Planning your wedding photos
Throughout your wedding day you will experience many wonderful moments that you will want to cherish forever, and your wedding photos will mean those memories last a lifetime. To ensure you get the most out of your wedding photos, using my experience as a professional wedding photographer, I have compiled a list of 7 simple things to consider when planning your wedding with photos in mind.
1) Getting ready
Brides - this one's for you! Give some thought as to where you're getting ready in the morning: Whilst it's often lovely to get ready at home (and you'll look beautiful anywhere) for the ultimate wow factor and gorgeous backdrops, consider using a room at your wedding venue such as the bridal suite, or hiring a cottage or somewhere special for truly spectacular getting ready photos! Being at your wedding venue the night before your wedding usually afford you a better night's sleep, as there's no worry about having to leave on time in the morning, or the potential for being caught in traffic, or having a car that doesn't start! Many wedding venues have specialist rooms for bridal preparation, whether it's the bridal suite or a standalone room, that are set up especially for hosting bridal parties on the morning of a wedding. Even, natural lighting, wall mounted hooks in high places (for those extra long wedding dress trains) extra mirrors and table space all make life a little easier in what could potentially be a stressful time.
2) Choose a wedding venue with enough outdoor spaceIt may sound an obvious one, but if you want to make the most of your wedding day when it comes to photos, choose a wedding venue with a lot of outdoor space. The more space you have, the more options you have for a wider variety of photos - Both of yourselves, and your guests.
If you have a particularly large family, or a vast family circle, make sure there's enough space to get them all together for at least one photo. A wedding venue with a balcony on an upper floor, or a window that opens wide are welcome features for wedding photographers. Getting a photo of 250 people is a lot easier when you're a floor or two above them and looking down.
3) Choose a wedding with some indoor space should it rain
We all know that the British summer likes to throw a curve-ball once in a while when it comes to weather, so when choosing a wedding venue, try to choose somewhere that has enough indoor space for your group photos should the weather not be in your favour. A wide space with a plain or repetitive background is ideal! Your wedding may seem like it's a long way off when you're looking around wedding venues, but give a quick thought to the group photos you would like. If you have a large family and a family photo is a must-have, make sure your venue has at least one room big enough to take them all.
4) Write a list of formal photos
To help maximise the efficiency of the taking of your wedding photos, write a list of the formal pictures you would like. This means that when it's time to take your formal pictures, no time is wasted finding out who people are and getting them together! I usually ask my clients send me a list of formal photos two weeks before the wedding. I'll make sure that there aren't too many for the amount of time that we have, and restructure the list's order to take less time on the day. I would also suggest writing people's roles on the list, instead of their names - 'Bride and bridesmaids' for example, is ideal.
5) Leave enough time for family picturesWhen you're planning your wedding, make sure you leave enough time for your formal photos. As a rule of thumb, you'll want to leave roughly 6 minutes for each formal photo - so if you've come up with 10 formal photos that you'd like, you're going to need about 60 minutes between the beginning of your drinks reception to the time you sit down for your wedding breakfast for photos. It's a rough guide, and there will always be some photos that take less time to organise (usually the smaller ones) and some that take more. It's always better to have too much time than too little. The more time you have left over after your family pictures, the more time you have to relax on your wedding day. It can be a hectic time, going from your ceremony, to your drinks reception and photographs and then straight into your wedding breakfast. A 20 minute breather here is usually well received by my brides and grooms!
6) Spare some time for couples photos
Once your formal photos have been completed, make sure you spare some time in your wedding schedule for some photographs of your new husband/wife and yourself!25 minutes is a perfect amount of time for your photos but if you have a particularly large wedding venue, leave a little extra time for the biggest variety of photos! It's always worth discussing the photos you'd like with your wedding photographer before the big day. I'm always available at the end of the phone or via email to have a chat about your wedding photo ideas and how long they may take.
Another thing to consider is the time of year that you'll be having your wedding. If you're getting married in December for example, you're going to run out of daylight just before 4pm. However if you're getting married at the end of June, you don't lose usable light until gone 9pm - If you don't have time in the middle of your day for your couples photos, at the right time of year, there might be time after your wedding breakfast where you can still get fantastic photos.
7) Time and light
When you're visiting wedding venues, try to plan your visits so that you're there roughly at the time you'll be getting married. This way you can see how the light falls on the various parts of the venue. Also, if you're getting married relatively early or late in the year, make sure you plan to have your wedding ceremony early enough that when you have your drinks reception, it's still light outside. Mentioning it now sounds obvious, but I know of people who have been caught out in the past.
Another useful tip is looking at when sunset will be for the day of your wedding. If a stunning sunset photo like the one below is of interest to you, try to build in a 15 minute gap around sunset time. Many of my clients in the past have snuck out between the main meal and dessert of their wedding breakfast, or immediately after their first dance, depending on the time of year.
Would you like to know more?
If you'd like to arrange a meeting to have a chat about your wedding day, drop me a line by filling out the contact form