This ‘n’ That – Wedding Shoot Preparation

I have been having some discussions with fellow bloggers regarding my upcoming Wedding shoot, in particular Jenny @ Bulldog Travels who offered me some brilliant tips, which I thought I would put together with a few others as well.

  • Ask the couple to do a Wedding walk through, perhaps at the rehearsal, so that you know the layout, where everyone will be standing and where you need to shoot from
  • In some case you may end up more of a wedding planner / assistant, as much as in you can guide them on several items; have they ordered flowers, is there a color scheme, page boy/ groomsmen/bridesmaids/ flowergirls……have these been arranged. Good spots to have outdoor wedding, photography, venues, various other bits and pieces.
  • Scout out locations for before and after shots, before the big day, check out what the lighting will be like at the time you will be shooting.
  • Make a shooting list, give to the couple to go over, possibly add things or remove items they do not want.
  • Timing is everything; ensure you have enough time prior to the wedding to spend with both the bride and the groom. Right when you think you have planned everything one or both of them will be late so stay flexible.
  • Try to ensure that their parents and family are available prior to the ceremony so you can get as many family shots ahead as possible.
  • Be kind to the family and guests when trying to herd them around. They will not listen and no one likes having their photo taken but it is our job to delicately get them where they need to be while still making it fun for them.
  • Be kind but firm with that annoying wanna be photographic assistant – Uncle/Aunt/Family Friend. Give them helpful jobs to do; holding reflectors, herding family members.
  • Try to be small and not in the way when taking photos especially during the ceremony, first dance, cake cutting, toasts, etc.
  • Get lots of detail shots of shoes, rings, flowers, decorations, invitation, sign in book, table centerpieces.
  • Ask the parents and grandparents if they would like any special photos because the day is also about them.
  • There are sometimes family dynamics that can cause problems so be aware of those. (Family the bride or groom doesn’t get a long with, x-spouses that may or may not want to be photographed with their previous spouse.)
  • Drink lots of water. It is a long day and you will have NO breaks.
  • Wear comfortable, inconspicuous clothing, suitable for a wedding (especially shoes)
  • During the ceremony test your lighting going towards the bride/groom and away because you will have to capture them walking up the isle and also coming back down it.
  • Be ready for the kiss. You cannot miss that.
  • Be sure you bring lots of batteries and memory cards and have them on your person in case you run out during the ceremony.
  • There will be no time to run to your gear and switch things up.
  • If possible take an assistant with you, they can be helpful in finding lost people/family that should be in the family photos afterwards. And they are wonderful dress fluffers.
  • It is important to make sure hair and necklaces and dresses look perfect at all times. It’s everyone’s big day so anything you can do to make sure everything looks just right will only enhance the photos.
  • Remind the bride that the flowers will drip when you take them out of the water. They need to be dried off before she or the bridesmaids hold them or they will get water marks on their dresses.
  • Also ask them to hold their flowers down at their bellybutton when they walk down the isle. Every bride and bridesmaid ever gets nervous and wants to cuddle the flowers at their chest and it looks weird. It looks more natural down lower.
  • When you are done and finished editing make the couple two sets one in small format and one in large for enlargements. That way they have small photos to email and facebook but large format for enlargements.
  • One to Two hours is a good amount of time after the ceremony for photos. Be aware that the couple may hit the wall after about an hour, as they start getting hungry and makeup/hair starts to fade.

There are probably hundred’s more………….do you shoot wedding? what are your tips for a successful wedding shoot?