Your wedding photographer can make or break your day, so be sure to choose one that not only takes great photos, but listens to what you want. When planning your big day, be sure to allow for the time for photos before and after the actual ceremony.
A typical wedding day photo schedule would look like this: Photos should start about an hour and a half or two before the bride leaves for the wedding. Your photographer should take lots of candid photos during this time. Some examples would be, the dress hanging alone, both in front and behind, the jewels, the shoes, the bride giving the final touches, the photos of the assistants helping or preparing themselves. Some time should be set aside for the bride to take more photos with her wedding party, family, and other important people who may be helping. If there are children involved, it is important to take good photos of them early. Most of the time, at the end of the day, they have grown tired of the images and are not cooperating either.
If there is a second photographer involved, he should be doing the same type of shots with the groom and his groomsmen. If the wedding is more traditional (the bride and groom expect to see each other at the altar), the rest of the group photos should be taken after the ceremony. I like to have at least 30 minutes to an hour in the church after the ceremony to take some formal photos. This could vary depending on the size of your wedding party and your families. It’s good to take the family photos first, so they can go enjoy the cocktail or have some time to relax before the reception if there is a longer break.
If the reception is immediately after the wedding, your photographer should keep things moving. Don’t get bogged down waiting for just one person (except the bride and groom). There is usually plenty of time during the reception for more group / family photos. If there is a lot of time between the wedding and the reception, your photographer can move at a more relaxed pace. If the weather is bad or the reception starts right away, your photographer should seek out some more creative looks inside the church. Perhaps from the balcony or in front of a stained glass window.
Now that the church is ready, it is time to move on to the second location. I like that the bride and groom choose places that are special to them. If you’re pressed for time, finding a place that has multiple looks in a small area is key. Perhaps a park that has some green areas and also a lake. It is important to choose a place that has some shade. Those hot summer days can be brutal for a tuxedo and dress wedding party. I encourage my partners to bring snacks and drinks for the photos. It keeps everyone hydrated and happy and they will last a little longer.
After the formal shoots are over, it’s time to party. It is important that your photographer get close-up shots of all the details that he has spent so much time working on. The cake, place cards, gift table, centerpieces, head table, general view of the room when empty. These are great shots because luckily you won’t get a chance to really appreciate them on your wedding day. Spontaneous shots are great for the reception, because everyone is starting to relax and have fun. There are some shots that your photographer should not miss, such as the introductions, the first dances, the cutting of the cake and the toasts that are made.
Your photographer should be able to work with whatever time frame you give them, but keep in mind that you might enjoy the whole process more if you have a little time to relax and have fun with the images. Your wedding should be a fabulous keepsake, so choosing a photographer who can help you capture those special moments is important. It is equally important to choose a photographer who interacts well with you, your family, and friends. Happy people make great photos!