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In my 20 some odd years of being in the photography industry I have done countless wedding, bridal and event photography. In that time I have been able to be a part of all stages, from assisting, to being the “main” photographer, to editing, creating video, and even printing the end product. In that time I have really learned to appreciate the art behind wedding photography. So to celebrate Ashley’s wedding I thought I would give her, and her readers some important tips I have learned along the way! Did you know as a bride, attendant or even a guest there are countless things you can do to help a photographer and insure the images that are captured are priceless keepsakes for generations? Here are my top 5 ways of insuring great wedding portraiture!
#1 The Shoot List.
First as a couple, be sure to create a “shoot list” with your photographer. This list is the combo of shots you need it should look something like…
Bride/ Groom / Grooms mom (Anne)
Bride/ Groom/ Grooms mom / Step Dad (Frank)
This list should be done in advance and copies should be on both you and the photographer’s side. A real wedding photographer will have the basics memorized- but as in many modern families there are people you want in, people who may need to be on the end to be edited out later (you laugh but we all know its true!) and even ex’s who cant be stood next to each other. The more information you can give ahead of time for these little notes, as well as the REALLY important shots you want. Like… if you HAVE to have a photo of great-great grandma and the newborn… you should speak up prior to the chaos.
#2 The Assistant
Any wedding photographer worth their salt will not be doing this solo and the shoot list will be the assistants guide to make sure everything the bride want gets done. He/ she is the backbone so to speak, and the backup. They are also the “go to” in most photographer / assistant relationships. The photographer is there for the bride. The assistant is there for everyone else. If your mom wants a shot of something, she should be told to go to the assistant with it. The assistant will either take the shot (if they are a second shooter) or will be sure to have the photographer do it. Or will at the very least be able to handle the situation without distracting the photographer away from the bride. You should clarify the role of the assistant or additional shooters in your pre-wedding consultation you’re your photographer before the wedding, and be sure to inform your bridal party… and vocal family members whom they can and cannot go to with requests.
If there is no assistant (or even if there is) you should also assign Aunt Betty (who always wants to help, and knows most everyone… you know the one) to assist the assistant. Give her a shoot list, and let her be the runner during the bridal portraits. This can save a lot of time! The assistant can say who they will need next, and she can go get them. She can also watch to make sure each combo you need is getting done… because trust me – you wont know! It also makes her feel important and keeps her from going to you with everything she thinks needs done.
#3 The Kit
I highly recommend this kit to every bride. Go to the dollar section of your local drug store or big box market and pick up these handy items.
- A small sewing kit (includes tiny scissors, thread and needle, add safety pins and several boutineer pins (craft needles) to it if needed)
- A pack of Mary-Kay blot cloths ($5) or some round cotton pads (dollar section) to blot shiny areas during the day- don’t forget to use them on you and your groom!
- Extra lip gloss /lipstick, powder and WATERPROOF mascara
- Nail file, clippers, and basic polish – you know one of your bridesmaids are going to need this.
- I also recommend Tylenol, Advil, Tums, and a Powerbar.
Now the tricky part to this kit is making sure you have it with out – ALL the time. I suggest you give it to your maid of honor and put her in charge of making sure you touch up makeup and blot about every half hour. (or before each “stage” of the day at least) I have seen these kits cleverly attached to bouquets or as a cute handbag to carry all day.
#4 The Smile
Everyone should be forewarned that especially in today’s technologically crazed world, it is best to assume someone; somewhere is taking your photo. Everyone should keep good smiles, and shoulders back, sit up straight etc… all day. Nothing looks worse in your church shots then the one bridesmaid or groomsman that is hunched over, or picking their teeth. While your photographer can (and should) do something about this in your formal shots, during the ceremony there is nothing they can do! As a bride and groom, you should always have a smile… remember to excuse yourself to the restroom to pat your underarms dry, checking for food in your teeth, or touching up make-up. Last… PLEASE remember a wedding is no place for gum! Your photographer will thank you for not making them edit out bright blue gum from open mouths!
#5 Go the extra mile.
Professional wedding photographers all have a different view on the next subject. But most I know agree. If you are having a buffet, or sit down dinner it is not a good time to be doing photos. NOONE likes having those table shots done, food in teeth and all! It is a good time to let your photographer breath, sit down, swap batteries, or reset gear for the party portion to come. Discuss in advance what your photographer typically does during this time. It is the polite thing to include your photographer (and crew) in on the meal. Some photographers will flat out refuse, while others may tell you they may take a small portion in to the kitchen area or somewhere away from guests, some may outright thank you for being so generous, and some may be even be expecting it! I find that the longer you expect them to produce amazing images, the more you should expect to feed them! This also is a nice way of thanking them for everything they are doing! Yes, they are paid to be there, but if they pass out from lack of food or dehydration think of all that equipment they are likely to break… and moments they will miss as they are carted away in an ambulance!
For the sake of keeping this list condensed I did not cover some important first steps, like how to choose a photographer, different styles, and wedding contract details to look for. However, you can look forward to those tips, along with everyday photography guides, and other lessons I have learned on my blog: Vertephoto.blogspot.com
I hope these tips come in handy! I know my past brides always appreciated them! I can't wait to see how your day turns out Ashley!