This blog will be in four parts,”Getting ready” Ceremony”., “The intimate session” and the reception.
Today I will be covering “getting ready”
I always get to the location early. The first thing that I photograph is the atmosphere of the venue,this is important to my couples,they have chosen this venue for a reason. After twenty five years of photographing weddings I have had the privilege of traveling to castles in Germany,the super dome in New Orleans,the Biltmore in North carolina,Hemingway house in Key West just to name a few.
During this time I like to photograph the details, have a go to person for your photographer. I always ask to have the details ready for me when I come in.The rings,the flowers,an invitation or newspaper,something with the date on it,shoes dress,vows etc…
Advice to the ladies,choose a room with the most natural light,remember that light is very important for the sake of the photos,you do not want to get ready in a room with florescent lite with no windows.Try to keep the room free of clutter.
I am always asked these question and I am happy to help in fact, your photographer is the best and most valuable person to go to to help you plan the timeline. Photography IS 50% light,50% composition.
Keep in mind if you have two locations for guys and girls the photographer will need allot more time to go to two location,driving time,finding parking,packing and unpacking equipment etc that takes allot of time and can take time away from what is most important,capturing your wedding day.When I have the guys and girls at the same location, I just go back and forth, if mot much is going on with the girls, I check out the guys. During this time is not only about “getting ready” doing hair putting on makeup and getting “the dress” on its about the details, have them ready when the photog comes in, your rings, an invitation, newspaper something with the date, wedding vows,your grandmas necklace,Have the flower there as well, whatever it is you want photographed. During this time if I am at one location the entire day (best option ) I will usually go into the reception room and photograph the set up,the venue itself the atmosphere is also very important. The set up for the ceremony and then back to the brides room to spend some quality one on one time for bridal portraits
Have hair and makeup come to you ALWAYS!. Brides, DO NOT be the last to get ready,allow more time for everything than you think it will take.Get ready early, if you are last and its almost time for the ceremony, not only will I not have enough time for bridal portraits,you will feel nervous and rushed and it will show on your face, again I stress this do not rush your photographer! The ultimate time for me at the beginning of the story if everyone is at one location is about three hrs. It is a very important time with so much going on and so many wonderful photo opportunities also a good time for me to get to know family and friends of the couple.
TIME- If outdoor wedding,two to three hours before the time of sunset. Two if you dont have a million groups shots and the ceremony is very quick,three if you have allot of group shots with a long ceremony.Group shots take more time than you think. Again allow more time for everything
Most important leave the last half hour or more of light (The magic hour) the best lite of the day for just the two of you alone, I call it the “intimate session” plan a cocktail hr for this time your guests will be fine and it will be the only “alone “time you might have together all day. Out of this time comes the most beautiful portraits of my couples capturing their relationship and the love they have for each other, this is absoulutely my favorite time to photograph, DO NOT miss this time, do not rush your photographer or cut it short, I have had couples after we have disused this only give me five minutes, you will never get this time back!
Again will there be a huge party with dancing bouquet toss,cake cutting sparkler send off/parting shot, do you want the entire reception covered,if not push up the most important moments to you. If so, remember photographer, D.J all of your vendors should be fed,treat people the way you would want them to treat you. While everyone is eating take care of your vendors.People dont look their best when they are eating!
My full coverage (the time I need to tell the story is about eight hrs. You can always add more if your photographer is up to it.
If it is a small intimate wedding on the beach with just the two of you and a few close family members, I have a minimum of two hrs and have it on an off day, most photographers are booked on the weekends or wont take a two hr wedding on a Saturday.
I do hope I have helped and answered allot of your questions.Keep this in mind, I am an award winning international fine arts wedding photojournalist with a very unique style, I travel worldwide http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS copyrighted property of http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/
.I ALWAYS insist on that, I call it “the intimate session”NO ONE is to follow. I take them to a beautiful spot in nature, I try to schedule this session during the last half hr of sunlight”The magic hour” At that time,have a cocktail hour for your guests,they will be fine.This short time maybe the only”alone”time you will have on your wedding day,my couples of course welcome this.These are the photos you will cherish and have them framed and hanging on your walls.
Sometimes at destination weddings (especially In New Orleans) I like to have a “day after session”, when the couple gets to put their wedding clothes back on and have a blast for about two hrs while I use the destination for a backdrop, the couple is so much more relaxed, people are congratulating them,playing music for them,buying them drinks along the way everywhere they go,and they are getting the most interesting,romantic unique and fun photographs!! I also love to incorporate the people we meet along the way !
Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos.
2. A chance to let loose and get creative.
You have an opportunity to take some truly unique photos, different from any you’ve had before, so make good use of it! Start with the location and pick a place that means something to both of you. It can be where you got engaged, a first date or just a verymemorable date, where you met (maybe your highschool/university). It can be any place that puts you at ease, something familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you.
Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home.
Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about.
Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot s a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile directly into the camera.
Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.
Getting to know your photographer.
It’s great to have your photographer get to know you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays.
Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter). Get to know his personality & hobbies to the point where you feel comfortable enough with them that you’ll look forward to spending time with them on your wedding day.
I love this idea, donate flowers the following day to a nursing home or hospital
DO feed your vendors!
If you hire an award winning photojournalist who has a gift for capturing “the moment” DONT give him/her a list of a thousand group shots or constantly tell them what to do, trust them,and enjoy yourself,forget about the camera!
DONT hire any vendors you wouldn’t want as guests DO hire your photographer early,DO read my post on the art of finding the perfect wedding photographer,the best ones fill up fast!
DO ask your photographer for recommendations of vendors better to have people that work well together especially a photographer and video,everyone needs to work as a team!
DO work on the timeline with your photographer,keep in mind photography is light +composition. save the last half hr for just the two of you in the best light! Your guests will be fine,perhaps plan a cocktail hr for this time.I sometimes give a day after intimate session especially when it is a destination wedding, using the destination as a background, You get to wear your wedding clothes once again and will have the most awesome and unique photos of just the two of you!
For months, sometimes even years, wedding couples look forward to their wedding day. They want to be fully prepared and don’t want to settle for anything less than perfect. Hopefully, that one special day will be one of the most beautiful days in their lives. Unfortunately there are always aspects that can’t be controlled, however prepared you are. That does not matter. Matters only become a problem, when you make them a problem. There is always a solution. Wedding planners have the capacity to be creative and are known for their problem solving. Let’s discuss a few “worst-case scenario’s”.
“WHAT IF IT RAINS”!
Do not agonize over what you’re going to do about, or how you’re going to cope with, the rain. Decide early on what you want to do if it’s raining and stick to it.
I cannot agree more, you’ll not want to wait until the last minute to make a decision. I’d usually play on the safe side you do not want to compromise with the outdoor ceremony and have it no matter what, make a decision, (purchase umbrellas),Incorporate the wedding colors and stick with the idea. Better to be safe than sorry!
2. Trust your vendors
You hired professionals for a reason. They know their craft, they know your venue, so they will make it happen, rain or shine. This is where having an experienced wedding planner and photographer really makes the difference! I have a trunk filled with different color umbrellas!
3. Be prepared
This either means purchasing matching umbrellas for your guests, or having a tent ordered and delivered to your location (remember quick deliveries take an all new meaning when you’re in Tahiti, where logistics are a little more difficult than anywhere else), or at the minimum communicating with your guests so that they also get prepared (and wear adequate clothing and shoes).
If you are planning a wedding lets say in Florida,avoid the rainy/Hurricaine season! Yes it will cost less,but there is a reason!
4. Embrace it
The forecast says there’s a 100% chance you’re going to get wet, now what? You’re in Tahiti! Have fun!
AS a fine arts wedding photographer,rain presents some creative ideas,I use it to my advantage,The reflections in the puddles after the rain,or framing the couple with different color umbrellas. Also keep in mind overcast is one of the best light for skin tones.
What if…. my wedding dress doesn’t fit on the day itself!
advice: don’t go crash- dieting shortly before the wedding. A bride always feels most comfortable during the first fitting session. Try to maintain that weight. Should things come to the worst, than rely on our toolkit and make use of handy tips and trics provided to us by well- known bridal stores.One of my brides did gain twenty lbs, she ordered a lace corset and pulled it off
What if…. a make-up stain ruins my dress!
Don’t fret! Talcum powder, a special tailor’s chalk or TMC 520 stain tissues should do the trick.
What if…. our tight time-schedule is being endangered by the hair- and make-up session!
Our advice: go for a trial session first. It will give you a good idea of how long it will take. Then add some extra time in your time-line. That will take the pressure off and will allow you to look and feel great all day long.
WHAT IF MY MOTHER-IN LAW IS TAKING OVER?
Give her a job to do, get her off your back,if she is a control freak, make her in charge of the group shots ets, she needs to feel wanted and in charge put her to good use!
“Keep a brush, comb, hairspray, ponytail holders and bobby pins in an extra bag (along with makeup if you think touch ups may be in order) and then if it does fall out pin it back up. Or pull it down completely and do a side French braid where the end trails over the shoulder or a side pony at the base of the nape. It will look classy and guests will assume that you wanted to change it up for the reception.”
What if I have a low blood sugar attack? EAT SOMETHING!
MY BEST ADVICE TO YOU: “Most importantly, focus on your marriage versus your wedding. The reception is a party to celebrate that you’ve made a commitment to spend the rest of your life with someone you wanted to meet your whole life. Just relax & have fun!”