I’ve been photographing weddings for a long time. I would hate to say I’ve seen it all – but I will say that I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen what can go wrong and what can go beautifully right. I want to share a few tips that will help you when working with any photographer – not just me. These are my important notes to give my clients, but if you’ve hired someone else you might want to read through this because chances are the challenges I face are the same challenges they face.
Because photography is an evolving art, what was stylistically important to capture ten years ago might not be the same today so it’s important to tell your photographer if there is a special request. You’ve seen my galleries, you know basically how I am going to document your wedding, but anything extra – sparklers, jumping shots, anything like that – please tell me ahead of time.
Things you need to know:
Table shots of all guests at reception are not included in my standard service. I do offer this but there is an additional fee as I employ a photographer specifically for this task. I always try to take photos of your guests throughout the night and usually this is fine – but if you want a standard table shot from all tables please talk to me about this before your wedding.
Your family formal portraits will be taken at your ceremony site (unless you are marrying outside and it rains). If it rains and we need to move the portrait location indoors – we are NOT responsible if your venue does not have an aesthetically desirable indoor option. I will do my very best to find the best spot photographically speaking, but I am at the mercy of the venue. My team does not remove furniture at churches for photos. Remember that you choose your venue and I am a guest there. It’s not my studio.
Your photographer is ALWAYS at the mercy of your officiate. We MUST follow whatever rules were established for the church / venue. Some churches are very restrictive and when this happens most likely once the bride comes down the aisle all of your images will be taken from the back of the church. Be aware of this and don’t stress too much – we have to go with the flow and follow the rules. It’s okay – and I have the very best equipment and eye to capture your moments.
Do not be disappointed in the number and type of portraits you receive if you do not allow my team enough time to take them. What does this mean? It means that if you are working on your timeline and you have only left me with thirty minutes to take portraits of you, your groom and your bridal party – be realistic. Let’s say you have 12 people in your bridal party. Thirty minutes is not a lot of time – especially if you are running behind. I do shoot fast but I’m only human. You must give us enough time to work with you if you want something special. If we only have a few minutes most likely we will have to stick with the basic standard bridal portraits.
Please factor in travel time and traffic when creating your timeline.
Prepare for inclement weather. I am familiar with many local gazebos and can offer you ideas, but I can’t promise you that I know of a bad weather location in every city in Michigan. So it’s best to prepare for this so there will be no surprises. If it rains on your wedding day and we are unable to complete all of our bridal portraits, I will offer you a stylized session on another day at no cost. It is up to you if you take me up on this, but please do not hold me responsible for not getting enough portraits of your bridal party if it rains. I can’t control the weather, and I am just as heartbroken as you are if we get rained out. I really, really am. Also remember that if it’s windy and your hair is worn down – I can’t help this – your hair will fly around. Your photos will have naturally wind blown hair. Personally I love this look on brides. But some brides do not love the look as I do. Unless you have a stylist on set – understand that I just take the photos. I will do my best to make sure you look fantastic – but your photographer is not a makeup artist or a hair stylist.
Hire a good makeup artist. Don’t go to the mall – hire someone who applies wedding makeup for a living. You will NEVER regret this. I have been working with brides for a long time. I’ve seen it all. I can’t fix in photoshop what a bad makeup artist might do to your face. I have rarely seen a good mall makeup job. I’m just being honest with you here. The lighting in the mall is horrible – just don’t do it. Spend a little more because this affects your photos. Don’t go cheap on makeup. Don’t have a friend who sells makeup do it either – hire a professional makeup artist!!! I promise you will never regret this!
Things to remember:
- Please let me know if there are ANY special shots or requests. I will periodically ask you this but if you have a special request, let me know.
- Our contract says you should provide a meal for us. I’m not a die hard about this – I know it’s expensive to feed us and while I appreciate a meal – it’s seriously no big deal if you can’t do it. All I ask is if you are not inviting us to dine with you PLEASE let me know ahead of time so we can prepare our own lunches. We do need a snack break. Otherwise we will need to leave for a short time to grab something – and this is coverage that you are losing.
- Please tell your DJ or band that it is important all the events are done by our end time. If you’ve hired me for 8 hours, you get 8 hours of coverage – not 10. Please be respectful of my time. I do often work longer but if we are going into hour 8 and you haven’t thrown your bouquet yet – you will need extended coverage. There is nothing more difficult for me than to ask my couples if you want extended coverage during the wedding day because things are running late – and discuss payment. It’s uncomfortable for both of us, so if you think you need it, let’s schedule it ahead of time.
- Have FUN on your wedding day. Your photos will show it. If you and your bridal party are grumpy and stressed out – it will show. Smile a lot and you will glow in your photos. I promise!!! Remember I’m not the only one photographing you. All of your friends and family have their eyes and cameras on you.
- Have someone – a friend or family member in charge of helping your photographer with the family portrait set up. I don’t know who the people are in your photos.
- If your groom is a drinker, try to have him hold off until after the ceremony. What happens is that most of the time when someone drinks his or her face turns red. I can’t remove all of the red in his face in photoshop. It will affect your photos – so just know this ahead of time and you can make whatever decision is best for you. J
- Photoshop can’t fix everything! It can fix a lot – but be realistic. I do basic retouching to your photos, but advanced retouching is available at an additional fee. Advanced retouching is removing objects or people, adding people, removing wrinkles, major acne removal, fixing makeup, etc.
Enjoy your wedding. This is truly YOUR day. This is one of the most special days you will ever have in your life. Things do go wrong, but it’s okay. Take a deep breath and remember that this day you are marrying the love of your life. Nothing is better than this day. Dance at your wedding. Dance. Drink. Eat. Love each other. You will never have this moment again. Live it.