Photographers not only photograph the formal parts of the day – ceremony, first kiss, family portraits, cutting of the cake and bridal waltz – but a candid, storytelling approach of the days events unfolding. Many photographers focus on building relationships with their brides and grooms, to get an insiders view of their connection, to be able to capture more meaningful memories of the wedding day.
Weddings have evolved over the years and that means every bride has different ideas of how she wants her day captured. We are working on the assumption by this stage, you have booked your photographer and in that process, discovered the style of photography of how you want your wedding day memories documented, and your chosen photographer naturally shoots in that style in which you love.
Many couples will have concerns or questions as to how to deal with certain situations. Maybe it’s divorced parents that don’t like to be photographed together, family disputes, a tight timeline, children that can’t sit still long enough for a family photo, guests holding their mobile phones up to take photos as the bride walks down the aisle blocking the groom from seeing her and so on. Professional photographers are at a wedding most weekends, and have usually seen all the scenarios played out, if not heard stories, and will have a solution to the problem to put your mind at ease.
Let’s get into discussion some of the concerns and some ways of dealing with the situation.
WORKING WITH YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
IMPORTANT DETAILS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF
AVOIDING SENSITIVE FAMILY ISSUES ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
Many of the families I have photographed, have some kind of sensitive family issue – from separations and divorces, to grandparents that have passed, dealing with terminal illnesses, and unresolved issues or family rivalries.
It’s important to let your photographer know ahead of time, so they can be aware of any uncomfortable situations, hostility and tension that may affect the dynamics of the day or photographs.
Your photographer can then plan your family photos with this information in mind, ensuring that these events run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
CHILDREN IN THE WEDDING PARTY
Everyone loves seeing little girls in their pretty dresses and little boys in a suit with suspenders and bowties. They make for cute photos, but kids get overtired easy and reach their limits with all the excitement surrounding them. Avoid feeding the kids any kind of lollies or sugary treats that will give them an energy boost, because shortly after they will get tired and cranky. Ensure they have non-messy snacks and something to drink, and keep a tiny bag on hand with wipes for their face and hands.
Let your photographer know if there are any children in your bridal party – their name, age and who their parents are. If the parents of any flower girls or page boys are also in the bridal party, or if they are your own kids, it is recommended there is a designated minder, someone the child is familiar with, such as an aunt/uncle/grandparent for the day. A minder will help elevate the parent from worrying about the child and duties that distract them from being ready to have their photos with the bride or groom.
Especially if the bride and groom have kids – a responsible minder will be required while the bride and groom are having their portraits after the ceremony. As parents know, you only have to take your eyes of them for a second and they can get into all sort of trouble, as a safety precaution it’s essential to have a designated minder when working with small children.
A minder could be one of the bridesmaids or groomsmen, depending on the children’s age or how many kids there are and how much alcohol the adults are consuming. For older kids the bridesmaids and groomsmen are probably fine to keep an eye on them, even while the bridal party are involved in photos. But for the littler children, it is highly recommended to have someone that is not a member of the bridal party, so they are solely there to mind the child/children.
Even if your photographer has an assistant or a second photographer on hand, it’s a photographer’s job is to take photos and not babysit, besides the fact that children will always respond better to people they are familiar with.
STRESS-FREE FAMILY PHOTOS
GET THROUGH FAMILY PHOTOS AS EFFICIENTLY AND AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE
Family photos are usually the dreaded part of any wedding but also the most important photos.
If you are aware ahead of the day that family photos take a certain amount of time, just be patient and we will get through your list of family photos as efficiently and as quickly as possible. Yes, I personally speak with all my couples ahead of the wedding day and we create a list of all the groups they want in the family photos. Working to a list is the secret to making the family photos go smoothly. Be sure to provide your photographer with a list before the wedding day of the groups of people you need for the family photos.
Make sure you provide a copy of the family photo list to a delegate on both the bride and groom’s side who are familiar with who people are, to help corral people for the photos. Keep in mind that the longer your list is, the longer your family photos will take.
I like to keep the family photos lighthearted and fun to ensure we have people smiling in the photos. If you are feeling frustrated and stressed, it is going to show in the photos. So just allow these photos to happen, appreciate you don’t often have all your closest family and fiends together, and enjoy the experience.
Again, making sure your photographer is aware of any family falling outs, so they can make sure they don’t stand those people together. In the case where parents are divorced and they don’t get along, I usually have one stand on the brides side and the other on the grooms side to put some distance between them. Honestly in eight years of shooting weddings, and Ive had a lot of couples with parents that are no longer together and 99% of them all get along, or at least get along for the sakes of their children on their wedding day.
HAVING AN UNPLUGGED CEREMONY
There is nothing more frustrating and heartbreaking than receiving your wedding photos, and a guest has ruined the photos because they decided to stand in the aisle or block the view, and get in the way of the photographer’s shot. You have gone to the trouble to hire a professional photographer to capture memories of your special day, so that your guests can be attentive and present while you say your vows. What can you do to avoid this happening? Have an Unplugged Wedding.
Asking your guests to respect your wishes to have an ‘unplugged ceremony’ will not only be beneficial for your photographer, but it will also ensure that your guests are truly in the moment and play apart of your day.
As a photographer, while capturing photos of the bride and groom saying their vows, I also like to look back and take photos of the guests. Particularly the first couple of rows where parents, grandparents and siblings are seated to capture photos of their facial expressions. If they are glued to their devices taking photos, then in my opinion, that doesn’t make for a flattering photo. While they are focusing on the settings and trying to take a photo with their phone/camera, which I might add wont take a good photo anyway, they are not soaking up the moment and that affects their expressions and the ceremony photos.
Trust your chosen photographer that they have it covered and allow your guests to enjoy the service, go Unplugged!
Unplugged ceremonies are very common these days. You can choose to let your guests know your plans ahead of time with some nice wording in the wedding invitation. You can also have a sign at the ceremony. Also talk to your celebrant about your intended plans, as they will have some words they use at the beginning of the ceremony before you walk down the aisle to remind your guests of your ‘no cameras during the service’ request.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
You are planning a once in a lifetime event. There are various phases of the wedding day that you will want captured. From the excitement of getting ready, the nerves kick in as you are about to say ‘I-do’, then you relax as the pressure is off and start to enjoy the festivities. Talk through your plans with your photographer so they are aware of all the important elements, but also what is important to both you and your partner.
Everyone has different priorities. Maybe the details are important to you, but for other couples, the details are not important, but centred around the people. Make sure your photographer knows what moments are most important and who the most important people are. It may sound obvious, but not everyone is close with their immediate family. If you don’t tell your photographer your priorities, they will not know what or who to prioritise.
An experienced photographer will know the usual things to photograph, and usually at some point in the lead up to the wedding contact their couple to find out this information, but don’t be afraid to reach out to your photographer if they don’t. You want to be absolutely certain that you and your photographer are on the same page. There is nothing wrong with asking questions when you are not sure and keep your photographer up-to-date with any plans that change. Your photographer is the person your are trusting to capturing a day that will never happen again, make sure you work with them to make it as perfect as possible. But also trust and allow them to do their job, and be open to being surprised by how they tell the story of your special day.
PIN IT FOR LATER
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