only listen to as much of it as you want. this is your motha lovin day.
WINDOW LIGHT. All I want is the light that comes through the windows straight from heaven. The second I show up, I'll be looking around for light switches to turn off anything artificial. That being said, if you have control over where you are getting ready, find something with TONS OF WINDOW LIGHT. Cute Airbnb's are a great alternative to a typical hotel room.
CLUTTER. It makes your photos look.... cluttered. Keeping bags, suitcases, trash, etc in a separate room or closet keeps the focus of the photos on what matters. Your face.
DETAILS! Anything that you put thought into - jewelry, invitations, veil, shoes - having it together and ready for me makes sure it isn't missed and you can avoid digging for it in the middle of getting ready!
MAKEUP. Hair and make up artist want light as well! Since they will get there before me, and will probably yell at me if I turn their lights off, have them set you in front of a window!
Timeline :: 90 minutes
FAMILY PORTRAITS. Because I love you and want you to love your wedding day, keeping family portraits to a reasonable amount helps keep photo fatigue away. A good amount is between 6-8 combinations. We can get them finished in 20 minutes if everyone knows where to be at what time!
DESIGNATE A HELPER. Notifying each person in the portraits about where to wait for you at and when, and then designate your most responsible family member to be in charge of rounding them up!
THE LIST. Please provide me with a list by the week before your wedding (so I don't have to bug you the week of your wedding!) of the first and last name of each person in each combination so I can yell through and keep the train moving! I promise I yell nicely.
BRIDAL PARTY. These can go before or after Family Portraits depending on who you prefer to release to the party first. Or depending on who you think is the most impatient. Your call.
Timeline :: Family Portraits :: 20 minutes, Bridal Party Portraits :: 20 minutes
BACKLIGHT THE CEREMONY. If you are having a ceremony outdoors during the midday, hard or splotchy sun on you won't be ideal, so you are going to want it to be backlit. Which means setting up your ceremony so the sun is behind you lovers and your officiant, and your guests are facing the sun.
MICROPHONES. Being heard is great. Mic stands are kinda fugly. Hand-held mics or ear-pieces aren't eyesores, go that route if you can!
BE CENTERED. If you have any OCD in you, it might bother you if all your ceremony photos are a little off center. Try the 'piece of tape on the ground' trick or something else subtle to let yourself know where to stand. Also for the bridesmaids & groomsmen.
Bride & groom portraits
The best part of the day. First, because it's literally the only part of the day where it's just you two alone. (well, and me). Second, because these are the photos you hired me for! The ones that get framed and on grandparents fridges. It's important we give these all the honor they deserve.
I recommend two separate portrait times:
Right after the ceremony when all the high of the 'WE JUST GOT MARRIED!' is at its freshest. 10 minutes.
Sunset/Twilight. These are the money shots, when all of shekinah glory is shining on you. Within an hour of sunset time is ideal. 30 minutes.
OTHER RANDOM STUFF
SPRAY TANS. I know, I like getting them too. But they don't typically photograph well. I already edit warm, so spray tans just make everybody else look like a ghost if I am going to edit the photo based off your skin, or you will look, well, super spray tanned.
MEALS. It's best if I eat right after the bridal party so that I can eat while you eat to be sure I don't miss anything. Listing me as a 'guest' rather than a 'vendor' helps clear up confusion with caterers (some have a strict 'vendors eat last' rules). I'm most often seated with guests (I'm good party talk, I promise!) But if not, making sure I'm in the same room and with a line of site to you is important. When photographers are placed in a different room, its extremely common for them to miss first dances or other important stuff because no one lets them know it was starting back up.
UNPLUGGED. I honestly don't mind the cellphones and am not hesitant to ask Aunt Betty to cheek right if she's in my shot. But it always bums me out when I am going through photos the next day and all my captures of the crowd during the ceremony have zero genuine emotion, just zombie face. Some of my favorite ceremony photos are of the crowd being a part of it with you, and that isn't there if they're all trying to get a shot that's going to suck compared to mine, just saying. Consider requesting an unplugged ceremony.
PLEASE SAVE the second row, aisle seat, on the right side for me. It will be my home base during the ceremony and make it easy for me to pop into the aisle for pivotal moments and then pop back out to not annoy everyone else.
THE SHOT vs DISCREET. Let me know if you prefer me to get the shot and have more flexibility to move around during the ceremony, or if you prefer me to be more discreet and keep my movements to a minimum.
TOASTS. Try standing during toasts so that you two sexy newlyweds and the person toasting you are close enough to be in the same image. Some of the magic of toast images can be lost if you are across the room from each other.
SHOT LISTS. In general, shot lists are a no-no. Pinterest is good for so many things, but not for sending me to re-create. It means we are trying to make your day look like someone else's. Instead, let's create something together that everyone else wants to pin:)
THE MOOD. I try to only pull out the flash for dancing photos, because it takes away from the romance of an image (and commonly believed among photographers to take part of your soul). This being said, having sufficient lighting is important that all of the above an be achieved! Candle light, edison bulbs, string lights, and chandelier combinations all help keep the mood and allow my camera enough light to focus.
HAVE FUN, OKAY?!
The most incredible, emotive images come from you being fully where you are. The logistics get crazy. Family gets annoying. Tell yourself ahead of time that you are going to shake it all off and fully be there.