With only five weeks to go until the wedding, it is getting down to crunch time! I feel like I’ve been a pretty chill bride-to-be so far, but as I get closer to the actual day it’s much easier to understand how some women end up with the unfortunate “Bridezilla” monicker. But if you follow these tips, you won’t need to be… at least where wedding photos are concerned!
Here are my helpful hints for all the different types of photography you’ll encounter while planning your big day and how to ensure you take the must have photos for your wedding–whatever those may be!
Take your time hiring a photographer.
The first step to ensuring gorgeous photos of your wedding day that you will cherish forever is to choose your photographer wisely. Make sure to sit down and have an actual conversation with him or her before you put down a deposit. This time is really important for discussing your vision and making sure it aligns with your photographer’s own style. During this meeting, you should also find out how much they charge, who owns the rights to the photos, how many hours you’ll have with the photographer, if they will bring assistants or additional photographers, and any of the little incidental costs that always seem to appear when the final bill comes.
Also, and this one is super important, make sure you get to look at actual photos that your actual photographer has actually taken at an actual wedding! (Was that explicit enough?) You can’t make an educated decision about a photographer’s compatibility with your wedding if you haven’t seen any of the photos that they’ve taken. Be sure to see some wedding samples, or be prepared to be disappointed. It’s just that simple.
Be sure to communicate with your photographer.
Like the rest of your wedding vendors, your photographer cannot read your mind. (Wouldn’t all of this wedding stuff be so much easier if they could?) I’ve created lists for mine, and while they may seem overly long and a little obvious, I feel like my photographer would much rather know exactly what I want than have me be disappointed by her work after the fact. They really want to know what specifically are the must have photos for your wedding!
I have the lists broken up based on when the photos will be taken and who will be in them. For instance, Spencer and I aren’t doing a “First Look” session because I’m traditional and don’t want him to see me until I’m traipsing down the aisle. However, we are doing photos beforehand with our respective families and bridal party members. So I have a list for the poses and ideas that I have for photos with my bridesmaids, and then that list is followed by another for the photos that I want with my immediate family members. Being extremely organized will allow your photographer to work directly from your lists, saving time and effort on an already busy day!
Schedule enough photography time into your day.
We all know how important wedding days schedules are to the success of the big day! However, it’s even more important that you’re generous with your time, so your photographer can be sure to get all of the best shots and still have some time to experiment and go with the flow of the session.
For example, I have scheduled an hour for photos with my family and bridesmaids, followed by an hour for Spencer to take similar photos with his family and groomsmen. Then I’ve added an hour for photos with both of us, our entire bridal party, and our families following the ceremony. If you aren’t sure how much time you’ll need, ask! (see above)
Know when you should expect to receive your photos.
If you’re at all like me, you’ll want to see all of your wedding photos the day you get back from the honeymoon (or at least during that week)! However, with potentially hundreds of photos to go through and edit, your photographer isn’t likely to have it all finished with a snap of the fingers. Make sure you discuss a timeline for when you will receive your photos, be in 5 weeks or 2 months down the road. If the eagerly awaited date passes, and you are still photo free, reach out to the photographer.
Also, make sure you discuss how you will receive your photos in that initial meeting with your photographer. Do you have to order specific prints directly from him? Will you receive a thumb drive with all of the photos from the event, giving you the ability to pick and choose which ones you want to print? Is she providing a link to a password-protected website, or downloading the files to a Dropbox or other online storage site? If you don’t know, you need to, so ask!
Don’t be afraid to be a bit unconventional!
If you go the route less traveled, you have the potential for a little instant gratification. I personally love the candid shots from weddings where you get right in the middle of the wedding day action, and to get a true sense of what your guests experienced have them take some photos! Whether by spreading disposable cameras throughout the reception or setting up a designated “photo booth” for guests to enjoy, this is a great way to be sure you have images of all of your guests, including the ones who weren’t involved in the formal wedding pictures. Even better, you can take those babies to get developed whenever you want, so there’s no waiting for the photographer!
Embrace the #weddinghashtag
Another big trend right now is the wedding hashtag. That’s right, hashtag. By putting out a specific hashtag for your guests to use, you can easily find the photos from your wedding on Facebook, Twitter, and especially Instagram. This is also a way to show your fun, creative side. Some brides come up with a short, cute play on the groom’s last name or their two first names together. Others simply incorporate the date along with the couple’s initials. I love ones that use traditional “love” phrases like “Happily ever after” or “You may kiss the bride!” For instance, I saw #jonespartyof2 on Pinterest the other day and immediately fell in love. Spread the word about your fun hastag and then enjoy the laughs when you search social media for all the great photos the next day!