Make sure you give your Wedding Photographer everything they need to know!

Communication is key! Make sure everyone knows your wants, desires, timeline, and who else will be there professionally. I want to discuss a wedding where I had almost no information beforehand, and no clue who else would be there professionally. The wedding was awesome, but it came at a cost.

Regardless of how much you have planned, the day can change in an instant and you have to adapt. I fully understand and get that. This example wedding was unusual in that I was supplied with almost no details but… even if I had a detailed timeline, events unfolded that would have seen that timeline change drastically anyway.

I had emailed and contacted this couple several times asking for more information but for whatever reason, they wouldn’t or couldn’t give it to me. I turned up on the day knowing the time of the ceremony and first dance, but not much else.

We were unaware that there would be a videographer. Absolutely lovely chap, all of us keeping out of each other’s way, and great communication between us. He had a drone which was cool. I usually ask the couple which is more important (photo or video) but I would do so before their big day. I don’t want to do or say anything that may have them both say something different. It’s a question that needs to be asked beforehand so it doesn’t risk ruining the day.

The videographer ended up taking fairly substantial chunks of time out of different parts of the day. He was new to weddings so was taking a lot longer to get what he needed. He was being over cautious rather than slow.

As an example, I needed the group shot (around 80 people) before the meals were served at 3pm. The time was 2.30pm. No problem I thought. The videographer took the Bride and Groom away for a drone balcony shot. That should have taken no time at all.

25 minutes later at 2.55pm, he was still doing this balcony drone shot and the Wedding Coordinator was saying everyone needed to start coming in for the meals. I explained they can’t, I still needed to do the group shot. At 3pm, the time of the main meal, the Bride and Groom finally emerged. I got the group shot but two minutes was nowhere near enough time to do it properly.

When I realised how long he was taking I started moving people to the spot I’d picked out for the group shot. It’s difficult because some people are elderly and they are not so good on their feet, so it’s trying to juggle their needs and everyone else’s enjoyment, with getting a shot I knew the couple wanted while being pressured to get everyone inside for their meals.

A Wedding Album was important to them but I didn’t know that because they didn’t tell me. Had I known, I would have been much more forceful in getting the time away from the videographer so I could get the photos they wanted. He would not have had 30 minutes to get a drone balcony shot for example.

Three months after their wedding I was getting emails asking for more photos (I had delivered over 500). I explained they had all the best ones, the ones left were duplicates or people blinking etc. They wanted more Bride and Groom shots for their album but I didn’t know that because they hadn’t told me they were getting an album (it is rare these days). I’d only been given 5 minutes for Bride and Groom shots but the videographer had over 40 minutes. Had I known the Bride and Groom needed these photos for an album, I would have told the videographer he’d have to give me more time so the couple had enough choices for the photo album.

Why didn’t you get more of [Name(s)]?

This is something else that has cropped up a couple of times. The wedding day is fast-paced. I try to get at least one photo of each guest and several of the parents and bridal parties. Sometimes though this isn’t possible. As an example, I will not supply photos that contain no emotion. Sometimes the timeline is so tight, walking around getting shots of 200 guests ALL smiling, laughing or crying is just not possible. In those cases, I take wide shots so they are at least in some scenes.

I’ve had one where the Bride asked for more photos of her mum. I’d supplied a few of her mum and a number of photos with mum in the shot. The problem was her mum had zero emotion the entire day. every time I pointed the camera at her I’d get a scornful look because she didn’t want her picture taken. Thankfully, I still took a large number of photos of her mum in a mood to show I tried, but her mum just wasn’t in any way emotional on the day.

If you must have a photo of certain people together I need to know. You can’t get angry with me because I didn’t take a photo of Uncle Bob with Aunt Mary and Cousin Joe if I didn’t know those three people were in some way really important to you.

It’s these things that are really important for your photographer to know because I don’t know what are the most important things to you unless you tell me.

My Top Tips for communicating your wedding photography wishes

  • Tell your photographer if there will be another photographer / videographer etc
  • If you have a videographer, decide which is more important, photo or video, and then tell them both
  • If you want an album, tell your photographer so they have enough time for it
  • If someone or a specific group of people are really important to photograph, point it out and tell your photographer you need photos of that person/group.
  • Don’t assume you’ll have 30 photos of every person. In a 200-guest wedding that would be 6,000 photos of just candids. That’s unrealistic. If someone is important, tell the photographer, even if it’s your mum, tell the photographer that you want a LOT of photos of mum. In these cases, I’ll use the second photographer to follow that person around taking photos of mostly that person.
  • If you have a sentimental object on you tell your photographer
  • If a particular photo is a MUST HAVE, please tell your photographer that the photo is the highest priority. For example, if having the rings photographed together on the Brides Bouquet is an absolute must-have, make that clear.
  • Don’t assume if you see a photo on my website, that I take that exact shot at every wedding. The wedding rings on the Brides bouquet is a great example, sometimes it just isn’t possible, but if I’m told it must happen, it will.
  • Be ‘time realistic’. If you want lots and lots of different Bride and Groom shots, don’t set aside just 10 minutes for it. Likewise, if you send me a Pinterest board with 200 poses, make sure you set aside a month or more to get all those shots 😉

Communication is key. The more I know what’s important, the more I can be focused on those things. Please supply as much detail as you can. I really do want your day to have all the photos you wanted!

Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter