Over the years photographing weddings, I have discovered several things about wedding photographs that are directly related to when you choose to have your wedding photos taken. As I look over my own photographs, as well as the work of other photographers, I found that the time those photographs were made has a great bearing on their quality as well as capturing all the many memories of the day.
Very few really terrific weddings happen because of a “shotgun” approach to your planning, but are the result of careful attention to all the details. Your wedding photographs should be as much a part of that plan as anything you do, if not more so. Early on, I developed a photography timeline and also that all important “shot list” I use in doing your photography. Here are a few of my timeline suggestions for making your photographs spectacular and dazzling.
- You will probably want photos of you getting ready and your groomsmen and groom adding their final touches. Your photographer can and will be there early enough to capture those special moments if you plan for it. Don’t let these once in a lifetime moments go uncaptured and plan for a few minutes to have them made.
- Most couples prefer not to see each other before their ceremony on the day of the wedding, so there is a lot of time before the ceremony to get your pictures done. Starting with your groom’s side, you can get him and his groomsmen and his family photos done. Once that is finished, usually in 30 minutes or less, you can then send them off to start seating people for your ceremony.
- Do your bridal portrait next along with your bridesmaids and family photos after that. That 30-40 minute stretch will take you right up to the ceremony start time and you will be ready to go.
- You then have your photos of the processional as you and your bridal party enter for your ceremony.
- Capture the ceremony itself, as those memories you will cherish perhaps the most.
- Capture that first kiss and the recessional from your ceremony.
- Now you are ready for the blending of the families photos and that group picture of all your wedding party. 15-20 mins. tops.
- Get your bride and groom portraits taken with you alone and in a place at your venue where there is really great places for photos that your photographer has preselected. (Note: If your photographer doesn’t “scout” your location before the wedding date, you could be missing great opportunities!) Another 20-30 minutes tops here.
- Now you are ready to relax, have fun, and get your reception started along with great photos of all the celebration, cake cutting, and any other activities you have planned.
So what are the advantages of doing your photos in this manner? Here are a few reasons I have discovered that most couples appreciate when they see their photos.
- Your entire preparation is at it’s very best right after you have gotten dressed, your makeup done, your hair finished and all the little finishing touches are done. You will want as many photos made right after that moment and you should take them before the ceremony.
- Most grooms are really “uptight” and need something to do. Taking their photos first also catches them at their very best and relaxes them considerably before the vows are taken.
- Since a large portion of your photos are done before your reception, you have cut the photography time after the ceremony from 1 1/2 -2 hours, to under an hour. In many cases, around 30-40 minutes and you are ready to go to that big party you are dying to go to.
- After every ceremony, the bride and groom are always hugged, kissed, and touched to death. You can bet your makeup and hair are not 100% perfect, so taking the photos after your ceremony may not always leave you looking your best if you take an extended time afterwards to do them.
- Your couple portraits taken after your ceremony are always best since you are not waiting for ‘group’ photos for any extended length of time. You get to enjoy one another and really reflect your love and emotions. Those moments alone with your photographer will be among your favorites and really capture that relaxing and caring tenderness. Not only that, you can get photos without worrying so much about getting your dress dirty if you are outdoors and you can have some really creative photos taken.
- Perhaps the most important thing you can do is work with your photographer and create a “shot list” of those photographs you want. If you have an aunt driving 5 hours to be at your wedding and you know she will want that picture with you, make sure you include it on your list. Otherwise, it could get overlooked and your aunt feels slighted. Great photographers work with you to get those photos and have that list at hand always.
Seldom does great wedding photographs happen when you have a photographer that doesn’t plan and “shoots from the hip”. These tips will not only give you the best photographs possible, but do so by capturing you and your entire wedding entourage at their very best. You can bet that every one of those spectacular wedding photos you see on Pintrest or in the bridal magazines didn’t just happen, but were a result of careful planning and execution of that plan by the bride and their photographer.
If you want more information from Mike and a copy of his sample timeline and shot list that you can use for your wedding, simply fill out the form below and receive your very own.