Before you say “I DO” – it’s important we discuss a few tips for planning your wedding.
The photos are important. After your wedding day, you’ll be looking back on them for years to come. They will be treasured and passed down through generations. The tips below will help you to get the best out of your Wedding Photography!
Pre-planning will mean…
I (Melissa): Can create beautiful photos that you’ll love forever.
YOU: Can really enjoy your day, be present in every moment and… of course receive stunning photographs afterwards!
Prep yourself! || GETTING READY
Although the wedding itself is obviously the main event, the process of getting ready with your besties and family is often underrated!
Getting ready is one of my favourite parts of a wedding day; nerves and excitement are high, your close friends are having a ball together, and the best day of your life awaits you.
WHEN TO GET DRESSED – Please wait to get dressed once the photographer arrives. The process of your transformation is something you’ll want captured! Trust me.
GETTING READY LOCATION – Choose a getting-ready-location with lots of window light, less clutter, and more space. Neutral coloured walls are preferred, and the best photos happen when there isn’t a lot of busyness and mess in the background.
Chances are, you and your forever-partner-to-be will be getting ready in different locations. The closer these locations are to each other, the better! A 10-15 minute drive is a great goal. This ensures I can easily pop over to both locations for all pre-wedding moments.
BUFFER TIME – Once you’re ready – leave one hour spare. Buffer time is really important; sometimes hair and make-up takes longer than you anticipated. This hour is the perfect time for final touch-ups, taking a moment to breathe it all in and capture a few portraits. No one wants to rush on their wedding day. Save the stress, and keep a full hour spare.
Say I DO! || CEREMONY
Now that you’re ready… it’s wedding time!
UNPLUGGED – I would highly recommend considering an Unplugged Ceremony. This allows guests to be present during the ceremony, without having the pressure of taking photos.
I also find it easier to photograph without having to work around other people taking photos. No one wants a picture of their first kiss with Uncle Bob’s iPad photobombing the foreground!
If you’d like to do this, please ask your celebrant to make an announcement before the ceremony.
LIGHTING – When planning your ceremony, think about the lighting. Photographing outdoor weddings is my speciality (and my absolute favourite), so I’m well accustomed to understanding the sunlight.
At midday, the sun is high in the sky, and the light can be blinding and bright. From my perspective as a photographer, the later the ceremony, the better the photos. Unless you’re up for a late-morning wedding?!
With this in mind, if you are having your ceremony close to midday, it’s best if you (the couple getting married) are backlit. This means the sun is behind your celebrant, and shining onto your guests. If you are deciding how to set up your ceremony and are unsure about the best lighting, I’m happy to help!
GROUP PHOTO OF EVERYONE – Do you want a full wedding photo with ALL of your ceremony guests and wedding party? Make sure you let me know beforehand, and we can take this after the ceremony.
Capture the fam! || FAMILY PORTRAITS
Immediately after the ceremony (once you’ve finished receiving sloppy kisses from everyone) is a great time to gather your loved ones for group photos. Although it may be tempting to allow this to happen organically, please ensure you have a list of group photos you would like to treasure.
ASSIGN A GROUP PHOTO ORGANISER – Before the day arrives, communicate the list with your MC or a guest who is familiar with everyone, and is great at coordinating – someone with a loud voice is ideal.
CREATE A LIST – I generally advise couples to have no more than 6-8 groups. This usually takes around 30-40 minutes of your day. Believe me, you’ll most likely be over it by then and wanting to party!
An example of a Family Photo List:
– The two of you + Groom’s Grandparents
– The two of you + Groom’s Extended Family
– The two of you + Groom’s Immediate Family
– The two of you + Groom’s Parents
– The two of you + Bride’s Grandparents
– The two of you + Bride’s Extended Family
– The two of you + Bride’s Immediate Family
– The two of you + Bride’s Parents
It’s clever to start with the largest group and size down from there. If people are in two group photos (e.g. extended family and immediate family), make sure those photos are one after the other. This means those individuals can stay there, making your group photos quick and easy.
Note: For large groups, extra time and a ladder or balcony may be required.
Snap up your wedding party! || WEDDING PARTY PORTRAITS
Once you’ve put a ring on it and we’ve snapped your family pictures, it’s time to head off for some more fun!
TIMELINE TIP – A suitable time for wedding party portraits is around 1-1.5 hours. Please also consider travel time. If you would like more photos of you as a couple, please allocate more time.
PHOTOS – During this session, I’ll take photos of you and your wedding party together, smaller groups, individuals, and candids at the location of your choice.
It’s a great idea to start with photos altogether, then send the wedding party back to the reception so we can focus on just the two of you. That way you get a second to be alone as well… with me third-wheeling. 😉
Remember, these are usually the photos couples print out and put on the wall, so if you allow for more time to relax together and enjoy yourselves, they’ll be even more fantastic!
When planning the Wedding Party Portrait shoot, consider this:
- Rain or shine, we’ll get some epic photos! Before the big day, I will scout the location and make sure we have a back-up option.
- Later on in the day is always best for great light.
- Bring food! Hangry wedding parties are less ideal to photograph. A cute food hamper always goes down a treat, and may even make for a great picnic shot too.
Take a quiet moment together || SUNSET PORTRAITS
Have you thought about having a few portraits taken in the golden light with just the two of you?
TIMELINE TIP – I highly recommend popping out of the reception for 20-30 minutes before the sunsets. This is the time when we can create those portraits with a ‘golden glow’, you’ll see many of these on my website.
Before your wedding day, check what time the sunsets here, and plan the evening accordingly.
LOCATION – I will help you decide on what location is best for your sunset pictures, depending on the location of your reception. We just need to make sure we can catch those golden rays without anything blocking out the sun!
Let your hair down! || THE RECEPTION
At your reception, I photograph in a very hands-off kinda way. I’ll be a fly on the wall to capture all the little, but beautiful moments that evoke memories even when decades have passed.
I’m sure your MC and caterer will work out your timeline for you. I will be along for the ride to capture all the happenings.
A few notes to make the photos look great:
LIGHTING – Consider the lighting on your dance floor. Festoon lights always make the soft atmospheric lighting, and disco lights are a sure way to amp up the party!
TIMELINE – If you have planned pictures before sunset, keep some free time between reception events (it’s far too easy to get swept away in the party). When guests are being served is a great time to head for these photos.
A few last notes || FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Having all your family and friends in one place, committing to another human for the rest of your life, and celebrating together… is super special. Here are a few final tips to make the most of this:
DOWNTIME – When planning the timeline of your day, make sure you put aside downtime to spend with your guests. You won’t ever regret allocating too much downtime, but you may regret having none.
MAKE IT YOURS – Plan your day around what’s special to you, if you love to dance, spend time talking with everyone or lawn games – make sure you leave time to do so.
GO WITH THE FLOW – No matter how much you plan, on the day, go with the flow. Relax. Forget about my camera, and get lost in everything that’s happening. Have fun, laugh, come as you are and be you. This will help me to create natural and authentic images.
Don’t worry about the spreadsheets, don’t fret about the fine details, just trust you’ve done enough for the most important day of your life to be a goodie! I have no doubt it will be.
To make things simple and easy, I’ve created a Checklist which summarises the points made in this blog post. Click here to view.
I’m more than happy to help with your planning process, so let me know if you have any questions.
0211 632 658 || firstname.lastname@example.org
– Melissa x