Maximize Your Time with the Photographer

May 10, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I love to cook. I know, I know, what does that have to do with wedding photography? Let me tell you…

I can spend an hour, at least, to complete a well-rounded meal.  And don’t get me started on dessert! We sit down and the meal is gone in ten minutes. GONE. It takes me longer to do the dishes! Your wedding day is like my well-planned meal. Months of preparation: the perfect dress, flowers, music, location, décor, SHOES <3 and the day will zoom by! My personal advice to all couples is always this Take the time to step back throughout the day, look around and soak it in. The day goes way too fast! And this is where photography comes in.

Photography stops time from moving for an instant. It captures the emotion, the details, the day. This is your way of remembering all of the hours that went into that one special day. After experiencing many, many weddings from behind the lens I have made a mental note of all the aspects of a wedding that don’t exactly benefit the photographer. The first portion I want to discuss is the schedule:

Let’s start with the beginning. In an ideal world (or wedding, if you will) I, the photographer, would arrive during the bridal prep. I adore photos of hair and makeup preparation but I know budgets don’t always allow for this. At the very least allow the photographer to arrive 60-75 minutes before the ceremony. This allows for a few simple shots of last-minute prep, photographing of wardrobe details: the dress, the shoes, flowers, jewelry, rings, and maybe even a few of the guys preparing too (more on the groomsmen later).

Now onto the ceremony. Assuming you’re running on time (fingers crossed) make sure the photographer knows approximately how long it will run and has a program to help guide him/her.

Following the ceremony you may or may not choose to have a receiving line. Be prepared, this takes around 45 minutes for a wedding of 200 guests.  If you have bubbles or rice, now is the time to exit the church, ride around in the limo for a few minutes then return for the formal family photos. Photojournalistic wedding photography is the big thing these days but let’s face it these formal photos are the ones your grandma wants on the mantel. Make sure that upon your exit all of the family members you need for those photos know to stay at the ceremony location. There is not much worse than losing fifteen minutes because the bride’s brothers ran off to cocktail hour prematurely. These photos usually include immediate family; parents, siblings, and grandparents only and the photographer should have a list of exact pairings that you requested prior to the wedding day. Other groupings you’d like can be done at the reception. Prepare your family ahead of time to stay close, quiet, and listen for their turn. If these rules are followed formal photos should be complete in less than 30 minutes.

Here comes, in my opinion, the most important part of the day: the formal wedding party photos. If you are traveling to a second location allot for that time. Once you are at the shoot location allow at least an hour with the photographer. I know it’s tempting to want to be back for cocktail hour but believe me rushing your photos is not worth a drink or two! Which reminds me…….please, please, please don’t allow the groomsmen more than 2 alcoholic beverages before this point in the day. Drunk groomsmen are the cause of the most time with the photographer wasted simply because, in teacher terms, their listening ears have fallen off!  You may want to opt to get the photos of just the boys done before the ceremony. The girls don’t usually have this option because traditionally they remain hidden but the men can be seen all you want! So take the time to get them out of the way when they are fresh and you may save some time between the ceremony and the reception.

Rewind. Let’s say, for time purposes that we need to complete the boys, girls, whole bridal party and the bride and groom’s photos in 75 minutes. Knock out all of the bridal party images with 30-45 minutes and the rest of the time needs to be devoted to you. The images of you two will be the ones you look at the most. The ones you frame, the ones you print on canvases and thank you cards. These will be the ones your kids will someday hold onto. Make sure you plan for at LEAST 30 minutes with the photographer, just the two of you. You want enough time to use some props, to allow for some unplanned photo ops, and to explore a variety of backgrounds within the area you choose for photos.  Treasure this time. Apply your lip gloss one more time, raise your chin slightly to avoid that dreaded double chin (I have it too ladies) and use those love eyes. Allow your love to shine through in these moments and not the stress of getting to the reception. I promise everyone will wait for you. It’s YOUR day!


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