Wedding day photography accounts for 15-25% of most couples wedding day expenses but probably gets far less planning other than finding that perfect photographer. So it’s a photographer’s job to guide their couples wedding day plans (if possible).
One of the questions I’m asked regularly is “how many images will I get?”. Of course this depends on the am mound of coverage and if there are set times to actually spend with a bride and groom to spend on making images. Yes, the photography will happen to document your day, if that is all you had allocated, but if you book your photographer before you book your reception location or set the time of the ceremony, they will be able to guide you through the planning process to allow for that essential time to make beautiful images.
Most photographers (myself included) have times included in their contracts that inform couples of just how much time they need to set aside in the day. Mostly though, probably because there is so much in a contract these days, couples forget completely what they need to plan for and leave the day up to the wedding planner. So it’s the photographers job to communicate that important information and make a plan for the day with their couples.
So for wedding day details like rings, wedding dress, shoes jewelry, flowers etc. it usually takes 30 mins to take these images. I usually request that flowers are delivered by the time we take these shots because the flowers are most beautiful the moment they are delivered. Morning is best for these shots, before
Bridal prep images are usually next. From hotel rooms to living rooms, to interior rooms without windows at the reception location, we have shot it all. My preference is for window light in these situations, but we have used flash, and continuous light for details and bridal prep at times. Give your photographer an hour for bridal prep images, and free reign to rearrange the furniture and adjust the room in any way necessary to provide you with some beautiful images.
Groom and groomsmen need about 30 minutes of time set aside as well to record images to immortalize them in your wedding album. Just like the bridal prep images but usually at twice the pace! Same rules apply for the grooms prep area, in that the photographer will need to have permission to “edit the area” because your photographer may need to change the area to suit the style of images they intend to produce.
For First Looks, you need to allow 20-30 mins, but this also varies depending on their location and distance from the ceremony location. Even though the actual time to do the first look might only be 5-10 minutes, the rest of the time is used to take some pre ceremony portrait images of the bride and groom which will become beautiful keepsakes and key images in your wedding album.
Wedding family and wedding party formal images take about 4-5 mins each so long as everyone is available and ready for their photo session. These are usually formally or informally posed images using whatever is available in or near the ceremony location. Most couples have these done immediately after the ceremony while everyone is still in the area and the rest of the guests wait for the couples exit.
Couples session is immediately after formals and can be done in the same location or in another one close by. Remember though to discuss exactly how much time is needed to travel to this place and allow for any travel logistics it may take to get everyone there.
Reception Venue and location images. This is an area where many couples skip, but weeks, months, or years large regret that decision. (We did) Our reception venue was in one of the the most beautiful restaurants in the area, but our photographer (long retired) didn’t get a shot of the place. It still lives in out memories, but like the 1 foot afro on one of my buddies, it would be great to relive that on occasion. So don’t skip out on the details of your day and make 15-20 mins to allow your photographer to shoot before the guests are seated.
One of the most important things to remember is to relax. Your perfect day is filled with loved ones, family and friends, and its all going to be OK. I’ve seen smiling photos of bride and groom cutting their wedding cake…as it collapses backward supported by Mom and Dad. So yes perfection is a goal, but the people in your are more important than anything that might try and spoil your celebration. Enjoy them and celebrate with all your might the beginning of your lives together! Perfection is a dream that every bride works months to achieve, but if it’s at the price of a single relationship, the cost will be far too high. So relax, and roll through your day with grace, peace and joy to start your marriage together.