Wedding photography is an art. To master it requires being familiar with the minor details, timelines and traditions that are part of planning this special day. Having a realistic timeline is the key to experiencing a stress free wedding day and allowing all the special moments to be captured as they happen. Too many couples are convinced that hiring by the hour is the most economical way to hire a photographer, but in the long run, they truly want their entire day captured, which is why having your photographer available for the entire day is your best option. Your day does not start at the beginning of the ceremony and it doesn’t end just after the ceremony. To completely “Tell Your Story” you want to start with the getting ready photos and end when the final bouquet is tossed and all the special dances have taken place. Every wedding is different, and chances are slim that you will ever see any two wedding days go exactly as planned, but finding the right photographer for you and reviewing your timeline with your photographer will help make the day go smoothly and will help you perfectly capture your wedding memories for posterity.
When interviewing your photographer, make sure and discuss what you think your timeline will be and see what experience they have with making sure your timeline expectations for your wedding day are realistic and not rushed. Experienced wedding photographers will give you realistic expectations for how long photos will take, depending on how many locations, how many people in your bridal party and how many family members you have to photograph. Another decision that can determine how much time your photos will take is whether or not you are having a first look prior to the ceremony or waiting to see each other for the first time as you walk down the aisle. This can impact the time before and after your ceremony that will need to be set aside for photos. Your photographer should stop photos 30 minutes prior to your ceremony. This allows you time to relax, freshen up and be hidden away as your guests arrive. All of these factor into when you will actually start your photos for the day. Ask if they are familiar with your ceremony and/ or reception venues. If they haven’t photographed at these locations, ask if they will be visiting them prior to your wedding date. Setting up a time to visit your wedding site and/or reception venues with your photographer will make everyone feel comfortable when the day finally arrives. Once you’ve booked your photographer, consider having engagement photos taken. Not only is this a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, a lot of couples use their engagement photos in other wedding details, i.e. wedding photo books or save-the-dates. Many photographers include an engagement session in their wedding photography packages. This is a great way for you to get to know your photographer and for them to get to know you. It’s a way for you to show who you are as a couple and be creative and just have a great time. Many couples look for engagement photo ideas on photographer’s websites, Facebook pages, Blogs, and Pinterest. This also allows you to go over some of the potential poses you will do on your wedding day, which will help move things along and avoid any confusion when you are posing for photos. Your photographer will most likely be contacting you anywhere from 30-90 days prior to your wedding day, depending on your payment schedules and contract. This is always a good time to catch up on any changes you may have made in the planning of your wedding and review a preliminary timeline of the day. Communication is key and the further ahead you can cover some items, the less you will have to worry about the week or day of the wedding. The wedding day is quickly approaching and your photographer will be contacting you within 1-2 weeks prior to your wedding day to review your timeline and confirm where and when they will start on your big day. This is your opportunity to discuss any specific requests for photos and any final changes in the timeline. Remember, the timeline is not written in stone, but your photographer will help make sure it goes smoothly so you can soon join your guests and celebrate. It is your special day and our job as photographers is to blend in, become part of the family for the day and capture all those special moments, even the ones you don’t see. Make sure you choose photographers who will “Tell Your Story”, not theirs. Finally, remember to take a deep breath, smile and enjoy your very special day and relax knowing that you have chosen the right photographer to capture these once in a lifetime moments!
Questions to ask yourself about the photographer/videographer
- Do you like his or her samples of work?
- What’s their favorite shooting style?
- Do you like a wedding album they’ve created? Would you want yours to look like this?
- Can you give your photographer a shot list to work from?
- What types of packages do you have to choose from? Can you customize?
- Do you seem to get along well with the photographer and videographer? You will be spending most of your wedding day with them, so make sure you feel comfortable with their personality and their communication style.