Photographers tell me that there are several gripes that often show up as they are busy doing their best to take the best photos of the bride and groom. Here are a few things that you and your bridal party can do to make things go smoother.
1. Not holding the kiss long enough for them to get the shot. Kiss SLOOOooowly! I always tell the groom to hold the kiss until it begins to feel a little uncomfortable, then let her go! Why? Because the photographer doesn’t know when the kiss will be and if its a quick kiss they often miss the photo. That photo is usually the one that get’s missed the most. Also, the guests love it! Someone recently shouted during an unusually long kiss, “Get a room!” which brought laughter from the guests.
2. It’s annoying when the guests hover around the photographer, taking their own photos during the family portrait session. The couple’s eyes don’t know which camera to look at. Tip for the bride and groom… “always” keep your eyes on the one you’re paying the big bucks to – the photographer, of course. Don’t be looking around in all directions. Look at the photographer’s lens. Ask the photographer to pause for a minute or two between family photos to allow guests to shoot there own photos. He might say, “I’m going to break for a minute or two for family members who want to take snap shots with your cameras.” People usually get the clue that there is a time for them to shoot, and a time when they need to keep out of the way.
3. You want sunset photos? Most photographers will suggest getting married around 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. if the sun is setting at 6:30 p.m. and this is great advice. Many couples don’t realize that in order for a photographer to get the best photos, either agree to see each other before the wedding and take a lot of photos before the ceremony begins or have your wedding consultant or wedding coordinator at the venue create a time-line that has the ceremony begin at least an hour and a half before sunset. The average ceremony (usually about 30 minutes or less and some are longer) will be over and you will still have 1 hour for photos. Discuss this with your photographer. I recommend taking the bride and her bridesmaids photos BEFORE the wedding, then the groom and his groomsmen photos so that the photographer can take a few family photos after the ceremony. This allows the photographer to spend more time with just the bride and groom. It’s rude to keep your guests waiting while you take photos after the ceremony for more than one hour, plus the guests are at the cocktail hour and if you are longer than an hour don’t be surprise when you get your bar bill.
4. Not creating a shoot list. More than any other complaint photographers hear from brides is that the photographer missed getting a certain photo. Usually it’s because that particular photo was not on the shoot list. This list acts as a checklist for the photographer so that no important “must have” photos are missed. Ask the photographer to take lots of fun photos and candid shots. As the photos of the people on the list are taken, they are checked off the list. Include “all” the names of the people who will be in the photos and before the wedding ask them to stay close so they can hear the photographer shout out the names for the next photo. Be sure to list the bride and her siblings, and the groom and his siblings. Give the photographer the names and cell phone numbers of the maid of honor and the best man and ask them to assist the photographer in rounding people up for the next photos. They should be your your go-to persons for question from the photographer. Make sure they understand that this will be part of their duties. Tell them to caution guests who will also want to take photos to stay out of the way of the photographer and to not use flash while the photographer is working.
5. Be clear about how many hours you will need the photographer. Before the event, clearly communicate to them what services they are prepared to offer for the price you pay. Do they include digital files? How many hours of work will they shoot? Are they going to shoot the reception too? Is there a travel charge? What prints are included? Will they do an album? Don’t surprise the photographer with a demand to stay longer than you hired them for and not expect to be charged extra for the time.
6. Nothing is worse than one photographer trying to conduct two large families for photos. Make sure you tell the families and the photographer which family will go first.
7. Let the photographer know if it is okay to move around during the ceremony. If you want the best shots, your answer should be, “go anywhere you need to go to get a good shot.” That may mean getting in the guests way – momentarily – to get the picture. Weddings in churches often have restrictions about the photographer using flash during the ceremony. Be sure to check with the person performing the ceremony. Every location has different rules. Get to know them.
8. Create a timeline for the reception. It can be very easy for the photographer to miss the cake cutting, bouquet throwing, etc. Photographers are usually very good about following a schedule with brides for the big things like when the bride and groom photos will be taken. Be sure your timeline has everything that you want the photographer to shoot.
9. Hire your photographer far enough in advance so they won’t be rushed to obtain all the details that you want them to know about your engagement photos and your wedding.
10. Not being ready for photos when the photographer arrives. Plan your day! Especially your wedding day. Double-check with the hair dresser and anyone else that may need to be there to help you be ready – according to your time-line – to make sure they stay on schedule. Be on time! No excuses.
We’ve all seen the bad wedding pics. Blurry brides, green tinted grooms, hideous composition and the list goes on. Weddings are a one shot chance. There is no reshoot of the event and the bride and groom are very emotionally invested in the outcome of the photos. Hire a photographer only after viewing his/her portfolio, an in-depth interview about your likes and dislikes, checking their references, etc. You will want to know if they have a plan in place for handling an equipment malfunction?
A professional wedding photographer knows the ins and outs of weddings, what works and what doesn’t. I would NEVER recommend that you “cheap-out” by having a family member or someone who is just beginning their photography career to shoot your wedding. NEVER! The good ones aren’t cheap and the cheap ones are not usually good. Plan your wedding budget accordingly.
Wedding photography is one of the hardest jobs in photography. Weddings are emotionally and physically exhausting events to shoot. They have days of prep before the wedding and days, if not weeks, of work (editing, etc.) afterwards. Wedding photographers deserve your “respect” and trust and the really good ones genuinely deserve the fees they receive.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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