Chances are, you haven’t had a lot of experience planning weddings, and knowing what to plan for in terms of photography.
So here are a few tips and ideas that you might not have considered that will certainly help you get the gorgeous wedding photos you’re hoping for!
How much time do I need?
Every wedding is different; from the length of your ceremony to the amount of time you need for your formal photos of the day. In Bloom Photography can help you plan a timeline that fits with your ceremony & reception times but still allows you to maximize photo time.
First off, it’s so important to stay on time during your wedding day. If you’re typically a late person, you might consider hiring a wedding coordinator for the day to keep things running on time. They’ll make sure all the details are taken care of so you can be ready on time for each part of the day. Believe me – I have shot many weddings where the guests have been seated in the church, with the groom standing nervously in front of them all, waiting for the bride to arrive… but she doesn’t show up until 30+ minutes after the ceremony was supposed to begin! And unfortunately, in these situations, it means less time for creative photos afterwards. To avoid this stressful situation, here are some rough estimates of how much time to plan for photos.
***REMEMBER*** - these times are actual shooting times — they do not include the travel time between locations (ie. parks, church etc.).
“Getting Ready Photos”: At least 1-2 hours - Plan on at least 1-2 hours for the Bride & Bridesmaids, and around 1 hour for the Groom & Groomsmen if applicable.
“Ceremony Time”: Depends… – Every ceremony is different. Some are as quick as 20 minutes, while others last over an hour. Your wedding officiant can give you a better indication of how long your ceremony will last. But always plan on it taking 5-10 minutes longer than expected in case things don’t start on time due to late guests arriving, etc.
“Mingling Time”: 15 minutes – This is the time immediately after your ceremony when you exit the church or venue, and your guests want to quickly say hi and mingle. It’s a great time to capture some fun candids of people hugging & smiling! It also gives us a chance to get organized before leaving for the Formal Photos.
“Formal Photos”: At least 2 hours – This covers your family photos, bridal party photos, and finally creative photos of just the bride & groom. When things are running late, this unfortunately becomes the part of the day that gets sacrificed and cut shorter, and that’s not good. The longer the time you can budget for this time of day, the better! We can visit multiple locations, do multiple groupings of people in different shooting locations.
“Reception Photos”: Depends… – You’ve got to decide how much of your reception you’d like covered. Do you want just a few details of the decor and your big introduction? Do you want the photographer to stay through dinner, speeches and your first dances? Do you want the photographer to stay late into the evening? We can discuss this at a consultation meeting to get a better idea of how much time you’ll need.
What makes a good shooting location?
Have you ever heard the phrase “Variety is the spice of life”? Well, in this case, variety is the spice of your wedding photos! The more variety of locations we have to choose from, the more varied and creative your wedding photos will be. Some of the best weddings I’ve shot were taken in places that had multiple areas to shoot in: some garden space, some waterfront space, some forested areas, some architecturally beautiful buildings on site. And if there isn’t one place in your area that has all of these characteristics, then why not consider visiting multiple locations! If you’re not sure where you’d like to go, JUST ASK! I’d be happy to give you a bunch of suggestions to get you the look you’re after! Here are some things to look for when choosing your locations:
Shade: VERY IMPORTANT! Think about it. You’re going to have people in thick tuxedos, a heavy wedding gown and long dresses. The last thing you want is for everyone to be dripping sweat in the blazing sun. But not only that, full sunshine is really unflattering for your photos — everyone is squinting, there are harsh shadows along your face — it’s just not pretty! So we need shade, and we need A LOT of it. Not just a few trees (the sun shines through the leaves and makes speckled marks on everyone’s faces below). We’re talking about wide expanses of fully shaded areas big enough for large family groupings to stand under. Places like golf courses and gardens, despite being very pretty, are notorious for not having much shade. So don’t choose your locations based on the fact that they have nice flowers. Visit your favorite spots at the time of day you anticipate having photos taken to get an idea of what the shade situation will be on your wedding day! I can’t stress this enough — just because an area looks lovely and shady in the morning doesn’t mean it will look the same at 4:00 in the afternoon when we’re outside shooting wedding photos.
Rain Coverage: If it rains (or snows!) on your wedding day, we need to have a back-up plan for shooting locations. I would be happy to shoot outdoors in the rain with a couple of umbrellas — those can be very fun sessions with couples and the results look awesome! But we will still need a few locations to do the family photos — we don’t want to make Grandma stand out in the drizzle! This can be anything from a large covered porch (remember: big enough to fit your entire family!), to a barn in the country, to a quiet room at your reception hall. You will need to check with these places well in advance to ensure we would indeed be able to use these on your wedding day — most places don’t want a large group showing up out of the blue!
Levels: Look for somewhere with a variety of levels to it. Stairs are a great way of breaking up groups of family members into a more visually interesting image. Park benches are nice too. Nothing is worse than showing up to a park with nothing but flat grass as far as the eye can see!
Permits: A lot of municipal parks and other public areas require that you purchase a photography permit to have your wedding photos taken there. This is something you, as the client, are responsible for taking care of – not the photographer. Many of these places employ security guards that will ask to see the actual permit on the day of, and if you don’t have one? You’re escorted off the property. So make sure you check with the City or appropriate office to see if your locations require permits of any kind.
Relax and Have Fun!
The best wedding photos always happen when the bride & groom are truly enjoying themselves. So go ahead, share a little giggle with your new husband! Give your bride an impromptu snuggle and a kiss! Those are the kind of things that look amazing in photos — when you can really tell that the bride and groom are enjoying the moment. Be playful! Be romantic! If you can’t do it on your wedding day, then when!?!
A little planning goes a LONG way to making some really incredible images from your wedding day. Let’s work together to make some stunning images that you’ll be proud to share with your family and friends for years to come!
PS – if you have ANY questions about planning your wedding day to maximize photos in the best locations, send me an email at email@example.com.