Any way you look at it, the photographs (and probably the video) are really the most important part of your wedding day. After all is said and done – the day ends, the venue is cleaned up, the decorations are boxed up, the dress is hung up in a closet and the tuxes are returned to the rental store – all that remains are the photos that captured the day. Yet, all too often, couples don’t allot enough time for photographers to capture those moments in a uniquely memorable way.
I’ve begun to realize through experience, and also through talking to other photographers, that the timeline of a wedding day is the single most important aspect of producing amazing photos. For those of you who’ve read my First Look post, this is a good follow up to it.
I’ve done more than enough weddings where I’ve felt run off my feet the entire day – rushed to the point of almost shooting as I ran. The result was that I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day and the pics were not up to my usual par. I strongly dislike being rushed because it zaps my creative energy and causes me to overlook shots that I would normally see if I have the time to look around and get my creative juices flowing. Not only that, but it takes away from the couple’s enjoyment of the photo shoot because they are being, in essence, bossed around by the photographer. Stand here. Do this. Turn that way. Look up. Look down. Smile. Kiss…Every time this has happened to me, I kept thinking, “I wish the couple would have consulted me beforehand so I could have helped them set up the timeline to allow enough time for shooting.” Too often the photographer gets left in the dust and is slated too little time to shoot, which reflects poorly on us in so many ways – our photos aren’t as amazing as they could be and this brings negative word of mouth which can really hurt our reputation for quality work. I’ve done weddings where I was so disappointed with the tiny amount of time I was given to shoot that I didn’t even want to show the photographs to the couple because I knew they were expecting my usual quality work and I didn’t want to see their faces fall in disappointment.
The expression Good things come to those who wait can easily be changed to great photos come to those who allow enough time for them.
My idea of a perfect wedding shoot involves a timeline that I’ve contributed to. It involves the following:
- A First Look with at least one hour to shoot the Bride & Groom (before the ceremony) and another 15 minutes to shoot them just before sunset.
- At least 30 minutes to shoot the entire wedding party
- 30 minutes to shoot the girls
- 30 minutes to shoot the boys
- 30-45 minutes to shoot family shots
What I invariably get, if I’m not consulted about the timeline, is this:
- 15-20 minutes to shoot the Bride & Groom (this sometimes includes the time it takes to get to another venue)
- 30 minutes to shoot the bridal party, including the girls and guys on their own
- 45 minutes to shoot family
Couples seem to forget that they are the most important part of the day and hence, they should have the most time for photographs.
My best shots come when I have enough time to play around with the camera. I am not a huge fan of posing people and, although I do pose them, I also like to have time to give them the freedom to take my suggestions and create their own poses in order to capture who they really are together, not who they are in a posed photograph. If I’m given enough time, I will always get amazing shots that bring out the personality of the couple and tell a story with the photos. If I’m not given enough time, I find myself forced to rattle off a few of my favorite poses and then it’s moving on to other things. Ugh, that sucks.
So, if your wedding is fast approaching and you are working on the timeline of the day, I urge you to consult with your photographer before you put it all on paper. Trust me, you will be so grateful you did and you will end up with truly amazing, emotion-provoking photographs that you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
And, since I hardly ever post without a few pics, here are a few that I took at the beach two nights ago. It was chilly. It was cloudy and I didn’t want to be there, but my boys adored every moment of it.
And a few of King Charlie this morning. His inflated head is too big for his furry little body…
Goodnight brides, grooms and animal lovers. I wish you enough.