Tips for Stress-Free Wedding Photography

As wedding photographers, we love to think photography is the most important element of a bride and groom’s wedding day. Surely they want fabulous wedding photography, so certainly they will give us all the time in the world to create beautiful images.

But it doesn’t really work that way. Weddings are busy. Often you are scrambling to get all the images you need really quickly, leaving no time for the fun, romantic images you really want to create for the couple. Worse yet, someone springs a pose list on you that you weren’t expecting, or changes the location everyone is meeting for family portraits.

The easiest way to make sure you have enough time for all the photographs you want to create on the wedding day, is to know how much time you need and to be prepared.

Know how much time you really need

Depending on their style and process, every photographer needs a different amount of time to take photographs at a wedding. As well every wedding is different, with unique locations, bridal parties, and families.

If you are not certain how long it takes you to create the images you need, time yourself. When you know your own process, you will be better able to help the bride and groom accurately schedule enough time for all the photographs.

Can you travel to the beautiful park the couple wants to use for photographs between the ceremony and reception? Or did they forget to allow for the time it actually takes to drive there? Do you need 20 minutes to photograph the family, or is it really more like 45 minutes when you include the set up of lighting equipment?

Look for open pockets of time in their schedule during the day. You may not get all the photography time together in one block, but when you know how long you need for each session, you can schedule it to work within the couple’s timeline.

Tips for finding enough photography time on the wedding day

Pre-Wedding planning consultation

Have a pre-wedding consultation. A final consultation one to two weeks before the wedding is a perfect time to go over details. Discussing the timeline with the bride and groom before the wedding will let you see where photography will best fit into the day. It will also help them see how much time you need to do your job well. This is close enough to the big day that they should know all the details, yet far enough out that they can tweak schedules, if need be.

Ask about other wedding vendors. Find out how everyone from the florist to the caterer will also fit into the couple’s day. The follow questions may help you:

  • Ask when hair and make-up appointments are scheduled to be done and where.
  • Find out where the flowers are being delivered and at what time.
  • Ask how long the ceremony will last and how they plan to personalize it.
  • Know if the couple will do a receiving line, or somehow greet guests formally right after the ceremony.
  • Confirm what time they want to arrive at the reception.
  • What time will dinner be served,
  • When would the DJ or band like to start the dance.

Knowing when the other professionals need the attention of the bride and groom will help you know when it’s your turn.

Plan for family portraits. Many photographers balk at the “dreaded pose list,” but capturing family photographs is an important part of wedding photography. To make the process of organizing family portraits easier, find out who’s in the their families, and what groupings are important to the couple. When you set the time for the wedding photographs, have the bride and groom inform everyone of the timeline, so they will be ready when it’s time to start.

Remember to add in travel time. Often the ceremony and reception are in different locations, and sometimes the couple likes to stop off at a third spot just for photographs. Make sure to add in the time that it will take to drive to these places into the schedule.

Read the full article in Digital Photography School

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