Casey Fatchett is a New York City-based photographer with more than 10 years experience photographing weddings. He also recently went through the wedding planning process himself (congrats!), giving him a unique perspective on the wedding industry from both sides of the fence. Here, Casey discusses what you need to do between booking day and the wedding day.
After booking the wedding photographer, there tends to be some confusion about what to do next. Depending on how far in advance you sign your contract, you may have a lot of downtime before the big day, but that doesn't mean that there's no planning to do. Remember, planning ahead means better photos and less stress on the day of the wedding.
So what can you do? I know that there are literally hundreds of checklists out there for couples to read, lists of questions to ask when they meet with photographers, and ideas for your ‘shot list.’ These lists are pretty generic, so I am going to discuss some specific things to do before the wedding that will help you get better photos and avoid stress.
Assign a Point Person to Gather Your Must-Photograph Guests
So, you haven’t seen your Uncle Joe in years and you really want to have some great shots of him at your wedding. Well, your photographer might not know who Uncle Joe is (let alone recognize him). Discuss who the VIPs are with your photographer and assign someone who knows who they are to point them out on the day of the wedding. This could be a member of the bridal party, another family member, a close friend—as long as it is not you! You have enough things to deal with on the day of your wedding. Your point person will also help corral people during the family/group portrait portion of the wedding day.
And when it comes to the group photos, every couple is different—so don’t assume that your photographer will know which groups of people you want to have your pictures taken with!
Tell Your Photographer About Any Friction Between Guests
Parents divorced and not on speaking terms? Two sides of the family make the Hatfields and McCoys look tame? One group of friends still mad at another faction for alleged cheating in a trivia contest eight years ago and won’t let it go? It would be best to let your photographer know, so that they don’t try to get these people or groups together for a picture at any point on your wedding day. The resulting drama could put a damper on things.
Streamline Your Shot List
They say that if you love some one, set them free. Show your photographer some love and free up that overwhelming, generic shot list.If your photographer is really worth their salt (and I hope they are), they will know to get pictures of the first kiss, the first dance, the cake cutting—so you probably don’t need to put those on your list. Instead, include the things that are most important to you. If your photographer is particularly on the ball, they might use a smartphone app such as “SECONDSHOOTR” to organize your “must have” photos and information.
If something has particularly special meaning to you (“I am hanging cameos of my grandparents on the ribbon of my bouquet,” or “My mom did all of the flower arrangements.”), discuss it with your photographer so they can focus extra attention those things. (Ha! Focus! Sorry, excuse the terrible pun.)
Also, if anything out of the ordinary will be happening (“We are doing a ‘death-drop’ dip at the end of the first dance!” or “Oh, did I mention we are going to take a flamethrower to the wedding dress at the end of the night?”), let your photographer know about it before the wedding. That way, they can plan appropriately to get the best shot of it.
Caveat: If your photographer does not have much experience, it would be best to give them the full list just to be safe.
Talk to Your Photographer About How Much Posing You Do or Don’t Want to Do When You Say “I Do”!
Okay, I admit, I used the word ‘do’ way to much in that sentence. Moving on, each couple has their own feelings about posing. Some people love it, others are uncomfortable with it. You need to talk to your photographer about whether your portraits (by yourself, as a couple, with your wedding party, etc) are going to be candid or arranged/posed. While you may want candid shots most of the day, you might want some Vogue-esque lighting and glamour for your portraits. Or you might not want your photographer directing you at all and, if they start telling you how to pose, it might make you feel uncomfortable. That'll come through in your pictures. Either way, your photographer will need to be prepared, both in regards to equipment and mental readiness, for whatever type of photos you are looking for—so be sure to discuss it with them.
Get on Pinterest!
Okay, Pinterest can be a little bit addicting—it is easy to get lost in the endless parade of pictures. However, I cannot think of a better way to communicate your personal aesthetic to your photographer (and other vendors, for that matter) than by sharing pictures that you like. That way, your photographer knows what YOU like and can plan appropriately. They can also let you know if what you are imagining is practical. So add your photographer on Pinterest to share your ideas!
I hope you found this post helpful – now get out there and get planning!
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