Photographing your invitations
If you are planning on printing your invitations, bring a copy along with you to be photographed on your wedding day. The invitation is one of my favorite details to photograph from each wedding. It increases the publication value of an event. Publications LOVE flat lay images of the invitation and designers and stationers adore getting great images of their work laid out beautifully and they will love you when you send some their way!
Photographing the small details
For ring shots and other memorabilia, ensure that your photographer is able to have access to them during the bridal/groom preparations. Keep all your accessories, wedding rings, flowers, shoes, jewelry, garter, etc. all together for those finer detail image shots. Remember to have a good looking hanger for your wedding dress.
Photographing Bridal Preparations
The room that you’re getting ready in, really plays a big role on your wedding day. Preparation photos taken in a well lit, air-conditioned room will make you feel and look like royalty! Getting ready in a luxury environment does something for the soul – it is your wedding day after all. Bridal hair should be ready and styled before makeup. We can mock the make-up shots – so you can look your best! Consider having some background music to create a vibe! Get your mom and bridesmaids to be made-up, dressed and ready before you. This will ensure them looking their best in the photos as well. Brides – be ready 1 hour before having to leave to the ceremony venue for portraits. The photographer requires at least 2 hours before travel time to the ceremony, to be able to take snaps of both details,and portraits of you and the girls. Declutter – Ask the bridesmaids to tidy the room before you get into your dress.
Photographing the groom preparations
Guys have a lot of fun posing with something in their hands, so if your to-be-husband is a smoker, get them some awesome cigars for the big moment, or something to drink and to enjoy with his best men. It’ll help calm his nerves too!
Photographing the Family
We will not always get time to do it all after the ceremony, we can always take some more at reception. Realistically it takes about 20 minutes if well planned. Compile list of important shots, or a max 10 family and group photos. Plan the shot list or discuss it with your photographer a week before the wedding. Rather have more time for your couple photos and to mingle with guests at the pre-drinks after the ceremony.
Photographing during the ceremony
Where does everyone sit / stand ? I haven’t had sitting/standing come up during planning, but have sometimes seen the bridal party sit during a ceremony, (even the bride and groom) because of the length of the ceremony . If your ceremony is a long one, or the space is rather small – then consider having the bridal party seated . (seats in the front row should be provided for them ).
Where everyone sits will depend on your venue, During a contemporary ceremony, the procession order goes like this:
- Grandparents of the groom (who are then seated in the first row)
- Grandparents of the bride (who are then seated in the first row)
- The mother of the bride, seated in the first row
- Maid or matron of honor
- Ring bearer and/or flower girl
- Bride, bad worded by her father, friend or parental figure
Plan ahead of time: Where will your parents be standing or seated? Who will need reserved seats? Who will show family members to their reserved seats? Will your bridal party be walking in/out as couples or singles? If you don’t have a wedding planner or if your officiant or the venue staff will not be helping you with these details, assign someone from your bridal party or a family member to help coordinate.
Ask your pastor to please ask the guests to not take photos while you walk down the aisle, as people get so lost in those shots, that they forget about the photographer and the images you’ll end up with, which you paid so much for. Try and have a ‘unplugged’ wedding. It’s the new cool thing to do.
Find a Cattle Herder/Sheep Dog (Crowd Controller)
Every wedding will require a bit of crowd control during the family group photos. This can be a stressful time for us photographer as you aren’t aware of the specific family dynamics. Sometimes we don’t know who Uncle John is. Plus he’s probably at the bar, the restroom or anywhere other than where he should be. One of our great wedding photography tips is to get the couple to nominate a family member or someone from the bridal party to organise the people. They can gather the guests for the photos and you we concentrate on taking great photos
The creative shoot
Light plays an important part in taking beautiful photos. I can’t stress this enough – please talk to your photographer before finalizing the timeline for your wedding day. We can plan your day around the best light for the bridal shoot ( which is around sunset and during each season this time will differ ) I then try to use that last light of the day to get photos during the creative shoot. Consider setting aside sufficient time for the creative bridal couple portraits, as 1h30min is usually recommended. I hate to steal the couple away for too long, and an hour is usually more than enough time for this part of the day, while 30minutes is set aside for the bridal party , bridesmaids and groomsmen and group shots.
There really is no need to be away from all of your guests for too long, and i know that you didn’t plan your wedding so that you could look at my camera for 2/3 hours! you’re there to spend time with the ones you love, and to celebrate with them as much as you can, so after a bit of ‘alone time’, it’s time to head to your reception and ENJOY the best part of the day!
Group or mingle shots ?
What type of photos would you like to have taken with the guests? One big group photo can be arranged by asking the guests to stay behind right after the ceremony. Table shots are formal pictures taken with each table, these may take about 3-5 minutes per table. For example – 10 tables would require 30-50 minutes of your time. Where as mingle type photos capture natural interactions, smiles and hugs as you mingle with each table.
ENJOY your day!
It passes by so quickly, remain in the moment, if something doesn’t go as expected on your wedding day, do not let it spoil YOUR day. It all becomes part of the story. It’s not worth fussing over, and you only have this day once in your life. So throw your hair back, and embrace every second of this magical day.
Photographing guests at their tables
When it comes to receptions, great food and engaging entertainment will be a top priority for your big day. However, consider all the ways a well-designed centerpiece to each table can contribute to your event space and your guest’s experiences. For table centerpieces – be careful to use them appropriately—you don’t want to block the line of sight for guests or your photographer. You can put tall centerpieces on tables with less traffic (ie. gift tables, buffet tables). Conversely, short centerpieces, lower candles, greenery and decor are great for accommodating conversation amongst the guests and will ensure a better view for everyone and offer more creative mingle shots and perspectives. Consider centerpieces that are low enough that seated guests can see over the top. These are just a few helpful dos and don’ts to keep in mind when planning centerpieces for your wedding day. Designing centerpieces for any event takes careful planning and creative flair but they are the star of the reception venue so have fun and get creative!