put all phones & cameras away- ask your officiant to include this! If you’re a guest, put your phone away.. or I will give you the stinkiest stink eye imaginable. And for the love of everything, sit down and get out of the aisle!
I didn’t get a great photo of the bride’s dad giving his daughter away because of this guy.
6. Have Fun!
It’s my job to get great photos, but also to keep your wedding super fun, no matter how many little things go “wrong”. Luckily for you, I’m hilarious! Don’t sweat the small stuff- and the hardest part is realizing how much of your day is the small stuff! The centerpieces are swapped around, the ring bearer might not make it down the aisle, it’s raining, some of your guests couldn’t make it, BUT.. you are marrying the love of your life! Great photos come from great moments. Let’s make sure there are a lot of those.
Can’t decide who is having more fun: the bride, the groom, or me. Okay, it probably wasn’t the bride.
Thanks for reading my planning Guide! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’ve got more tips to share or stories of what went right or wrong at your wedding. Leave me a comment!