Wedding Photography Planning & Tips

9.8.2012

By Lisa Carpenter

Top hat and tails, vintage, or drag, here's 10 steps to help you prepare to get the best shots to remember your big day forever
 
4. Check with the chosen venue about photography access
You've found the world's coolest photographer, you've booked your venue, you've made it down to your wedding weight. Now, if the location allows and the venue are open to the idea, do a walk through with the photographer. If they've never shot there before, they'll be glad of the opportunity to check out shooting locations, the light and the venue's restrictions to the ceremony shooting.
 
5. Pre-wedding Engagement Photo
I love a pre-wedding engagement session. An e-session. A couples shoot. Call it what you will, this is when you'll meet up a few months before the big day and take some photos that you'll display at your reception party. 
 
I blow up a signing board or a guest book with the photos from the shoot, some people prefer to have the photos on disc and decide what to do with them at a later date. 
 
Some people just use it as a chance for a practice session. 
 
This is such a great chance to let loose and have some fun, get to know your photographer, let them see what you're comfortable with and if you're not sure how to pose or what your best side is, this is the right time to find out and if you've got the right photographer, they'll help you...Why not really go nuts and incorporate a story in the shoot?
 
Did you meet on the train? Head to the rail track and stage your very own Kerouac shoot there.
 
You met in the library? Go to your local book store and lie amongst the books (might need permission from the be-cardiganed staff there). 
How about an Oz shoot ? Yes you can follow that Yellow Brick Road, Toto?
 
Top hat and tails, vintage, drag or simply the two of you huddled together in your scarfs and hats at the local park. It all works, it's fun and you get some extra shots to remind you how exciting this time was. 
 
It may not feel it when you're bogged down with the wedding minutae but there are some amazing things around the corner and this shoot will capture that moment.
 
6. Plan Your Day to Include the Photos
When you're planning your wedding, make sure you include time for the photos. You'll be amazed how often people forget.
 
Formal photos: If you're having them, (known as Granny shots in the industry because you'll get a stern telling off if Nana doesn't get her traditional line-up) normally follow the ceremony (unless you have time before and have opted for a first look, see below.)
 
The formal photography should take nomore than half an hour, depending on how many photos you're requesting, how many guests you have and how spectacularly drunk they've managed to get. This should leave a good half hour for the bridal party photos and the important ones—the two of you!
 
If your photographer is open to it, by all means write a shot list but be aware that some photographers do not work from a list and if you do this, keep it to a minimum.
 
Group photos: For me, they work like this. 
 
Big group shot. Both families, sisters, brothers, kids and in-laws next while the friends and long lost rellies head to the bar. Immediate family to follow. 
Leave the in-laws to chase the kids around the grounds. 
  • Parents and step-parents with both couples. 
  • Parents and step-parents number 2 with both couples. 
  • Any extras made on a shot list (and sent to me in advance!) are fitted in as and where they work most seamlessly and I always buy my second shooter a glass of wine for helping with this and making the process fast and smooth.
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If you need to make sure that someone special isn't left out make sure you tell your photographer!

If you've booked a photographer with a photojournalistic style, they may balk at a request like this. Or throw the shot list back in your face!
True to their profession, they will not move something that is obstructing the perfect photo, nor will they ask that someone moves an arm to make a more flattering image. A great photojournalist is an artist and the photos they produce are stunning, showing exactly how your day looked. If this is your style and you find a good one, maybe best to leave the shot list on your desktop!
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