Planning a wedding is a beast! Between coordinating vendors, locations, plus family and friends, there are a lot of balls to juggle. I would like to help prevent a major circus with this helpful guide when talking to your wedding photographer.
1.) Pre-Ceremony Photos
It has been a staple of the wedding photography business for a couple of decades. And I’m sure we’ve all seen many of our married friend’s pictures that showcase both the bride and groom getting ready before the ceremony. Whether it’s at a house or at the wedding venue, prepping for the wedding has included various images such as:
- make-up getting done; hair being set;
- zipping up of the wedding dress;
- cuff links being snapped;
- putting on the tuxedo jacket;
- first looks of the bride by family members visiting while she is getting ready;
- and many others.
The question here is: Are these types of images right for you? I’ve had couples on both sides of the spectrum. Some welcome a photographer to capture these moments; others are more comfortable having wedding pictures that start once the ceremony starts.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s whatever you feel most comfortable in doing.
It’s your wedding. Go with what makes you both happy and comfortable. But decide ahead of time if you want pre-ceremony photos, as that factors into the timeline for the photographer for the day.
2.) First Look Photos
Another staple of wedding pictures in recent decades is the “First Look”. Usually a location is chosen (near the wedding for timing, for instance), I have the groom stand with his back turned, and the bride, decked out in her wedding dress, walks up behind him. The groom turns around to see his bride for the first time in her wedding dress. It’s an extremely powerful and emotional moment.
But not everyone wants it. There are many grooms who prefer not to see their brides until the moment she walks down the aisle.
There’s also the option of having a first “look” where the couple is next to each other—for example, they each have their back against one side of a wall—and their hands touch, but eye contact is not made.
As with the Getting Ready photos, the First Look photos are not mandatory. But the decision to incorporate a first look into the itinerary for the day should be made in advance to ensure proper time (it usually about five minutes) is allowed to capture the moment.
3.) A Backup Plan for Any Outdoor Shots
You may have picked a location for outdoor shots that is perfect for you, but that location could be unusable if the weather decides to not play along, and, for example, it rains.
Take the time with your photographer to discuss having a backup location or two for images that may have been scheduled to be taken outside if the weather doesn’t cooperate. By outside images, think of things like shots of the bridal party and family, and the portraits of the bride and groom.
4.) What to do About Uncle Joe, Aunt Sue, and Anyone Else with A Smart Phone at the Ceremony?
Let’s state the obvious: we’re in an age in which almost everyone in our circle has a smart phone. It’s a great tool for many functions. Conversely, it’s also one of the biggest hindrances to your wedding photographer getting great shots. It’s understandable that people want to get immediate shots and post them on social media. But many times, with people twisting, turning, and stretching to get a “decent” shot, the opportunity to capture moments like the first kiss, the emotions of the bride and groom, etc., could be lost. The photographer you hired is trying to navigate around dozens of cameras; cameras that could block any of those all-important moments of your ceremony that you want to cherish for years.
To help prevent a situation like this, one couple recently posted a sign at their ceremony that read: “We would love to see your faces, not your devices. Please put away your phones and cameras until after the ceremony. (Plus, our photographer is awesome and likes to share!)” It was a polite way to get guests to keep their phones down for the ceremony. And it ensured that the couples’ precious moments were captured as intended.
There’s no right or wrong here. It’s merely something to think about as you map out your day with your photographer.
Use the above items as a guide when talking to your wedding photographer. Preparing for these beforehand will put you well ahead of the curve with regards to your wedding photo planning. You’ll also better ensure that your expectations are met. You’ll also minimize any chance of any unwanted surprises for your pictures.