PLANNING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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Your wedding photographs are one of the most important things to consider when you start planning your wedding. After all, they are one of the few things that remain once the wedding day is all over.

Obviously securing the date, and finding your perfect venue will probably come first, but then starts the process of collecting together your dream team of suppliers that are going to help you have the perfect wedding.

One of the first things I ask people who enquire about my wedding photography is whether they are free to meet. I ask this even before a booking is confirmed or a deposit is paid as I believe it is really important to be sure that both client and photographer are a good match. Shooting a wedding means working very closely with a couple on what will likely be one of the milestone days of their lives. Your photographer is with you from early on in the day when you're getting ready, right the way through until you're kicking your heels up on the dance floor. You want to be sure you like them and that you will be happy having them around you throughout your day.

A meeting also gives you an opportunity to ask some key questions, and for them to ask you some of their own. If a meeting is impractical then a video call will do.

Once I have been booked I start to collect as much information as possible from my clients so that I can start to build up an image of what the day will look like, and offer any tips based on my previous experiences. I've included a few of those tips and questions at the bottom of this page in case they are useful for others.

The information that I collect helps me to build up my brief and itinerary document. Your wedding is a huge project condensed down into one day and it's important to know that your photographer has planned their time around the broader itinerary and that all the details have been discussed, agreed and recorded. I put my experience as a project manager to use here. The document contains all contact details – yours and mine. All the timings we have agreed for the day are broken down in as much detail as possible and the full venue addresses and postcodes (and directions) are included. It also contains any notes about the features or special requests of the wedding and any formal group shots as well as a shot list if this has been given. Things inevitably change on the day but at least this way you know that everything you have discussed has been noted.

I share this document with you as early as possible and every time something gets updated or added I send a new version. And then just before the wedding, I send the final version again and ask you to carefully check the details as this will be my brief and itinerary on the wedding day. This way you always know where I will be and at what time. Hopefully this offers a little bit of reassurance to you.


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Plan ample time for your photography

Your wedding coordinator / planner or venue will probably start to schedule your itinerary for you once they have been hired. They need to do this to work around the confirmed ceremony time and to ensure they allow time for the caterers or kitchen to prepare, cook and serve your wedding breakfast, as well as factoring in your speeches, drink reception, evening guests, evening food service and your band or DJ for the evening reception. More often than not, the photography can be a bit of an afterthought, and slotted in around all of the other key timings. This is where I draw you back to my first point about the importance of your photography. Once the day is over your photographs are one of only a few lasting reminders you'll have so I feel it's important to prioritise the photography as early in the process as possible.

My advice is to ask your planner to schedule in at least an hour for some couple shots – usually between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Longer if you can. Timings usually overrun at weddings. It's a fact. But certain things can't be moved in the schedule so more often than not the photography time set will get squeezed. But you can accommodate this by overestimating the time you'll need for the photography. The worse case scenario being that you have a little breathing space in the middle of your day, which I guarantee you will be grateful for – even if it's just to take a little stroll around the grounds with your new husband or wife.

As well as the couple shots there are the group shots to consider too. See below for more on these.

 

Group shots

A lot of couples don't really want formal group shots so much anymore. Instead they would prefer relaxed, candid group shots of everyone while they are chatting, drinking and enjoying the day. I prefer these types of photos too, believe me. But weddings are one of only a handful of occasions where you get everyone together in one place, and can often be a rare opportunity to get a photo with Nana, Grandpops and the forty-seven grandchildren etc.

So a lot of the time I get couples changing their minds and asking if we can do formal group shots after all. Of course we can. You don't want to miss this opportunity. And don't worry I work fast to make sure they don't take ages, and to help ensure everyone can get back to the bar as soon as possible.

One of the best ways of keeping the group shots as trim as possible is to work from a shot list, so before the wedding I will ask you this. Otherwise it will descend into madness. I can provide a sample list to help get you started don't worry. I might also ask you to allocate a member of the wedding party (usually an obliging usher or bridesmaid) to help gather the right people for the shot, as they will be able to match names to faces. With both of the above in place, half an hour should cut it to get the shots done.


Do we need a second photographer?

Usually I say no. I've shot the majority of weddings on my own and managed to get all the shots I needed without the need of any help. But sometimes there is a requirement: if you want getting ready shots for both parties and you are at different venues or if you have an especially large wedding party where there will likely be different things happening concurrently at different ends of the venue are a couple of examples. If we do need a second photographer it's not a problem. I have a few great photographers that I can call on to help.

If you have any other questions or need any more information please feel free to get in touch.

Plan ample time in your day for photography

Your wedding coordinator / planner or venue will probably start to schedule your itinerary for you once they have been positioned. They need to do this to work around the confirmed ceremony time and to ensure they allow time for the caterers or kitchen to prepare, cook and serve your wedding breakfast, as well as factoring in your speeches, drink reception, evening guests, evening food service and your band or DJ for the evening reception. More often than not, the photography can be a bit of an afterthought, and slotted in around all of the other key timings. This is where I draw you back to my first point about the importance of your photography. Once the day is over your photographs are one of only a few lasting reminders you'll have so I feel it's important to prioritise the photography as early in the process as possible.

My advice is to ask your planner to schedule in at least an hour for some couple shots – usually between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Longer if you can. Timings usually overrun at weddings. It's a fact. But certain things can't be moved in the schedule so more often than not the photography time set will get squeezed. But you can accommodate this by overestimating the time you'll need for the photography. The worse case scenario being that you have a little breathing space in the middle of your day, which I guarantee you will be grateful for – even if it's just to take a little stroll around the grounds with your new husband or wife.

As well as the couple shots there are the group shots to consider too. See below for more on these.


Do I want group shots?

A lot of couples don't really want formal group shots so much anymore. Instead they would prefer relaxed, candid group shots of everyone while they are chatting, drinking and enjoying the day. I prefer these types of photos too, believe me. But weddings are one of only a handful of occasions where you get everyone together in one place, and can often be a rare opportunity to get a photo with Nana, Grandpops and the forty-seven grandchildren etc.

So a lot of the time I get couples changing their minds and asking if we can do formal group shots after all. Of course we can. You don't want to miss this opportunity. And don't worry I work fast to make sure they don't take ages, and to help ensure everyone can get back to the bar as soon as possible.

One of the best ways of keeping the group shots as trim as possible is to work from a shot list, so before the wedding I will ask you this. Otherwise it will descend into madness. I can provide a sample list to help get you started don't worry. I might also ask you to allocate a member of the wedding party (usually an obliging usher or bridesmaid) to help gather the right people for the shot, as they will be able to match names to faces. With both of the above in place, half an hour should cut it to get the shots done.


Do I need a second photographer?

Usually I say no. I've shot the majority of weddings on my own and managed to get all the shots I needed without the need of any help. But sometimes there is a requirement: if you want getting ready shots for both parties and you are at different venues or if you have an especially large wedding party where there will likely be different things happening concurrently at different ends of the venue are a couple of examples. If we do need a second photographer it's not a problem. I have a few great photographers that I can call on to help.

If you have any other questions or need any more information please feel free to get in touch.

Mr Sleeve Black

HELLO@MRSLEEVE.CO.UK

+44 (0)7765 408556

HELLO@MRSLEEVE.CO.UK

+44 (0)7765 408556

HELLO@MRSLEEVE.CO.UK

+44 (0)7765 408556

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