Wedding Day Tips
I would love to be the one you trust to capture your wedding day. I know that I am a little biased, but after the wedding you have your dress and your pictures! So who you choose to be your photographer is important. Here are some things I want you to know and what you can expect from me!
1. It’s your day, your way
This is your wedding day to do it the way you want. I am there to capture it. All the feels, all the excitement, the tears, joy and love. You can structure your day anyway you like and I am here to help you if you need some advice on timelines, colours, venues, officiants etc. In my 19 years as a wedding photographer and after hundreds of weddings I’ve seen some things. I have some wisdom to share if you want it.
The bottom line though is that this is your day to marry your best friend in any fashion you like!
2. Connect with your photographer
The one person following you around all day is your photographer. I’s really important you like this person and feel comfortable with them. Someone you are comfortable with will elicit those natural expressions out of you and let your personality shine. I want you to have loads of fun on your wedding day and have everything flow smoothly. I am pretty likeable and easy to work with, but I’m not offended if I’m not the one for you.
3. Allow enough time
Photographers need time. I tell my couples to budget three hours for the family, couple and bridal party pictures. If that freaks you out I can certainly do it in less time, but the more time you’ve allowed the more images you are going to get. With adequate time things don’t feel rushed or stressed. We have the time to be artistic and besides getting the must have shots, be creative and fun. I also advise budgeting in travel time if we are hitting more than one location.
4. Keeping that wedding dress clean
I’ll be honest I’m not super concerned with keeping your dress clean. However, I have my assistant with us and she is way more conscious of that. I bring lots of towels so she will tuck towels under you if I ask you to sit somewhere a little sketchy and keep you clean.
I had a bride a few years ago that wanted pictures in a field of hay bales. We drove a few minutes out of the city to the desired field and used the towels to fling over the barb-wired fence. With the help of my ladder, my assistant and her new husband we got her over that barb-wire with dress in tact!
I don’t want there to be any awkwardness on your wedding day. I meet with my couples twice. An initial meeting to see if I’m a good fit for you and then again a few weeks or so before the wedding. At that meeting besides finalizing your timeline etc, we go through a family shot list. I have a list, but we customize it to your family and who you want pictures with. Then on the wedding day I am not asking if you want a picture with this person or that person, we just go through the list and no one is missed.
6. First Look
It’s not for everyone, but there are some perks. Doing a first look before the ceremony has become a popular way to structure your day. By doing your pictures earlier in the day there is no gap between the ceremony and reception, which is really nice for your guests and you look your freshest after getting ready and going straight into pictures. I was a little leery about it at first, but each first look I have done has been moving and emotional. Check out my article about the First Look and why it might be a good idea for you.
There is something beautiful about having that moment between you and your fiancé without 100 people watching. We keep it private. I use my long lens so I am not in your face at all for this moment. I have been known to crouch in some bushes, hid in a swamp and once I was in a tree. I understand going the traditional route of having the groom see his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle, but this is just another option that works really well for some couples.
7. First Kiss
Similar to a Calgary Stampede cowboy riding a bucking bronco, I like an 8 second kiss at the ceremony. It’s hard for me to fire off more than one shot of a quick peck at the altar. A decent kiss gives me the opportunity to get a portrait and a landscape shot of this moment.
8. Consider no phones at your ceremony
An unplugged ceremony is so nice for your photographer. Too often guests pop out in the aisle with their iphones or worse their ipads and obstruct important shots. I provide you with an online gallery after the wedding that you can share with your guests so they can also have those shots and can just concentrate on enjoying your ceremony.
9. I am just enough “Bossy”
I am a bossy photographer, but in the nicest way! I understand that most couples don’t know how to pose, what to do with their hands or where to look. I will make sure you look good and tell you what to do. I will also joke around with you and have fun until I get your natural expressions. I don’t settle for fake smiles.
After the ceremony everyone looks to the photographer for what to do next and I am completely comfortable with that. In our final meeting before the wedding we have talked about where you want to go for photos. I have many suggestions if you need them for locations. If we are going to a location that I have never been, I will scout it out before the wedding so I know where the best light and spots are in your location(s) and I am happy to lead the way and get things going. You have hired me for my experience and style, so no worries – I’ve got this!
10. Tell me what you love & what not so much
I want to know if you love brick or could give that wall a pass. We will talk about your location(s). I want to make sure I don’t shoot somewhere that really doesn’t reflect who you guys are. I also want to make sure you like my style. I am not your dark, moody photographer. I like vibrant, happy and fun images. When you meet with me and look through my sample albums you will have a clear picture of what that style is and hopefully it’s a good fit.
11. Engagement session
I love doing engagement sessions. They are excellent warm-ups to the wedding. If you are uncomfortable being in front of the camera, this is a great practice session. This is also an opportunity for me to get to know you better and build more rapport with you both, so that on the wedding day you are comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera.
I also find couples use their engagement pictures for all kinds of things from slideshows to centrepieces and wedding favours. Check out this article for some good advice on having a smooth engagement session.
12. Second Shooter
I’ve been doing this a long time and have never felt that I needed a second shooter, with the exception of the Jack Singer Concert Hall Lobby and all the escalators in there. I wear soft sole shoes at every ceremony, so in the case of old church floors I am quiet. I move around a lot, but in a discreet manner to get many angles. I always wear black, so I don’t stand out and I am respectful of your ceremony. However, if it is a deal breaker for you, I am totally good with hiring a second shooter for your ceremony. I explore this topic more here.
13. Feed and water the bridal party
If the bridal party is going to hang out with us for the day and duration of the pictures please consider bringing them some food and drink during transportation. People get hangry and I just want everyone to have a good time.
14. Please print your photos in some way
You will receive all your images on a USB drive in high resolution. It makes me so sad when clients just leave their images on their computer. Please print them, frame them and hang them on your walls!
You can order professional prints, canvases and plaques through me or you can develop them at a photofinisher of your choosing. An album is another physical family heirloom that you might consider. If you can’t afford one right away it is something that can always be purchased later after the wedding.
Word of mouth referrals mean the world to me. Most of my business comes that way. I appreciate it so much when couples leave a review for me on my Facebook page or on Google.