“Your wedding day will fly by in a second.” Words you’ve likely heard leading up to your big day, because it’s true. Everything quickly becomes a blur of smiles and happy tears, pictures, flowers and dancing. Planning out a detailed shot list with your wedding photographer will better allow you to relax and enjoy your day, knowing every precious moment you want captured, will be.
Nicole Ettenhofer, Director of Marketing for George Street Photo & Video, a national wedding photography service, shares her top tips on how best to plan with your photographer in advance of the big day.
1. Identify Your Style - Couples want to make their day a true reflection of themselves and their love for each other, yet every couple has a different idea of the “perfect” wedding photos. One of the first steps in hiring a photographer, and later working with that photographer to set your shot list, is narrowing down what style you are drawn to. At George Street, we noticed couples struggling to identify this, so we created a Style Quiz to help with the process. Couples can easily visit the George Street website and take the quiz, choosing their favored photo preferences from numerous and varied photographic types to help pinpoint their particular style. Ranging from Artistic to Glamorous and Editorial to Bohemian, identifying your photography style helps to crystallize your preferences, and allows us at George Street to match you with the perfect photographer.
2. Find Your Light - Although capturing the emotion of the moment is most important, there are a few artistic lighting techniques that help create an awe-inspiring feel. Gorgeous wedding photos taken at night, for instance, create a romantic, modern look with evening landscapes and starry skies. Photographers can get especially creative after the sun goes down, creating lighting effects with shadows and even highlighting raindrops in the background. For Night Shots it is important to plan ahead with your photographer so they know to bring special equipment to capture a uniquely breathtaking moment.
The setting sun also makes for a gorgeous, yet fleeting opportunity for couples to steal away from the bustle of the reception and share a private moment together. “The Golden Hour” is an optimal time for photographers to capture truly spectacular photos, with natural light creating a beautiful golden glow as the sun goes down. Be aware, this light only appears for a short time and on a clear day, so it may mean sneaking away from the dinner table to capture a romantic kiss outside.
3. The “First Look” – Now-a-days, many couples decide to do a “first look” with each other before the ceremony. There are many pros and cons of doing this, which we recommend hashing out with your photographer before he or she creates a timeline. Pros include giving you and your fiancé a special moment together before the “I Dos,” and can be a great way to calm your nerves with some precious one-on-one time. Additionally, these shots need a little more shooting time of the two of you before the ceremony. Conversely, waiting to see each other when the bride walks down the aisle can build suspense and create a moment that will last a lifetime.
It is a tough call, so for those of you who simply can't decide, there are some other unique alternatives our photographers have used. For instance, we have had many couples do a first look without seeing each other, most often holding hands from either side of a door, which makes for a very special, romantic moment. Whichever way you go, every photographer loves to capture the look on a couple’s face when they first see each other!
4. Create A Family Outline – The ceremony has ended and the crowd is starting to depart for the reception…but wait! You need to coordinate all of the extended family for their photos. We advise our couples and photographers to create a family outline so they know what shots are needed and who needs to be in them. This is something you can provide your photographer when discussing your shot list and timing. At George Street, our online wedding planner, has a personal shot list tool as an easy way to communicate to their photographer exactly what images are must-haves on their wedding day.
5. It’s In The Details – Your photographer should be made aware of any fun and even quirky details you and your spouse plan to have on the big day. Perhaps you’re using your grandmother’s antique cake topper or you are both wearing blue shoes! Discussing these with your photographer in advance to ensure he or she captures those personal touches that only you may know about.
Overall, the most important take-away tip is plan, plan, plan. Dream of what your day will look like, then map-out what you want the photographer to capture. Professional photographers will know the main moments to capture but they don’t know all the intricacies of your life, like who must be in the family photos. Is there a special moment between you and your loved one you want to make sure is captured? Do you wish to recreate a beloved shot from your parent’s wedding? All of these things can easily be discussed and coordinated by commutating with your photographer to make sure you shoot those once-in-a-lifetime moments just the way you want them.