Weddings are full of joy and new love. Weddings are also full of tight schedules, to do lists, and several people trying to make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible for the bride and groom.
This can be overwhelming when you first start shooting weddings, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up from my experiences as a wedding photographer.
- No.01Discuss the Schedule Before the Wedding
Discussing the schedule before the wedding is very important! This is all new to the bride. She isn’t aware of how long certain parts of the wedding photos will take. She doesn’t realize how long you might need to effectively photograph the details, and getting ready photos, or the portraits.
She probably isn’t a photographer and needs your help. Discussing the schedule BEFORE the wedding is one of the most important things to make sure a wedding day runs smooth and efficiently.
- No.02Give Input and Suggestions
Getting ready, on many occasions, is when the time will run long on a wedding day. If at all possible, remind the bride when discussing the schedule that this part of the day normally goes over the allotted time, so plan for some cushion time between this and the next scheduled event.
Don’t feel weird asking the bride to step into a different room to put on her dress, or ask her to face the window for better light, etc. You’re the professional. They will appreciate the direction, and they’ll need that direction for the rest of the day as well.
- No.03Make Use of Spare Time
You typically have a little bit of free time before the ceremony – use it wisely.
A few photos I typically take during this time to save time after the ceremony are rings shots, bouquet, photo of the church (inside and out), the programs, groom with his mom pinning on the boutonniere, details of the ceremony area, etc.
Make use of any spare time you might get, because there won’t be much of it.
- No.04Give Clear Direction
Family photos are usually the most chaotic. Give clear, loud directions. I start out with the side of the family that is the biggest. Start out with the big group shots, and work your way down to the small shots.
This gets the majority of the people finished first so they can leave, which makes more space to work and less noise, which in return saves time. I’ll do this with both sides of the family.
- No.05Be Quick and Proactive
Don’t spend a lot of your time making conversation with the bride, groom, and bridal party. You’re there to take their picture and keep them on schedule. I often become good friends with my clients, but their wedding day isn’t the time to play 20 questions to get to know them better. Save that for a different time.
For the bridal party, I do the reverse process of family photos. I start out with the bride with each bridesmaid, and then I have the rest of the bridesmaids step in for the some group shots, and then do the same with the groom and groomsmen.
Once I have some shots of girls and guys separately, I’ll get the whole bridal party together. Once I have bridal party finished, I try to send them back so I can have some alone time with the bride and groom.
I’ll spend as much time as I can with them before heading to the reception.
- No.06Be Alert and Aware
Being aware of the how the events of the reception will play out is also very important. Once I get to the reception, I touch base with the DJ. I try to get a copy of the reception schedule before the wedding, but sometimes that doesn’t happen, or the schedule changes last minute.
So always get with the DJ and discuss the schedule. You will hopefully get a chance to sit and eat dinner while the guests are eating. Remember to remain alert and aware when of the events of the night take place.
Sometimes, vendors have to eat in a separate room, so making sure the DJ is aware of where you’ll be eating dinner is important.