Question #1- “ When should I book my photographer?” One thing to keep in mind is that the best photographers are not well known because they only do a couple of weddings a year…they do one a week if not two! As soon as you know your first choice…call and see if the date is available with them; most of the well-known photographers are booked at least a year in advance if not longer.
Question #2- “Do I need to supply the picture combination list or does my photographer?” This is a great question because you do not want to leave anybody out that you want in your picture collection. Your photographer does have a starter combination list…ask for it when you sign your contract so you have time to go through it and think about any additions you might want to add. Having a picture combination list lets your photographer know your expectations on how many pictures you and your fiancé need; it also allows them to correctly manage their timeline for their part in your special day. Remember your family and friends only enjoy smiling so much and you and your fiancé will be in most of the pictures as well.
Question #3- “ How much time is normally allotted for pictures?” Generally you will need three hours. The first hour will be just for you and your fiancé for your first look and pictures just with the two of you. The second hour your bridal party will join you, and the third hour will be back at your ceremony venue for your family pictures. I will say that this is for a standard amount of pictures that need to be taken…your photographer will help you make the necessary time adjustments.
Question #4- “Can I just have my friend/family member take my pictures?” This is another question I get asked a lot, sometime budgets are tight and sometimes this is the first thing that gets looked at for the budget-cutting meeting, and I understand that. A few things to keep in mind are the following before taking from this budget line:
- These pictures will be the ONLY way you will relive the first best day of your lives together.
- Are you in love with the wedding pictures your friend or family member has done in the past? Please do not be their first wedding work of art…I beg you!!
- A camera owner, who is very good with their camera, is still not a wedding photographer there is a huge difference between the two.
- Is the friend or family member extremely close to you where you and your fiancé are going to what them to celebrate with you on your special day? Your photographer has no time to “celebrate/party” with you while they are focused on capturing your “must have” memories you want captured.
- Having friends/family members sometimes can be a very touchy situation with being compensated, not getting your expectations met, friend/family member not staying in work mode—do you blame them when you all are in party mode—I do not, they want to enjoy the day with you all!
If you must do a budget cut in this area…hire a non-friend/family member this will save you from possibly having to save your friendship or relationship. BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS!
Question #5- “Is it a must that I get my engagement pictures from the same photographer?” Yes this a MUST. Doing your engagement pictures lets you see their work and gives you a chance to get to know your photographer and vise versa…very important to you and your photographer. Only exception is if you are just not happy with your engagement pictures and you tried to work it out with your photographer and you are just not comfortable with the outcome. At this point, find a different photographer and meet with them…they might want to have another mini session so they can get to know you BEFORE your wedding day.
Question # 6 “What does my photographer expect from me?” Having a relationship with your photographer is a two way street. Here are a few things that will help have a great relationship, which will create an atmosphere for a great wedding day experience.
- MOST IMPORTANT—keep the communication open!
- Your photographer wants to know your vision of your day and what moments are important to you to capture.
- Your photographer wants to know what you like about your engagement pictures and what you DO NOT like so they can make sure they make changes for your wedding day.
- You see pictures on Pinterest… your photographer will do their best, remember you are dealing with different people, different backdrops, and different weather, and try to be realistic in your expectations with this. In your pre-wedding meetings bring those pictures and listen and trust your photographer if they say …this is not realistic or here are my recommendations or this is how to put your own twist on it.
- Your photographer does not know your families; have someone from each side there to help get the next group ready so you can stay on time. NOTE: If you have a planner or coordinator they will take of this for you.
- If a family member has “issues” with other family members tell your photographer in advance so they know. The photographer does not want to create any uncomfortable situations on your special day.
- If you think you have an over bearing relative who things they are going to determine what pictures your photographer is going to take…respectively remind them that you have had fantastic meetings with your photographer and they have a list that you created. Your photographer does not enjoy being bombarded with over bearing relatives.
- During the one hour of family pictures is not the time to do your families-family pictures unless you have prearranged it with your photographer…please remind your families so the photographer does not have to.
- Your photographer expects you and your fiancé to be genuinely happy on the day of your wedding …they cannot Photoshop happiness into your pictures. If there is stressful things you are dealing with that day relating to wedding planning or family confrontational issue either designate someone to take care of it or set it aside for one day. Your pictures will reflect your heart inside…relax enjoy your day…it only happens once!
- If there are family members that have special needs your photographer needs to know ahead of time.
- If you are planning on taking pictures before the wedding be prepared for your dress to get a little dirty. Hint: have your personal attendant bring wipes or white chalk to get out the visible dirt marks.
Here are just a few things that will help you with your relationship with your photographer; I cannot emphasize enough about how important communication is, they want your pictures to turn out PERFECT…like you do…and they will do everything in their power to make it happen!! As a planner and coordinator, I work very closely with the photographer in making sure they have enough time in the “Wedding Day” timeline to get your expectations accomplished, I help with your family pictures, I am there to defuse any issues that might take place, and most of all I make sure there is open communication and create moments for feedback between you and your photographer in a very fun and professional way. Brides when you feel that you are on the same page with your photographer (and this is just one of many vendors on your list but goes for every vendor) it naturally creates that “less stress” feeling that I am always talking about having while you are planning. Brides you should be enjoying the planning process NOT become feeling like you just “want to be married to get this over with”; when I hear brides, that are not my clients, say this it makes me really sad for them…because it is only once and a lifetime chapter in your life. Be and stay connected with your photographer and you will have no regrets…I promise! If you have any questions on these topics please ask I love to answer them!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Planning!!