Wedding Photography and Planning

As wedding photographers, we have an important role to capture emotional images that tell the bride and groom's story.  This can be a challenge at times, due to many different factors;  an incomplete timeline for the day, working with other vendors, unforeseen circumstances, etc.  Inexperienced wedding photographers typically do not think about the small details when planning the day with the bride and groom.  When this happens, it can cause additional stress and, honestly, lead to a chaotic, unorganized mess.  An experienced photographer knows how to help plan the day to make it as stress free and enjoyable as possible for the bride and groom.  You need to think about the "What ifs" and how to adapt to the inevitable, "Uh-oh, this happened...", such as "Uh-oh, Hair-and-Makeup took longer than planned?"

So, how do you plan for the day as a wedding photographer?

There are some key points we like to discuss with the bride and groom during our consultation, to see if we are a good fit for each other.  If a bride just wants quick, natural-light candid photographs and provides only an hour to take all the portraits, we sometimes need to say, "We don't think we're a good fit for each other" and recommend another photographer that might better fit their needs.  We truly want what's best for the bride and groom, and if our images and storytelling style doesn't fit their wants and needs, then it is a disservice to them for us to try and 'win' the job.

After getting to know each other a little better and we can see that both parties are a good fit for each other, we can then help guide the bride and groom on how to plan a stress free wedding.  We never strong-arm to get what we want, but rather educate on the "What ifs" or "Uh-ohs" that often do occur during the day.  Some tips we like to discuss with the couple start with the 'getting ready portraits'.  Hair-and-Makeup typically run late at almost every wedding.  This is not because the makeup or hair stylist is running late, but because other things are happening at that time; like mom asking the bride where is Uncle Jim, or the maid-of-honor is looking for the flowers, that short pause to have a champagne toast, the flower girl is having a meltdown and needs calming, someone forgot the tape that is needed to hold up the dress, etc, etc.  Adding 15-25 minutes extra in the timeline, to deal with these not-so-unusual situations that often do arise, can be very beneficial to both the photographer and the bride and groom.  During the bridal party and family portraits, it is important to ask each person to arrive 15 minutes early.  Someone always seems to be doing something, other than being ready for the family portraits; sometimes they're helping set up the reception, maybe drinking a little too much or maybe they are just 'that' person in the family that always shows up a few minutes late.  Asking someone to show up 15 minutes early is a small favor to ask on this very important wedding day.  We always plan to finish 15 minutes prior to the ceremony's starting time, this helps ensure the ceremony is able start on time and not being held up by the photographers.  Plus, that is another 15 minutes of buffer, in case something goes wrong.

To properly plan for the day, you really need to experience it, live it and be aware of it when it happens.  When you are aware of it, you can take steps to prevent from happening again.  It took us over 50 weddings before we truly knew how to plan and prepare for most of the unknowns that seem to happen on a wedding day.  It takes experience and awareness, but once you learn how to handle and adapt the timeline - it makes weddings enjoyable and as stress free as possible -  not only for us as the photographers, but, more importantly, for the bride and groom!


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-Studio 3 Images (Heidi, Dave and Andrew)

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