Stress-free wedding photography tips
How do we choose the right wedding photographer?
It really comes down to your personality and style. There are lots of good photographers, but not many that will fit in with who you both are and your families and friends. By the end of the day (if you’ve got it right) you’ll feel like you’ve made a great new friend. We are with you on your most special day, watching you get dressed, cry, stress, and prepare for the rest of your life. You both need to feel relaxed.
They also need to be really organised. You do not want to be looking at your clock wondering where they are! Did they get back to you when they said they would, right from the beginning? Are their emails and photo conversations professional sounding?
You’ll know when you’ve met the right one. It’ll feel right.
When do they get involved?
From the very beginning. And they definitely need to be at the rehearsal. You don’t want a photographer shooting into the sun, so let them help you choose where you stand for the ceremony. And they will guide you on when to do the group shot, how much time to allow for the family photos etc. A good photographer will also let you know where she/he plans to stand during the ceremony, so there are no surprises on the day. And always make sure you let them know the exact shots you definitely want (ie. Your grandmothers necklace, a photo of someone who has passed away, you and your school mates, a personal note or card from your fiancé etc. etc.)
What about the family photos?
Oh, these can be very interesting! It’s best to choose someone to be the family photos coordinator, to help the photographer. This is usually some who knows both sides of the family, and someone who is not shy. Often it’s the MC or a sister – someone who is not in the wedding party, as they have enough to do! Allow 20-30 minutes for these, unless you just want 5-10 shots. It’s a good idea to write a list of all the combinations you want, and give a copy to both the wedding photographer, and the family photos coordinator. If none of this happens, it’s also okay. It just may take a bit longer. You should not be the one orchestrate this – it can get a big stressful ordering family around!
How many locations should we choose?
Don’t try and choose too many wedding locations for your formal shots. Including travel time (and depending on where the local is) you need to allow 45-60 minutes for each location. I recommend that you take photos around the ceremony venue first, and then choose one really special place to go, then your reception venue. Or, if your reception venue is totally gorgeous, do everything there.
There are some wedding locations (like the library at Parliament) that are very popular, so there is a chance you will turn up there and there will be a queue of three wedding parties, especially January, February and March. You cannot book venues like this either.
Choose somewhere not only gorgeous, but meaningful to you. You don’t want photos that look like every other bride! A good photographer, no matter how many weddings they have done, will have lovely places up their sleeve, perfect for you. You can also go on a location scout before your wedding day.
What does a typical wedding photography schedule look like?
It’s hard to do great photos in anything less than 7.5 hours. Here’s why:
11am – bride getting ready, individual bride & family shots when ready
12.15pm – travel to groom
12.30pm – photos of the groom and groomsman/men
1pm – travel to ceremony, stopping off at reception venue if not the same place
2pm – ceremony
2.30pm – mingling
2.45pm – group shot
2.55pm – family shots
3.15pm – wedding party shots at ceremony venue
3.45pm – travel to location
4pm - formal location 1
5pm – travel to reception venue
5.15pm – announced in\ 6pm – first speeches
6.30pm – photographer leaves
And this is a fairly tight schedule (and only allows for 15 minutes of travel time). If you take out photos of the groom, and if the photographer leaves straight after you are announced in at the reception venue, you can get this schedule down to six hours.
Of course this is a classic schedule, and you can do whatever you want. I tend to do the more non-traditional weddings, so my schedules are very varied.
Even if you are a very, very relaxed couple, you do need a tight schedule, even if it goes awry. Leave your wedding photographer to be the time keeper too – that way you can stay nice and relaxed. Be organised, then go with the flow on the day!
Amazing photos come when the photographer and you are relaxed, and not rushing.
How will I know what the schedule should be?
Your wedding photographer will guide you through this. She/he knows what will work best, but it needs to be a combination of that and making sure you really getting what you want.
How long should we be away from our guests for the formal shots?
1.5 to 2 hours is maximum I think. If your ceremony and reception venue are the same, you won’t need to worry. While you want a really good selection, you mainly want a small selection of stunning ones that you can look back on and feel the day all over again (especially when you’re having an argument!) JustIf kidding! There’s nothing like reliving a special day, through photos.
How many photos can I expect?
I usually provide 300-400 photos. It depends how long I was there for.