After the wedding it's too late to say "Oh no, you didn't get a photograph of me and my cousin 3 times removed and she's so important to me - we grew up together!" Sure, there are photographs that you expect your photographer to take for you without you giving them instructions (you and your parents and siblings, your groom and his parents and siblings, both of you with any grandparents you have at the wedding). But we wedding photographers are not mind readers, so we are not going to know what pictures are important to you. So here are a few tips to help you make sure you get the most out of your wedding photographer.
- Trust your photographer - Assuming you have booked an experienced professional photographer to take your wedding photographs (rather than a new or semi-pro photographer, or an enthusiastic amateur or relative with a camera) then you can be assured that they know what they are doing because they have been photographing weddings for years. So you can trust them to know how to direct you in photographs, and you can trust them to capture the story of your day. Despite what is said on some wedding blogs, you really don't need to know how to pose if you have hired an experienced professional wedding photographer. Trust a professional wedding photographer to do an expert job for you.
- Be ready when your photographer asks you to be - you need to be ready for photographs before your ceremony, so you need to be in your dress with your hair and makeup finished at the time that your photographer requests. The thing that is most likely to make you late is your makeup, as many makeup artists suggest doing you last - but this is the one thing that delays the whole proceedings. Be sure to have your hair and makeup done first, then you will be ready on time for your photographs.
- Allow time for your wedding photographs - Your wedding day will go so fast you just won't know where the time goes! It's the most common thing that brides and grooms say to me when I photograph their wedding in and around Liverpool. Whatever time you think now that you need to allow for photographs, as well as seeing all of your guests, add time to that! The main time to focus on is that your venue need to turn the reception room around for the evening do after your reception meal - they need this to be ready by 7.30, and so they prefer you to sit down for your reception meal no later than 4.30. In reality, it's possible to do the meal, the speeches and the room turn around with the sit down meal at 5pm, but this is the latest. Knowing this helps you plan the rest of the day.
- Group Photographs take time! - Every group that you add to the list that your wedding photographer needs to take for you takes about 5-7 minutes to set up - longer if people you want in the group have vanished to the bar or to check into their bedroom. Look for ways you can combine groups together, such as both sets of parents with the two of you, both sets of grandparents, all aunts, uncles and cousins together in one photograph. When I photograph weddings in and around Liverpool I suggest to couples that they limit themselves to 6 groups photographs, which takes about 20-30 mintues, allowing more time for photographs of the two of you, and for you to spend time with your guests.
- Know what photographs are important to you - And let your photographer know. This might be people that you want to be photographed, or it could be parts of the day, such as your vows, a pictures of your rings, or the details in your reception room. Don't assume anything - if a picture is important to you, then let your wedding photographer know this.
- Speak to your vicar, priest or venue about photographs during the ceremony - On the day of your wedding, if your vicar, priest or venue tells the photographer that they cannot take photographs during the ceremony, they must respect this. It is your responsibility to arrange for the photographs to be taken during the ceremony beforehand, putting all the arrangements in place.
- Arrange for someone to help gather people together - Your wedding photographer doesn't know who the relevant people are for group photographs, so arrange for a couple of the ushers to find the people who need to be in each group photograph and make sure they are ready when they're needed.
- Work out your timeline with your photographer - Wedding photographers are the one of the only wedding vendors who is with you for most or all of the day, so talk to your wedding photographer about the timings of the day.
- The first dance - A quiet plea for your wedding photographer - chances are by 8pm your wedding photographer will have worked a long day by 8pm, so although it doesn't seem much to you to put your first dance back an hour, that hour is a long time to your wedding photographer. and remember, the night won't really begin until you take the dance floor, so get out there, dance, and let the festivities begin!