IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE PLANNING OF YOUR DAY
Thanks again for going ahead and trusting me to photograph your wedding day! I want your wedding to be a success both in real life and especially in your images. With this in mind, I’ve put together a few but very specific guidelines, tips, and some do’s and don’ts that will ensure your final photographs are everything that you expected. You guys are going to look great no matter what, however, I need to have the rest of the picture just as good.
the MORNING PREPS
When you make your final preparations consider the physical distance between where you are both getting ready. The closer you are to each other the less time it takes for me to travel between these locations, thus giving you more of my time to use for the rest of the day. And make sure to have the rooms relatively tidy when I arrive 🙂
Lighting is crucial to getting really beautiful photos. I am a massive fan of window light! The more natural light the better. Lighting is crucial to getting really beautiful photos and it is something I will look for when I arrive on the day. If you are getting make up and hair done in a dark room with downlights on it won’t look nearly as nice as getting ready against a window or in the middle of a clean, bright room.
I know it may sound really crazy, (and it’s only a suggestion) but please consider for a moment an “unplugged” wedding. The best way to do this is to get your celebrant/minister, on the day, to tell all of your guests to turn off their phones, put away their cameras and iPads. Unfortunately for me, sometimes guests believe they are designated photographers for the day.
The result, they will be in all the wrong places at all the wrong time repeatedly keeping me from doing my job. Having your guests darting around to take photos, videos, popping up into my frame for constant phone snaps inhibits me and prevents them from enjoying the moment as well.
I would like to also recommend setting your ceremony start time as late as possible (if it’s do-able) to steer clear from the midday sun, especially in the summer months. Not only will guests be more comfortable but you guys too! The bonus is much better pictures without the harsh shadows crossing your faces.
Create a list of the people you want photographed eg.
1. Couple with parents,
2. Couple with siblings & parents. etc...
Choose someone to call upon these family members on the day. They can make sure we get each shot and not miss anyone. Not all of the extended family need to be present for this part of the photo shoot. If you want to take photos with more people later in the evening at reception that is totally fine.
Set aside 15 minutes for this part of the day just to make sure we don’t run out of time and cut into other formalities you have planned. If you have large list of people you want photographs with, please allocate more time.
I am not here to make your day look unnatural. My mission is to capture the joy of an event you will cherish for years to come in a way that is completely natural, authentic and sometimes even a bit raw.
I typically start the wedding party photos by doing some group shots and then each side of the wedding party. I usually spend about 20 - 30min doing these photos and then the rest of the time will be with just you and your partner.
The best advice I can give is to forget about me and just be yourselves. This might sound a little hard but on the day it will be as if we're hanging out.
I do give you directions when taking these photos so you know exactly where to stand and what to do. Don’t overthink this part of the day, it’s a time to relax and have some fun. I will be there to capture what happens!
Golden Hour Portraits
This is the best time for photographs. The light is low in the sky which creates for some soft, warmer light. We can even take some photos when the sun has already set. This is called ‘blue hour’ and it’s an amazing time to capture some beautiful images in really moody, soft light.
Depending on the time of year this part of the day might fall within your normal 'portrait' time but if your wedding is in Summer or in the Daylight Savings months, I highly suggest you allow time to sneak out of your reception for 15 minutes so we don’t miss the opportunity to get some beautiful photos during golden hour.
I suggest searching on Google to find out what time the sun will set on your wedding day. Make sure you search for the sunset in your wedding location.
Reception spaces are important too, although there's less for me to control here, there are some important tips for you to consider to make things look visually more pleasing in the photos and also visually on the night.
What lighting are you providing during dinner? Hanging lights? Candles? All of these impact mood and photos as they can alter the feeling of an image. Candlelight & hanging lights usually allow skin tones to feel warmer and also makes the room feel warmer and more pleasant while you're eating.
Where is the head table and what is behind you? i.e. is it a full set of speakers, a catering table or is it a nice clean background? I’d suggest double checking this just to see what will be in the majority of your images during reception.
Also consider festoon lighting over fairy lights, it's a great option for a dance floor especially if you have an outdoor reception.
It’s crucial that when you design a timeline for the day that you plan it well with enough time for each part of the day. I will cover this below. This is a pretty solid start to help you with planning your day. Don’t feel pressured to stick to these times though. Keep in mind there are so many ways you can plan a timeline for your day. The schedule can change depending on travel times between destinations or even the difference in sunset times DURING THE YEAR. Feel free to contact me if this is overwhelming and I can help you come up with a UNIQUE timeline that suits your plans.
Allowing the perfect amount of time for each part of the day is essential. You can base your timeline off your ideal ceremony time or what time sunset will be on your day. I have shown how much time I usually like to have for each part of the day.
Groom Prep: 45 minutes
Bride Prep: 60 minutes
Ceremony: 30 minutes
Congratulations : 15 minutes
Family Portraits: 15 - 20 minutes
On Location Portraits: 1 to 1.5 hours
Golden Hour Portraits: 10-15 minutes, (15 mins before sunset)
I find these times above work really well and give me enough time to capture the images I need to tell your story. This is just a guide. Every wedding is different which means times can change accordingly. Family photos can be more or less depending on how many you have written down.
If you are keen on doing a “first look” your schedule will be different from the one I am showing. Let me know if you are wanting to do a first look and we can work that into the timeline.
Embrace the rain! We can’t control the weather.
The best advice I can give to you is to enjoy the day no matter what the weather is doing. You are going to be with all of your family and loved ones on the day which is what matters most.
Some of the best photos can be created on stormy days. The light is beautiful in overcast weather and the rain can make for some amazing dramatic photos.
I have clear umbrellas with me at all times for you and your bridal party.
All of these individuals I have either personally worked with and/or admire their work and process. I’m always updating this so if you have a personal experience with someone, I’d love to hear it!
Please keep this link somewhere you can access it later. It may be a lot to take on, but after shooting hundreds of weddings I have learned a thing or two. I want you to be absolutely thrilled when you get your final images and my hope is that this guide will greatly aid the both of us in getting truly outstanding results!