by: Jessica

Hello again! I hope you enjoyed my first post on Overcoming the Overwhelming of Planning a Wedding and that it was helpful for you all!

Being a photographer myself, and a recent bride, I thought I would share some tips for something close to my heart- how you as a bride can help your wedding photographer do the best job that they possibly can. Although your photographer is likely a professional and has probably done many, many weddings, there are still some things that you can do that will help him or her successfully capture your wedding day… and more importantly, provide you with results that will leave you absolutely overjoyed!

How You Can Help Your Wedding Photographer via TheELD.com

Share details!

Make sure you share specific details with your photographer if you want them captured. Photographers are only human, and as much as they wish, they can’t read your mind. Your photographer may not know that that the handkerchief in your groom’s pocket was hand made from his mother’s wedding gown, or that your soon-to-be in-laws spent countless hours sewing decorations for you. There are many photographers who would probably photograph those details naturally as part of documenting your day, but I still highly recommend not assuming that they know everything you want captured. Let your photographer know about the details of your wedding!

Inform them of who is important to you.

If you’re the type of bride who is really close with her family and would like candid photographs of them, make sure you share that information with your photographers. It would also be helpful to point those people out to your photographers on the big day (or designate someone to point out important guests). Also, scheduling your family photos before your ceremony can be really helpful for your photographer. It will allow your photographer to attend your cocktail hour to get candids you would like (as well as capture reception details). That’s also a great time for you to be able to say hello to your guests and get a photo with them too, in case they are not part of your family portraits.

 Make a family portrait list.

Taking family portraits can be a fairly smooth and painless process- if you’re prepared. It’s a good idea to provide your photographer with a list of the family members you would like in group photos at least three days before the wedding. I encourage couples to make a rough list before they finalize their day-of schedule (months in advance if possible) to confirm that they have allowed an appropriate amount of time for the number of groups they have made. I suggest starting the list with the with the largest number of people that will be  in one group, and then removing some individuals to create the next group. For example:

Group One: (8 people)
Bride
Groom
Mother of Bride
Father of Bride
Sister of Bride
Sister of the Bride’s Husband
Bride’s Niece
Brother of Bride

Group Two: (6 people)
Bride
Groom
Mother of Bride
Father of Bride
Sister of the Bride
Brother of the Bride

Group Three: (4 people)
Bride
Groom
Mother of the Bride
Father of the Bride

This example is very short, but it makes a big difference when it’s a large group. Starting with 20 people and then working your way down to just a few people minimizes confusion and re-organization. And not only does this help your photographer arrange the groups, but it also allows your family members to know when they are finished with photos. Using this method, my husband and I have found that family photos take less time and run more smoothly than if we were calling groups up at random.

How You Can Help Your Wedding Photographer via TheELD.com

Images by Justin DeMutiis Photography

Assign a “Wrangler” (or two).

If you have a friend who knows the majority of your family (or one for each side, bride and groom) they can be the “wrangler” for your photographer (Because let’s face it- they likely won’t know anyone but you and your groom). The wrangler(s) can help during your family photo time by letting the people in the next group know they’re up soon and encourage them to be ready when called. It is also helpful for them to have a copy of the shot list so they can check it off along with your photographer to ensure that no groups are missed.

 Photographers should eat when you eat!

The truth is, your photographer won’t be taking photos while you’re eating. I promise- you don’t want images of you with your mouth full. But think of it this way- your photographer is with you all day, and will need to replenish and reenergize. If you are not providing meals for your photographers (and the other vendors who are with you all day), it is helpful to let them know that in advance so they can be prepared to provide meals for themselves. [Note: Read Do We Have To Feed Our Vendors?]

In addition, if there are any speeches that are going to be given during your reception, they typically will take place after you’ve finished eating but before your guests finish their meals (since brides and grooms are served first). If your vendors are served after your guests then there is little to no time for them to eat before needing to capture the speeches. If you want your photographers and vendors to love you, ask your catering manager in advance to serve them just after serving you. This way they will have time to eat before speeches and other reception events even start.

 Communicate Your Expectations.

You’ve hired your photographers because you’ve poured through every image they’ve ever photographer and have fallen in love with them, right? Well, maybe for some of you. But for others, it may have been a referral, a family friend, or maybe they were chosen because your fiancée is a huge fan. In any case, you will have an expectation of what will be delivered. I highly recommend talking through your expectations with your photographer in depth before your wedding day. Make no assumptions, and don’t be too scared to send them a reminder email to calm your own nerves. Photographers love hearing from their couples! They need to know what you want so they can strive to give you their best. For example, if you really want a photo of you and a special guest but you don’t tell your photographer, then there’s little chance that they will be able to absolutely make that happen for you. But if you just tell your photographer, then they will take note and probably even remind you to take that photo with your special guest! It’s all about communication!

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Some of these may seem like little things, but in reality, sometimes it’s those little things that make a big difference!

Has your photographer made any requests or recommendations that you found to be helpful? I’d love to hear any advice so we can share it with other brides!

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How You Can Help Your Wedding Photographer via TheELD.com
Jessica Devins is a wedding photographer and cinematographer based in Minneapolis, MN, and also a recent bride. Jess hopes that by sharing the experiences she had when planning her wedding, and the insight she gained, she will be able to help Every Last Detail brides!

7 responses to How You Can Help Your Wedding Photographer

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  1. Ashlee (a Vendor)

    Excellent article!

  2. Anni (a Vendor)

    Yes yes yes to all of this – I cannot stress the one about having the photographer eat when you eat enough. Lots of venues want vendors to eat last – and often in a different room from guests – which means we often don’t get more than one or two bites before the speeches, dances, etc start.

  3. Bumby (a Vendor)

    This is some great advice. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Justin (a Vendor)

    Amen! These are all things we try to communicate to each of our clients. The more our clients know what we know, the better it will turn out for everyone!

  5. Lovella Bridal (just curious)

    Love the list! There are so many “how-to” and “to-do” lists for brides. Brides must not forget that it’s important that she and her partner and their photographer make a good team!

  6. Trifon Anguelov (a Vendor)

    Excellent resource for brides who are planning their wedding. As wedding photographer myself I wish many of my brides read this article before their weddings.

    Thank you for summarizing these great tips.

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