I have such great respect and admiration for wedding photographers, and I’ve also come to be great friends with many incredible wedding photographers! And as a wedding planner and designer, I also try my best to help my brides and grooms select the best photographer for them so that they’re most comfortable on their wedding day (and leading up to it) and so they receive the images that they want the most from their wedding day.
In the months and weeks leading up to the wedding (long after the photographer has been selected), I love working with my couples to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to photograhy. That’s why so much thought and care is invested into choosing the ideal photographer for a wedding – because these images are one of the only things (besides the memories, the commitment, and the love!) that will remain well past the wedding day. Photos are a tangible, and hopefully gorgeous, outcome and record keeping of a couple’s wedding, which is why we all work together to ensure the wedding day photography is perfect! Trusting your photographer (especially since the couple has chosen and hired that photographer) to do his or her thing is key, but I don’t think some input or guidance is a bad thing! It definitely comes down to great communication and trust, which is mutually beneficial and can turn out beautifully!
I love ensuring that my bride and groom pull together a shot list for their photographer (and most photographers will request this, too!). When thinking about your shot list, you want to be sure to include the groupings of family members and any other groups (sorority, important childhood friends, etc). Your wedding day timeline is often timed down to the minute with little flexibility, so ensuring your planner and your photographer (and their second shooter) have a detailed list of family groupings beforehand is key. It also helps to include names (instead of just “great aunt”). When the planner and photographer(s) have this ahead of time, it makes this sometimes-dreaded photo time breeze by much more quickly and painlessly! Plus, the bride and groom are able to let family members know in the weeks leading up to the wedding to come early to the wedding for pre-ceremony family pictures or to stay immediately following the reception for a few photos. Communicating with all parties is key!
Not only should the bride and groom ensure family groupings and the family shot list is lined up, but they should also be sure to let the photographer and wedding planner/stylist know of any especially important or meaningful details. These are the little details (with huge meaning!) that you want to ensure are photographed – from the calligraphy of the envelopes that your mother did to that prayer with your dad before the ceremony to the passed down jewelry you’re wearing… nothing is too small! The bride and groom really will want to think through those details (anything especially meaningful or special, any family, traditions, etc) so that those detail shots are not forgotten. If you chose a great photographer, chances are that he or she won’t miss those fabulous detail shots, but brides and grooms should be sure to communicate this just to be safe! (Photographers are not mind readers, though they are incredibly talented and have lots of practice!)
I also always remind my brides not to forget to bring their entire invitation suite with them on their wedding day. If possible, I try to get this ahead of time so that the bride doesn’t even have to think about it (and oftentimes the photographer already has one!). A pristine, beautiful, and complete invitation suite is crucial for your wedding photographer! Other special details, like perfume, your wedding jewelry, a bloom of your wedding flowers, etc can also be used to style your invitation suite and for their own detail photos. In fifty years, you won’t want to have forgotten all the little details from your wedding day, brides!
As the planner and stylist, I always try to ensure the photographer arrives early enough and/or has ample time built into the wedding day timeline to style and get images of all of these details – from the invitation suite to the jewelry to the dress & shoes to the getting ready pictures. It helps to be incredibly organized ahead of time (having all of these details in one spot for the photographer when he or she arrives) and to have time dedicated to the styling of these details (then you ensure your pictures look how you want them to look!).
I definitely give my brides a brief checklist leading up to the wedding of all of the things she will need to remember to bring so that she isn’t rushing around or stressing the morning (or even the day before!) the wedding. Knowing what you need before the wedding day (that complete invitation suite, a list of the family groupings, your wedding/styling details in one location) ensures that everyone is on the same page, that the wedding morning is as calm and relaxed and fun as possible, and so that, ultimately, the bride and groom receive a complete, beautiful, and memorable collection of images that they adore from their fabulous photographer!
Brides, I hope these tips help you as you plan the little, yet meaningful, details leading up to your wedding day when it comes to the photography and working with your photographer! Photographer friends, am I leaving any helpful tricks or tips out that you think are beneficial for brides to know? I’m all ears!!