Did You Forget to Tell Your Photographer Something? | Hippie Wedding at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh PA
Lately everything is "bespoke" (what happened to the word "custom"?), and weddings are becoming bigger and better than ever with curated details and surprise events that make it a truly unique and personal experience. But, in all that planning, did you forget to tell your photographer about any special details that are significant to your wedding? Not only is it really important to have great communication with your photographer because of personality (if you're a regular around here you know why!), but its also good to keep us in the loop so we can be prepared with the right gear (and literally be in the right place) to make sure every little detail and moment that is important to you is captured to the best of our ability.
Each region of the country (and world!) has different wedding traditions, and while your photographer is prepared for the "normal" wedding day, you can generally assume that anything that makes this wedding unique to you is something that you need to tell your photographer. Is your dress your moms? Wearing grandmas ring? Do you have a crazy Aunt Betty who is a photo nut and will be at your photographers hip each moment? Grooms, are you planning a surprise fireworks show? Are you pulling a rubber chicken out of your bride's dress when you go all "Mission Impossible" under there for the garter? Do you have super cool food options like a food truck instead of the stuffed chicken a la buffet? Tell me! Part of the fun of planning weddings now is that literally anything goes. And I want to be ready to rock it so you can always remember it!
Here are 5 big areas you should cover when you sit down to meet your photographer:
If it's important to you (or your mom, dad, stepmom - whoever!) to get a photo with a specific combination of family members, you MUST give your photographer a list, especially when blended families are involved. There's nothing worse that leaving someone out or hurting someone's feelings over wedding pictures. Sit down with your fiancé and your family AND his or her family and ask about any family photos they need to have. If the list gets out of hand, just pare it down. You and your fiancé are the boss! It's YOUR wedding! Your photographer will absolutely do everything they can as time allows to get all of the shots, but he or she has to know what shots to get in the first place. And trust me, don't wait until the day of the wedding to just shout out combinations of aunts and uncles. You will be distracted and pulled in a million different directions, not to mention timelines can be tight to fit in portraits and travel to the reception. Don't let that stress you out - let me handle it!
Speaking of the time, it's essential you tell your photographer the timeline of your wedding. If you are doing a first look, getting ready in a different location other than the church, or if there is a good amount of travel time from location to location, these are all things that your photographer will be grateful to know ahead of time! If the logistics and scheduling of everything is giving you a headache, let your photographer and DJ help. We have been to hundreds of weddings and can tell you how much time things take, including those sneaky time-suckers like receiving lines that you may not have thought about. Just as important, if a time or location changes, even day of, your photographer should be in the know about that too. We are constantly keeping track of the time (I have a watch in my camera bag in case my phone dies) and trying to fit in everything you want to do while keeping a fun vibe (but on schedule!), so delegate that stress to us!
A lot of churches frown upon using flash, so be sure to check with the little old church secretary (I can say that because I'm basically my church's secretary lol), and see what the officiant's preference on flash is. If your photographer is used to using flash everywhere, it's definitely worth bringing up. Most photographers have lenses that are up to the job no matter what the lighting is like, but just make sure they know in advance so they can pack correctly.
Also. Sparklers. Please, please PLEASE tell us when you are using sparklers, or even glow sticks (that was a rad wedding!) for an exit. If there's fire or other low-light fun things happening, we've gotta know so we can be in place with the right gear. It's helpful, too, if you can take your time walking through all the beautiful sparks instead of sprinting the heck outta there! Your honeymoon can wait 30 more seconds, I promise ;)
One of the things that make weddings so dear and personal are details. It's really a great way to infuse your personality, family, history, and anything significant to you into your wedding. My rule of thumb when photographing weddings is that if you made it or paid for it, I'm going to photograph it! But if there is something very important to you that may not be on display or obvious, make sure to let us know so we can snap a pic!
I love it when grooms and brides surprise each other with things during their wedding. Be it a gift or prayer before the ceremony, a note, a fireworks show, a game during the reception, a choreographed dance, whatever, let us in on the secret! We promise we won't tell, and you can be sure that we will be in the right place at the right time!
It's my goal to teach you that your photographer is so much more than a lady or dude snapping photos on your wedding day. Something that is so intrinsic to my personality and my only really true passion is service, and it's essential to being a good photographer. Your photographer should be there to calm you down, keep you on track, encourage you, direct you, create with you, laugh with you, and take care of you. The more information you can give us, the better we can serve you - and that's what it's all about!