Hi friends! I'm very excited to start this new series on "10 Things Your Photographer Wants You to Know." I hope that you find it helpful!
Wedding days are full of so many great things and they require good planning if everything is going to be accomplished! I find that many couples really want great pictures, but they often don't prioritize photography in the amount of time they give for photos to be taken. I think this is largely because they don't realize how much time is needed to great beautiful, artistic, and creative pictures. Now granted, a good photographer should be able to work with a small amount of time when necessary. But, when possible, it is very important to set aside ample time for your photos. This will take stress off your photographer and allow them to be MUCH more creative and thorough. When I have enough time, it give me the chance to take pictures with multiple backgrounds, place my couples in lots of different poses, and notice things (like a strand of hair being out of place) that I may not pick up on if I'm super pressed for time.
Here's a few tips to give your photographer enough time on your wedding day:
The Importance of a Wedding Photography Timeline
I think having a wedding photography timeline is so important that I meet with each of my couples before their wedding day to help come up with their timeline. A timeline helps you and your photographer to be on the same page and it creates a schedule by which your photography can have the time he/she needs to get pictures.
So how much time do good photos take? I wrote a whole post on how to come up with a wedding photography timeline here. Here's a sample of a timeline for a wedding with a "First Look:"
1. Getting Ready: 45 minutes
2. Details: 45 minutes
3. Bridal Prep (Bride getting in dress and bridal portraits): 30 minutes
4. First Look: 15 minutes
5. Bride and Groom Portraits: 30 minutes
6. Bridal Party Pictures: 45-60 minutes
7. Party in Hiding/Ceremony & Reception Detail Shots: 30 minutes
8. Ceremony: 30 minutes
9. Family Portraits: 30 minutes
10. Reception: varies
11. Optional Extra Bride and Groom Portraits at Sunset: 15 minutes
Hire a Day-of-Coordinator
I won't go into much detail on this point because I am going to have a whole blog post about it soon. I'll just say that I think it's extremely important to have a day-of-coordinator (for your ceremony and reception). The Coordinator make sure everything is running on schedule and can fix any loose ends or last minute things that pop up. In addition, the coordinator can also help you come up with a timeline and communicate with the photographer on the schedule.
Have Your Hair and Makeup Done Early
I find that the biggest thing that can often run behind schedule on wedding days is hair and makeup. Several times, I've been in situations where hair and makeup is running an hour or two behind, and that can severely cut into the amount of time you have to take photos! I understand how important it is for you to look your best, and so I strongly advice having your hair and makeup done early and telling your hair/makeup artist(s) they need to be done 1-2 hours before you actually have to be done. That way, if you're running a little behind it won't be a problem!
Make Time for Photos After the Ceremony
When couples don't do a first look, they need to reserve a minimum of 60 minutes for their photographer to get all of the family photos, pictures of the whole bridal party, and pictures of the bride and groom. If there's travel time involved in getting to the reception, I tell my couples to plan for a minimum of 60 minutes after their ceremony plus whatever travel time is involved. I completely understand the desire to get to your reception as quickly as possible, but I also urge you to consider the importance of having beautiful photos that you will treasure for years to come. In my opinion, giving your photography enough time and getting to your reception a little later is well worth it! If you're worried about your guests waiting, I encourage you to consider doing a cocktail hour. Or, you could also consider doing a "First Look." If you do a "First Look," you can usually get to your reception within 30 minutes (plus travel time).
Step Out of Your Reception for Sunset Pictures
The best lighting for pictures is during the hour before sunset. I strongly encourage you to consider stepping out of your reception for 5-10 minutes during that hour to get a few extra portraits. Trust me, it will be worth it! While your photographer should be able to get great pictures at any time of the day, there is no way to replace "golden hour" lighting!