Wedding Photography: Making time on your big day for these 4 moments!
Making time for wedding photos? Duh! But, we mean specifically at certain points during the day. We have worked with so many amazing couples at so many different venues, which always lends itself to something unique! However, we’ve noticed a few things that have remained consistent from wedding to wedding that we wanted to share with you. These things will help keep your wedding day moving along smoothly, while making sure you have time to get all the photos you want.
Now, a great professional wedding photographer/wedding photography team is going to have a well-developed photojournalistic style to help capture the majority of the day as it unfolds. With this, they won't necessarily need to make time or stop the action to capture the photos you want. They are going to be able to capture the little moments, expressions, and the overall feeling of the day without being too intrusive. We shoot in this style, the majority of any given wedding day, as most of our clients prefer this style. In fact, in a recent survey performed by Thumbtack.com on wedding photography trends, over 80% of couples preferred this style of candid photos. All this being said, it’s still important to consider time allotted for these 4 key times on your wedding day!
The majority of the couples we work with want to get some of the bridal parties getting ready, but how much time to do you need? When should you schedule your photographer to be there? To answer both of these questions, it really all depends! (we’ll focus on the bride and bridesmaids as they usually require more time to prep) First, it depends on how many bridesmaids you have and whether you (the bride) will be getting ready first or last, after all of your bridesmaids. Something to also consider when it comes to this is, are you going to be getting each other ready? Or have you hired a professional to do your hair and make up? If you have hired a professional, will they be solo, or will they be bringing a team? We always suggest asking your make up and hair professionals approximately how long they think it will take to get everything done, so you can schedule the time with your photographer of when to be there. This is important, as you may want them to capture wedding prep from beginning to end, or you may only want them to come when you are almost ready. It really depends on how much detail you want captured. In our pictures below, we were with Katelin and Rachael from beginning to end, but one bridal party was large, while the other was small. Many brides may need to budget their time so this is where size is probably the most important factor to consider. Our rule of thumb when considering when you want your photographer to start shooting the getting ready photos is if you are wanting everything covered (hair, make up, dress getting put on, details like the dress before you put it on, jewelry close ups, etc.) and you have 4 bridesmaids or more, allow at least an hour and a half to get all of these details. (That is if you have a fast professional hair and make up team working with you.) If you have less than 4 bridesmaids, you can probably get away with an hour and a half or less, again, if you want everything covered. Most brides only want them getting ready with a few candid photos of everyone else, in this case, allow at least one hour of coverage.
A first look can be a great opportunity to not only capture an absolutely spectacular moment between a bride and groom as they see each other for the first time on their wedding day, but also a good opportunity to set some time aside for couples photos. In our experience, there are usually two kinds of first look situations. 1) couples who just want to do the first look and then spend a few minutes with each other or 2) couples who want to do the first look and then get some photos with each other before the ceremony. If you find yourself in group 1 above, allow at least 15-20 minutes for the first look (note this is if you are at the same venue or are in the same relative area as many couples are not). If you find yourself in group 2, allow at least 30-45 minutes to get everything in and take in the moment.
They are usually everybody’s least favorite except mom and dad (lol). These are the group photos that are usually performed before or after the ceremony depending on the preference of the couple. Many times, couples want to squeeze as many of these in as possible before the ceremony so they don’t have to spend too much time after the ceremony and being away from the good time with friends and family. More often than not, many couples end up doing the majority of them after the ceremony. The pairings of the groups for the photos is completely up to each couple, but some of the traditional ones are the entire bridal party, bride & groom with mom and dad (both sides of the family), close family or friends. Most people have a moderate sized list in order to just ‘get these over with’ and when we perform these, we always try to keep a nice flow and start with the larger groups first so we can work our way down and stream line the process. Family size and how many of them you want to include in these photos is usually the main factor in how long they will take. Larger families or couples that want a lot of unique pairings like relatives other than moms, grandparents, and brothers & sisters, can generally take around 45 minutes and up. For couples that want to keep things simple and do not desire a lot of these photos, it usually takes around 30 minutes.
Bride & Groom Photos
Ask any professional wedding photographer what their favorite part of any wedding is and you will almost always get the answer “Photos with the bride and groom!” Notice I said with, not of. This is because when we are working with a couple we always make sure to connect and put them at ease. It’s not just taking photos of people, its capturing emotions and moments in time. Unfortunately, we often hear horror stories that it wasn’t quite like this for some of their friends or loved ones. You hear these stories where the photographer took them away from the wedding for up to 2 hours to take photos while their wedding day goes on without them. While we wholeheartedly agree it’s important to make time for these special photos during your big day, we also believe in couples being present and in the moment with their friends and families for such special day. We always recommend communicating in advance with your photographer the vision for you wedding and what specific types of shots you are looking for when it comes to these bride and groom photos. We always make it a point to cover this with the couples we work with and when opportunity permits we always visit the venue beforehand to make sure we start scouting out spots to make our couples’ visions come to life. By going through the planning process, we are able to get these moments for the couples we serve and usually do it in a half hour or less. We always recommend setting aside at least 30 minutes for our couples so we can get these moments of them completely wrapped up in each other (sometimes literally). If you have to drive to different locations, or hike for that matter, try to plan for travel and work that into your timeline.
As we stated previously, the majority of your wedding day will be covered by a great professional photographer, without much need for planning or direction. However, it is important to consider timing for the four aforementioned times of the day for your wedding day! As we tell all the couples we work with, it’s always better to plan and have too much time, then to not plan, and ultimately not have enough! So plan ahead and enjoy your big day knowing that no moment will be missed!
Joe & Jenny