your wedding photography: what to plan for and expect…

If you’ve already had a consultation with your wedding photographer, you should have a fairly good idea about at least a few of these things, but in case you haven’t gotten the full run-down, here are some tips about what you can expect regarding your wedding photography on the actual day:

TIMING: While you’re making arrangements for the time your photographer arrives and departs, remember that they will need at least a half hour prior to your ceremony to check the location, take detail photos and to discuss any last minute requests. Also be sure to clarify exactly when they can expect to leave at the end of your day. (Immediately after the cake-cutting, after the ceremony, after the first dances, at the end of the reception, etc.)

MUSICAL CUES: Make sure your photographer knows the cue that your ceremony is starting. The simplest way to do this, is to specify to your photographer in advance, which songs will be playing when the wedding party and then the bride, begins walking down the aisle.

TOUCH UPS: Be sure to bring makeup and hair styling products with you to your wedding. You’ll want to do some touch-ups before the posed photos, especially if these are taken after the ceremony. Face powder, lip colour, etc. tend to get a bit smushed during the kissing part of your vows… If you suspect there’s going to be some crying happening (and there often is!) during the ceremony, you may also want to bring some eye-drops with you to reduce any eye redness.

POSED PHOTOS: It’s usually best to do your formal photos immediately after your ceremony. You’ll be more relaxed, you won’t feel pressed for time and your wedding party members and guests will be more relaxed as well.

TIMING YOUR POSED PHOTOS: When planning the amount of time allotted for your posed photos, it’s a good rule of thumb to expect 10-15 minutes for each separate group of people (bridal party, family, friends) and a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes for the photos of the married couple alone together.

– Bear in mind that it takes a while to gather everyone together and it also takes a bit of time to get everyone posed properly. In total, it’s usually best to plan for 60 to 90 minutes for the formal photography. If you’ve got a very small number of people to factor in (less than 6 in total), plan for about 45 to 60 minutes.

– If your formal photos are going to be taking place somewhere other than the setting of your wedding, remember to factor in an additional amount of time for traveling to and from your other photo location.

HAVE A WRANGLER: Make arrangements with your wedding planner, a friend, family member or someone in your wedding party, for them to be the ‘photo wrangler’ for the posed shots. Their job is to find everyone needed for the photos and to bring them to the spot where you’re having the pictures taken. This saves the bridal couple from having to be the ones who round up their family members and bridal party. The lower the stress level, the better the photos!

PRIVACY: During the posed wedding couple shots, it’s essential to take some alone time with your photographer. The really lovely, affectionate photos of the two of you together, only tend to happen when you don’t have a large group of people looking on.

– Before beginning your posed newlywed photos (just the two of you), explain to your friends, guests and family that you’ll be allowing some time for everyone to take pictures for the first 10 minutes only. This will ensure that everyone gets the photographs they’d like and it nicely allows for the rest of the formal shots to be taken without an audience.

– If you have a printed wedding program, mention the planned times for your formal photography and mention as well, that all guests are welcome (if that’s what you’d like) to take photos for the first 10 minutes.

RELAX: During your formal photos, don’t worry about your guests waiting for you. Most – and probably all – of them have been to at least one other wedding and they’ll know to expect that you’ll be busy with your photos for a while before joining them. As long as they have appetizers and beverages, they’ll be perfectly fine!

FEED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER: If you’ve booked your photographer for the entire event, including the reception, you will be expected to provide them with dinner. In almost all cases, the photographer is seated with and eats with your wedding guests. The same is also true for your videographer. It’s a good idea to seat the two together, as they’ve already got something in common.

– If there are speeches during dinner, your photographer will be sure to get up from their seat and take photos of each toast or speech. But it’s common courtesy to have your photographer take part in your dinner and to be seated with your guests.

PAYMENT: If you are paying your photographer (or any other of your service providers or vendors) on the day of your wedding, be sure to have your payment ready for them when they leave.

– If paying by cheque, it’s usually best to leave the amount blank until right before you hand it to your photographer. This is in case they’ve had to stay for more (or occasionally less) time than was originally scheduled.

A NICE GESTURE: If you’ve planned on giving a little something special to members of your wedding party or anyone else who helped with your day, consider having something to give to your photographer, to your wedding planner and to your videographer. They’ve worked very hard for you, and in the case of your photographer and videographer, they have many more hours of work ahead of them after your wedding is over.

It’s a very nice gesture to show your appreciation with a wedding favour, or one of your wedding floral arrangements or a small gift.

Tamea Burd is an eco-friendly photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in portraits, headshots and wedding photography. Her website: Tamea Burd Photography

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