As you will recall, I was contemplating with giving up wedding photography. Not that I could not do it, there was just too much for one person to cover. Wedding photography is details, details, details. These are one of the few days in a woman’s life that capturing the day in all its glory, will matter years from that day. It is important to document guests, flowers, table settings, venue, and most importantly the blushing bride. I won’t accept to photograph just anyone’s wedding. There is a sit down with both the bride and groom. This isn’t to discriminate, but determine if we get the vision together and the syle they want for their memories.
How does wedding planning work from a photographer’s perspective? Well, at least my own perspective anyways. We don’t just sit around waiting for you to come to us. We do our homework from the moment you say you are engaged either by word of mouth, social media, what have you. We look at your public facing posts and, if you are following our pages, we go back to look to see if you have “liked” an image or made a comment on it. While there are many couples out there I would enjoy working with, I would prefer to make arrangements to sit down with them in order to get to know them.
I will ask questions about themselves, them as a couple, and their vision for their wedding day. (Hint: The venue and photographer should be the TWO aspects of your wedding to book at least a year prior to your established wedding date.) For the couple, I want to know how they met. I want to know what they do for a living and their interests. This is almost like speed dating for photographers. It is sometimes difficult to get the bride and groom together in one place, but most of the times it works well. (Note to Brides: don’t be surprised if Grooms don’t take as much interest as you will.)
I would say about half the people who sit down with you to discuss their weddings geniunely have an interest in your work and their interest for you to be their wedding photographer. Not every couple will decide during the interview process. After I meet with couples, I will then go back to my office and develop a quote for them to review. This where most of the paperwork is automated. I send a quote, contract, and invoice automatically. Once you accept one of those items, the system automatically sends you the next item. This works really well for my workflow. My pricing options are below:
This isn’t the last you’ve heard from me. An engagement session will occur next. Normally, from the interview you have told me about your hobbies and common interests. From that, we will develop your concept for your engagement shots. Some couples chose the place where they had their first date, some choose the water backdrop, and some just chose a park because it is the engagement shots that are important, not the location.
Engagement shots are usually used for Save the Date cards to wedding guests or local newspaper announcements. Some couples have actually made a wedding page either from The Knot or some other entity. Either way, these photos are taken at least a month or two after the intial meeting. From this time until about three months out from the actual wedding date, we will be back in touch just to ensure that everything is still on track. (Note: Most vendors will recommend other vendors they feel would fit your wedding needs, if you ever need that advice.)
A month out from the actual wedding date, I expect to know a rough draft of the itinerary of your wedding day, starting with the wedding rehearsal. I attend those and may bring my camera as well depending on the venue to test lighting shots and such. I also like to speak with the officiant in order to get their dos and don’ts during the wedding ceremony. Some may tell me I cannot come as close as the second pew in church weddings, some may tell me I cannot go behind them in both outdoor or indoor weddings, and most have told me, I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t use flash photography. Also, depending on your location I will apply for permit(s) pertaining to shooting. (I have yet to do that though.)
Your wedding rehearsal day. My advice, and most wedding planners offer this, is to hold the rehearsal at the very same time as the actual wedding ceremony. This doesn’t happen every time, but I would also prefer if you are going to have special lighting, to have that at the rehearsal as well. Nothing surprises a photographer more than special lighting that they have to compensate for last minute. If you are planning on doing something impromptu, now is the time to let the photographer know so they can be in position to capture the moment. If it is a suprise to either the bride or groom, pull me aside and tell me separately.
Your wedding day. One of the most special day of your lives. Relax!!!! This is a day that you should NOT have to stress about. Laws of nature say that something WILL go wrong and that is okay. It is NOT the end of the world. I will arrive for your getting ready shots, if that is what we agreed upon. I won’t take any photos you do not want captured.
Getting ready doesn’t always mean photos of you or the groom. (Which most grooms do not want getting ready images.) It also means capturing the dress or flowers or other details that document the day.
Along with getting ready are the detail shots of the wedding area. We always like to capture that as that is just as important as the rest of the details. We capture the larger scale photos to the smaller detail photos.
At this point in your day, we have taken the getting ready photos and detail shots of the setups. Now, is when the break in your long day is to where you spend it with your bridal parties. Whenever you are ready, we will shoot the before shots with your party.
As you can tell, this is the best time getting together with friends and family. Sometimes these are individuals you haven’t seen in such a long time and have come together for the purposes of the wedding. Now, it is time for the ceremony. Most of them time, this is the first time the groom has seen his bride. Emotions can run high for both people.
One photographer could not possibly capture all the angles and facial expressions for one wedding ceremony. I usually employ an experienced photographer to assist me and in some cases when the weddings are larger by numbers, I will employ additional photographers. This is a personal preference of the photographer. I prefer not to take any chances with missing a moment by employing one or more photographers to assist me. Now, on to the first kiss as Mr. and Mrs…….
From this point in the wedding is when we move to the full bridal party photos and family photos. Sometimes, parties are limited by space, light, and time.
Once these photos are captured, we move on to the couples shots in multiple places around the area. This is my fun time to capture you in moments special.
Once these images are complete, we now move to the introductions of the new couple and the first dance. The first dance between the couple is great to capture with all the smiles and loving looks they give each other. As if no one else is in the room and it is just the two of them. Sometimes their entrances can be very unique.
The rest of the photos for the evening are just trying to catch people in all their candidness. (I’m sure that’s not a word, but for the sake of this blog, it is!) There are just way too many photos to show in one blog and I think you will agree this one is long enough.
I have worked with some great couples of the short amount of time I have been shooting weddings. I hope I will continue to work with some great couples as well. At this point in my schedule, I do have one wedding this year and two booked for next year already. A huge thank you goes out to those who have trusted me with their weddings thus far.