Planning a wedding is a huge event. If you’re like me, you were dreaming about it your whole life (and it’s really just the beginning!). And as we all know, there are usually enough details to keep the planning going for a few months. But, as a photographer, I wanted to take a moment to help you get the best out of your wedding photography experience by giving some insight into some important concerns for your photographer. Part of an online forum of over 29k members, I surveyed these fellow photographers in asking them…
What is something you wish your brides would tell you before the wedding day that you might not explicitly ask them about in a consultation… r random things you now ask that maybe aren’t as traditionally questioned but just as necessary?
So, I give you their (and my) answers.
1. Drama. Let’s be honest…when you think of a big family vacation, do you think of some added chaos? A wedding is a huge event full of family and friends, which means there are tons of people with just as many differences. And oftentimes it’s bound to be that two people who don’t have a smooth history, but are somehow joined together because of you, may cross paths. It’s your wedding day and you want everything to flow well. Unfortunately, these differences can be hard for some to lay to rest even for such an important event focusing on you and your soon-to-be. So, do yourself a favor and let your photographer know about some possible drama that may be floating around that could affect your comfort level (or that of others) in photos – or issues that could hinder your photographer from doing his or her job. You don’t have to go into massive detail. It’s as simple as saying, “My parents are divorced, so it’s probably best to keep them separated,” if you feel that to be appropriate. Or something like, “My Aunt Karen and my sister don’t get along too well, so just a heads up.”
“I always ask if there are any family situations I should know about (divorces, family members who don’t get along, etc) so that when we do family formals, I don’t accidentally put those people next to each other or call someone’s step mom their mother or something like that!”
Alexa Marie Photography
2. Special ceremony rules. This is a big one. I personally just shot a wedding for the first time where the bride sent me rules for all the vendors of the wedding, created by the church. Some of the rules were that I had to stay in a certain spot, couldn’t use flash (which I rarely do, but still…), couldn’t shoot during certain moments, etc. A good photographer won’t just take beautiful images, but will respect the rules of your ceremony and work around them.
3. Special ceremony details. There’s nothing quite like the
sheer terror embarrassment of being in the middle of a wedding and realizing your are completely lost in the routine and are about to miss a huge detail if you don’t hustle your rear to another position within the venue. When in doubt (if your ceremony routine is traditional or not), spell it out (to your photographer)!
“I always ask about the ceremony–how long they expect it to last, anything they will be doing out of the ordinary, etc. I do this because once I assumed a ceremony would be fairly long because I knew the couple and I just thought it seemed like their personality! Then, I almost missed the kiss because I was taking a wide angle scenery shot. I had to run back to the front just in time to get it! haha So from now on I always ask how long they expect the ceremony to last.”
Kelcy Leigh Photography
4. When they can have your rings. This is something I recently considered asking. In the past, getting the rings from the bride and groom often seemed a bit awkward. Instead of a smooth flow of, me: May I have your rings [for some photography], please? – them: Oh, yes, sure, go right ahead, it usually ended up with me asking and then a minor look of panic on the bride’s face, as if I had just asked to break a window. See, after your married, like right after, your rings are going to be hot on your finger. After all, you just had a whole ceremony focused around them. So, to save on the surprise and confusion, if your photographer doesn’t actually tell you when they will need your rings for some images, be sure to ask. Save yourself a mini heart-attack!
5. Time it takes to bustle or close the bride’s gown. I know, you’ve been eyeing that gorgeous gown with an intricate 30-button closure. Or perhaps that gown with the 6-tiered bustle that would make Belle jealous. Here’s a secret – it’s harder than it looks! On your wedding day, your emotions will be high, your body may swell a bit from heat – and all those little-added details may not be so easy on a day when time means everything.
“One bride’s dress took 30 minutes [to close] and she totally hadn’t told me… I ask that question now. 🙂 “
Rejoicing Rebecca Photography
“…When brides don’t have anyone who has been shown how to do it, it can take a long time. I’d suggest telling the bride to have a bridesmaid come along to a fitting to be shown how to bustle it by the seamstress.”
6. If there’s alcohol during the reception. I ask this at all my bridal consultations. I’m not against alcohol but alcohol does change people’s behaviors. And if I’m honest, every wedding that I’ve been to that had alcohol seems to of always had a group of people that got a little out of hand in one way or another. Not all events were dangerous, but a handful did raise some concerns! So, as a courtesy, let your photographer know if you’re serving alcohol so he or she can stay safe!
7. If the meal prepared for vendors has any traditional, well-known allergies (peanuts, etc). Many photographers have a second shooter, many don’t. In the event that your photographer has an allergic reaction to the food you are serving, not only are they in a dangerous situation, but you’re out a photographer! So, as another courtesy, if you are serving food with nuts or shellfish, it’s not a bad idea to let your photographer know (if they are eating at your wedding)!
8. Bodies of water/obstacles on location. It may seem obvious that when a photographer arrives at a location, they’ll always be on the lookout for obstacles, watching their step wherever they go. But here’s another little secret: we photographers have nerves, too! And sometimes those nerves keep us too focused on the event at hand, we don’t notice anything else going on. We want to get that perfect shot, and for some of us, that comes at the expense of our pride with a plunge. Water, holes in the ground, it’s always nice to know before the event of any obstacles at the venue. That way, when your photographer gets a chance to scope out the location, they can fully prepare themselves with awareness not first at your wedding!
9. Any mobility issues for those who will be intentionally photographed (bridesmaid on crutches, grandparent in wheelchair). As mentioned earlier, weddings bring together many people. And chances are, someone may have some type of mobility issue. It’s always nice to know before the wedding who may need a little extra help so that time, positioning, and equipment can be considered.
“It’s always nice to know if we have family members in wheelchairs before choosing a non-handicap accessible place for portraits.”
Kylee Dahl Photography
10. If your mailing address has changed. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how busy things get when you’re planning a wedding. If you want your images to arrive on time – don’t forget to let your photographer know your new address!
“[I ask if] they’ve moved since they signed the contract to confirm their mailing address. At least half of my couples move/buy a house and forget to tell me that they have a new address!”
Bare Fotos Photography
Well, I hope that this helped you get a better idea of not only what your photographer goes through on your wedding day, but the importance of finding one that flows well with you and your personality, carefully registering all the important details that make your wedding unique. Some of these questions are personal, so if anything, it’s just one more way to weed out your way to finding your perfect photographer!