Brides, hear me out!
Very important message to the future brides-to-be. Throughout my years of photography, even when i started as a second shooter a while back, i have began to see things change in this wedding photography industry. I ask that you please hear me out because it would really help us photographers a lot. I will be pointing out some of the most important things to acknowledge if you want the best pictures for your wedding. Not following these very important tips will compromise the integrity of the photographer's pictures, yielding to bad photos for your wedding album or final product. I will address these issues from most important to less important.
1.) Guest and their cameras:
#1.) Guest and their cellphones! (level of importance: HIGH)
This is a huge problem that has been appearing on almost every new wedding that i have shot. A really bad trend that only you (bride/groom) can fix.
please watch this video by another photographer that addresses this issue:
2.)Third party videographers:
#2.) Other videographers! (level of importance: HIGH)
Another very big issue is hiring other parties to do your wedding video. In every wedding there are what i call the "juicy spots", these are the spots where photographers need to be in order to take the best shots. Third party videographers know these juicy spots, and what do you think will happen when there are two camera men and one spot? yes, they will fight and only one will be able to take that spot. If you want to have a videographer in your wedding as well as a photographer, make sure that you hire both from the same company. Honestly this is not because we photographers want to upsell, but its because it can end up in ruined weddings. The chances of this happening are high if you do hire them separately.
3.) Disco lights on the dance floor:
#3.) The DJs flashy and colorful lights! (level of importance: HIGH)
If you ever been to a party than you must know that its typically dark, loud music and the lights are flashing all kinds of colors. At a wedding's reception something very similar happens. All of the photographers complain about the DJs lights. Why? because its a photo killer. For us photographers, we have to adjust our cameras in many different ways and that includes the "exposure" and "white balance". I'm not going to get technical but in short this will make it almost impossible for photographers to take good images. The one possible fix is to over power my flash. This causes 2 huge problems, 1 it will hurt peoples eyes and can cause some people to get dizzy and even worse, it could cause accidents. And 2, it will cause the background to look super dark. You will be lit fine, but the background will be so dark that the image will be considered trash. I prefer to get some room light showing in the dance photos by using less flash, so if you can have the DJ cut the disco lights or use constant colored lights that don't move, that will immensly help us poor photographers. Lights that throw colors or patterns on the wall or roof are okay but ideally it would be best not to aim those lights at the crowd.
4.) Make time for photos
#4.) Plan some time for group photos and portrait shots! (level of importance: HIGH)
Shortly after you've been pronounced "husband and wife" the reception time starts. The guest go to have some fun and begin to grab a some food before letting lose in the dance floor. As for me, the wife, and the husband its not our time to enjoy the delicious food. This is the time for the group family photos. If possible, plan these group family shots for an outside location with enough shade to cover your largest group. Also, avoid places where there are distracting backgrounds and make sure everyone is in the shade. Having a list makes everything go so much smoother. Tell all your relatives (in advance) that they should be there at a certain time, then tell them again on the wedding day. Waiting for the
missing person is the only thing that keeps group shots from taking more than about 20 minutes.
Almost right after the family group shots is the portrait shots. These are super important if you want a complete wedding album. Plan on spending at least 30 minutes shooting couple portraits. Ideally, that time should BEGIN about 20 minutes before the sun goes below the horizon and then last another 20 minutes or so afterwards. I would consider 20 minutes to be the absolute minimum for this photo shoot. If you can plan more time... the more the better. Please don't plan your couple portraits for the middle of the day unless you absolutely have to. Early morning and late evening light have the best light and mid day is the worst because there wont be any shades and will cause you to wink at all your photos ruining them.
5.) Let there be light in the reception:
#5.) Lighting the reception with plenty of light! (level of importance: MEDIUM)
Now we are off to important stuff, but not vital like the last paragraphs. I would greatly help me if you would light the reception with plenty of steady lights. Some light in the reception will give life to the background shots i take. Lights such as christmas lights, hanging bulbs and rope lights all look great as a background especially if they are hanging high. If your reception party will take place outside, it would be fantastic to put a tent over the dancing floor because we photographers would be able to create soft and even light by bouncing flash light up to the ceiling of the tent.
6.) Feed me!
#6.) Please feed the photographers, after all we are human too. (importance: MEDIUM)
Did you know it is customary to feed the photographers? You may not feed some wedding vendors that are only there for a short time, but we won't survive a 9 or 10 hour day without dinner. Let me give you a true story from when i first started as a wedding photographer:
When i first started on my own, i wanted to pull of the whole wedding without taking a single break. Every time i went home i had massive headaches. Just imagine working for 8 hours or sometimes 10+ hours straight working and not a single break? I arrived home with these migraines and had trouble sleeping. Till one day. I was at a wedding that lasted for 9 hours. When i got home i started feeling dizzy and i passed out on the floor. Luckily my friend was there and woke me up with cold water. We immediately went McDonalds since it was open midnight. Had a burger and felt somewhat better. After this day, i plea that you give us some food so that we can have energy to continue shooting and not pass out.
7.) Helpful things:
#7.) To end fast, i will compile some things that i hope for! (level of importance: LOW)
Decorate the bride's dressing room: This will help make the images look flawless and nicer.
Lighting the girls dressing room: The biggest help for a photographer is light. So please we ask that you give it to us. Our cameras will be happy.
Throwing the bouquet: When you are going to do this please let us know and give us a little time to set up before you launch it to the moon.
Dance to the photographer: During the reception at the end of the day, it would be nice to dance to the camera so that we get some variety of shots of the reception.
Wearing the right attire: this is especially important if its a destination wedding. The climate is different and most of the time its HOT! so let your guest know or im going to have a lot of shots of sweatty people
Putting on the dress: when the bride-to-be is about to put on the dress, some tell me to step outside and wait and some don't care. My advice is to let me take the shots. If
you have your photographer wait outside when this is happening you will miss one of the most beautiful events of the entire day. Remember, with photography, its easy to delete things later, but its impossible to turn back time and do it again. These pics will go in a private folder that only you will be able to see.