Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Through the Lens

So, today I am discussing the wedding experience as a vendor... specifically a photographer.  I will be discussing some tips for making sure you as the bride get the images you are dreaming of, making sure Uncle Bob and Aunt Agnes keep feuds to a minimum, and hopefully give you the peace of mind that your big day will go off without a hitch!

When I have a booked wedding, I always try to keep communication open with the bride.  This can be difficult... especially if your bride lives on the other side of the country and your e-mail and attachment haven't been able to end up in her inbox for months straight despite your best efforts (yes, this is specific, and the email finally reached her last night!  Yay!)... but diligence and interest are key when working on something as important as a wedding.

Lots of girls grow up believing that their wedding day will be the most important day of their lives.  This puts a lot of stress on some brides, as they feel everything must be perfect, or they have to have a big traditional ceremony, or it's the only time they will be able to get that tiara and big gown and a limo... it's different for everyone, but one thing that remains constant is the stress.  From shoestring-budget brides trying desperately to fit in all the expectations and desires in their tiny budget, to million-dollar brides trying to pull off a huge party for all 10,000 of their nearest and dearest... stress is a common factor.

As the photographer, I have no control over what will be said and done, whether the cake will be dry or perfect, or if there is enough champagne to go around.  I do have control over the way photography will run throughout the day.  I try to focus on making the photographic aspect one less thing for the bride to worry about.

Each bride receives an email from me with an attachment of the projected itinerary for the day.  This initial itinerary is generic, outlining the basic structure of a typical wedding, including preparation, through the reception.  The bride is encouraged to print out the document, review with her fiance, and make any alterations they see fit.  If she booked for a wedding package omitting prep documentation or reception documentation, I note in the email body that I am aware of this, but included these sections for their perusal in case they decide to include those portions in their coverage (truly, some people do not understand what prep and reception coverage actually means, and realize after reading the itinerary that they actually want to have it).

All of these things help to keep the bride and groom in the loop so on the wedding day they know I already have a good idea of the coverage and style they are looking for.

The most important thing for me, however, are the additional questions I ask the couple to review.  I ask them to think about any styles, specific images, etc they may want and to write them down so when we have our face-to-face final consultation I can solidify my personalized itinerary for that particular couple.  I also ask for family specifics: parents names, siblings, other important people, and any family conflicts that may effect any formal group shots.  Nothing is worse than asking Uncle Bob to stand next to his ex-wife only months after a bitter divorce and having it erupt into a screaming match, sometimes leaving the bride (who, remember is probably coming off months of intense planning stress) in tears.

This is the oh-so-important introduction to my invaluable general itinerary:


Attached is my general itinerary for wedding photography. You will be able to get an idea of what I will be up to on your special day! I ask that you please sit down with you fiance and peruse the file at your convenience. If you would like any specific shots or alterations to the schedule, please write them down on a printed version of the itinerary if possible. I also ask that you please contact me soon to set up a meeting day on which we can sit down face-to-face and discuss what you are looking for, as well as any changes to the itinerary that you may have made. My primary objective is for you to enjoy your day knowing how the photography will be handled!

You will be busy enough, there is no reason for you to worry about when formal shots will take place or if that one photograph you have envisioned will ever be taken!

Some tips to consider:

* Think about your venue... are there any important locations that mean something to you and/or your fiance?

* Are you willing to part with your engagement and wedding rings for a while prior to the ceremony (while getting ready) for beautiful detailed macro shots of them? We promise to get them back before the ceremony... you will barely realize we had them!

* Consider what format you will be receiving your images in... if you are interested in prints alone or albums? This is a discussion for after your wedding day, but it is always a good idea to think about how your envisioned images may be presented!

* Think about your comfort zone: some brides want photographs getting into their wedding dress, others are not as comfortable with the idea of having a photo immortalize the inner structure of their dress!

* Would you like some high energy photographs, such as jump shots?

* Are there any family members who would object to standing close to one another, or even being in the same picture?

These are simply guidelines, if you think of anything else that you want or feel is an important consideration, please make a note of it for our meeting day!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing back from you! Congratulations again!

So, if you are planning your big day, I hope this helps!  If you are breaking into your own photography business or are a seasoned photographer, I hope you may have found this helpful as well.  If you have any further questions or wish to review the PDF itinerary document I use for the purpose of sharing the ideas with your photographer or using my itinerary as a guide to write your own, please comment me and we can work that out!  You can also send me a contact form from my business website.

Does anyone have any other specific tips for wedding photography, either from a photographer's perspective or as a bride (or heck, bridesmaids, maid of honor or guests, too!)?

PS- Don't forget to enter Patchie's Giveaway!  For further incentive, check out this post to see what I offer you if you mention me when you enter!
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  1. What would you wear as a wedding photographer? I imagine it's challenging to balance wearing something you can work in vs. blending in with everyone who is dressed up!

  2. I was going to comment on clothes, too! My sister's wedding photographer had done my mom's friend's wedding previously, and she warned my mom that he "dressed like a bum." But, at my sister's wedding, I thought he looked fine! Black slacks and T-shirt (clean and new-looking) with black shoes. I thought he looked totally professional and didn't stick out at all, even though he wasn't dressed up.

  3. Good point, ladies! I typically wear dress slacks, nice shoes that are comfortable and practical, a nice top that is cool, and I have a dress jacket with me in case the AC is cranked way up. Anything that promotes movement, is professional looking and easy to clean later (in case you end up in the way of the cake smooshing or something)!


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