Hello wedding season!! I’ve seen you coming from a mile away, but somehow you have also managed to sneak up on me! I am 1 wedding down for this Spring wedding season… and I have 10 more to go before I take a break in June. Loose ends are being tied up on the next weddings to come up, and the final groundwork is being laid for the events in the coming months. While doing this final routine for all of my couples I have found several commonalities in my conversations with each of my wedding couples. So, I thought that there wouldn’t be anything better than to throw them all down into a list so that my couples will know what to expect on their wedding day, and to let you guys know that I need stuff from you in order to create amazing photographs of your wedding!
It would be lovely if I could just hop into a wedding day and shoot it how it unfolds… and still manage to have a plethora of gorgeous detail photos, photojournalistic candids, beautiful bride and groom portraits, and lovely images of the florals you painstakingly chose months and months ago. But…. that ain’t how the cookie crumbles, boo. There is a lot of work and choreography that goes into photographing a wedding looooong before I ever
grease up slip into my spanx the morning of your nuptials.
So, let’s get jiggy….
1. Time. Very first, and foremost… I need time. I need to be able to have time to photograph your wedding before it gets messed up by guests. I need time to make those getting ready photographs happen. I need time to make sure that the wedding photos of you and your fiancé-turned-spouse are extraordinary. And I need to buffer all of this time that you are allotting me.
Usually about 4 weeks before the wedding we’re going to start hashing out these details. I start with the ceremony time and work my way backwards to the start of your contract time. Usually my day will start anywhere between 12pm – 2pm and ends around 8pm-10pm. From the timeline that we create, I can organize your wedding day so that I build in the time I need to create the imagery that you’ve hired me to create. But I’m not just building in shooting time; I’m also buffering your wedding because… duh… it’s a wedding…. and nobody is ever on time. If we need to travel somewhere, I pillow in extra minutes for the herding of the cats (aka: drunk bridal party), travel time that might lead to a construction detour, and the occasional need to stop at 7-11 for bandaids, a sewing kit, and possibly a 40oz. of Mickey’s for the groom. By allowing me to help with creating your wedding day timeline, I am able to make sure that there is extra time when I need it, and so that your wedding day flows nicely without feeling like everything is a constant rush.
2. Details. This might seem weird. Don’t I just grab the details from around the wedding as I go along shooting? Yes, sometimes. But I’d much rather have a box full of details when I get to your hotel suite. Remember about a paragraph back when we talked about time? And I mentioned that I buffer the time? Well, I’m usually not traveling with the wedding party when they need to stop at 7-11 for wine coolers and a Tide stain remover stick. So, I often find myself with little pockets of time (5 minutes here, 10 minutes there) when I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for the wedding party or family members to arrive. If I have some of the wedding details with me, then I can begin to stage detail shots like the invitation, rings, etc… Some of the items that I like to have in my set of details are wedding invitations (2 full sets for front and back photographing purposes), wedding favors, extra ribbon from your invitations or bouquet, menu cards and programs, personalized escort cards, and any other item that you can think of that is going to be part of your wedding day.
If you have hand painted, personalized maracas happening at your wedding… then I want to photograph the shit out of those maracas…. so hook a señorita up…
This thought also kind of ties in with #2, and I don’t wanna jip you guys out of information… so I’m not going to use it as a whole new topic… but if you have special elements going into your wedding day please share this information! Even if it isn’t a detail that I can pack into my bag to shoot during the day I need to know about all of the planning you have done. I need to know if you and your newly dubbed husband are going to break into a choreographed version of Thriller during your first dance. I need to know if your names are embroidered into your dress. I need to know if you have chosen to have your four cats act as ring bearers. I need to know all of it so that I’m prepared with the right lenses, the right lighting, and possibly a pocket full of catnip.
3. Cronies. I need help from your friends! Geez… I sure do sound needy at this point, don’t I? No, but really… I need the help of your wedding party. I like to make friends with your wedding party. I work hard to remember their names, and their relationships with not only you but other members of the wedding party too. I do this because I like to know who I can go to when I need a detail photograph held by a bridesmaid or a bow tie shot of a groomsman… or even if I need a little bit of help wrangling the bunch. So, if you help me out from the beginning and let me in on the secret of who is gonna be my best ally, that would be awesome. I already know that you are awesome, so I’m going to assume that your bridal party is awesome too… but sometimes a little bit of steering in the right direction helps too! I also like to become friends with your bridal party so that they can be as relaxed as possible… dance and party with me without hesitation of what their silly faces will look like on the dance floor… and so that they won’t be offended when I move them from their seat before they give their toast so that I can light them better in a different spot. Basically, you’re my homie… but I need your homies to be my homies… and then we can all be homies… and your photos of you and your homies will be fantastic.
4. Food. Whoa…. I’m encroaching on diva status. Good thing this list isn’t the top 10 things I need from you. But yeah… Mama gets hungry… and if you don’t want me hopping in my car to throw down a few Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers down the street or heading to my car to grab a snack lunch… then you’ve gotta feed a sister. A hot meal is lovely, but after being on my feet and running around like a crazy person for several hours I’m not going to be picky if my vendor meal is a hoagie sandwich with some kettle chips. I actually love me a good hoagie.
Usually wedding venues offer the option for a vendor meal, or for your vendors to be fed something similar to what your guests are eating. I don’t discriminate against calories. I take them in any form… obviously… so I don’t mind if the meal is chilled or steaming, but if you don’t want a hAngry photog trying to sneak uneaten caramelized carrots off of your guests plates when they aren’t looking… then do me a solid and arrange for Janelle and I to be fed during the time that you guys are eating too.
5. Laughter. You thought that I was going to say “trust,” didn’t you? I almost did… not gonna lie, but I feel like I’ve beat that dead horse enough. If you’ve booked me as your photographer then I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you love my work and that you’re going to trust me throughout the day to photograph your wedding in the best way that I can. And I also know that you’re going to be so busy having fun that you won’t even have time to micromanage me… so, no… ‘trust’ is not my last request.
I’m requesting laughter because if you’re laughing then that means that you have forgotten about my camera even being there. You have forgotten about the millions of tiny orchestrated details that need to be happening, and you are allowing yourself to be in the moment. Moments, actually… plural. If you’re laughing then you’re enjoying your friends and family and the moments of your wedding day that you will never get to live again. And as long as that is happening… your photos will turn out beautifully.
PS. Did I miss anything!!?? If you think I did, please add it in the comments and I’ll start compiling that incredibly diva-ish list of the 10 things your wedding photographer needs from you.