Wedding Day Guide
Yay, you’re getting married!
You have planned every detail down to the last petal of your bouquet. You have spent a good portion of your budget on your wedding photographer to make sure everything is documented for treasured keepsakes. So to help my clients out here are some tips that will make me your wedding day photographer happy and your wedding photos go as smoothly as possible.
Pre Wedding Day Tips
I would love to have all the names and phone numbers of my wedding day co-workers. I will be working closely with your other wedding vendors, especially your DJ and your wedding planner or day-of coordinator. In some cases, it can be immensely helpful to know this information. That way, I can interface with them directly and remove you as a middle-man. (Or woman.)
Names of Family
The names of your immediate family and every single person in your wedding party. Photographers with experience know how much better it is to practice learning people’s names before they show up. I specifically requests all these names from my wedding clients. Do you know how awkward it can feel to be standing in front of 30 or 40 people who all know your name, but for whom “hey you” is the best you can muster? Hint: very awkward. And it’s exceptionally difficult to be a bold, creative artist when you feel super duper awkward. At the same time, if you give me all those names, keep in mind that I have a lot to remember already. There’s only one of me and lots of you. So give me a break if I have difficulty remembering everyone’s name ;)
Is there any family drama?
If say your parents are separated and having trouble getting along, knowing this can help us avoid exacerbating the problem on your wedding day. (This is especially important information during the family formals, where family conflicts have a way of showing up.) It could feel a little awkward discussing personal issues with your photographer, but it can make things way less unpleasant later. When there is family drama, big or small, I would like to know. A great wedding photographer is out to capture the best of your relationships during your wedding. Even if there is drama of some sort, there will still be smiling faces and honest heartfelt exchanges. I’d like to keep it that way.
Wedding days are full of a range of emotions, happy and sad. Please let me know if there are any family members especially parents or grandparent missing from the day due to death or health matters. It always helps knowing this before asking where someone’s loved one is.
Getting Ready Tips
More often than not, where you decide to get ready is overlooked in the wedding planning process. Here are some helpful and easy to-do tips to ensure your getting ready photos are as flawless as the rest of your wedding.
When it comes to photography, lighting is everything! Natural window light allows for the best photos. If you haven't already I will turn off any over head lighting and open blinds/curtains for the best lighting situation.
An ideal spot to get dressed would be spacious with minimal clutter such as food containers, empty bottles, plastic wrappers, etc. A hotel suite is usually spacious enough for the entire wedding party and photographer to move around in but it is always very helpful if you have someone who can tidy up before I arrive.
Pre-Wedding Dress Attire
Because the bride typically puts the dress on within the last 30 minutes, keep in mind that a good portion of photos will feature you in your pre-wedding outfit. Its not compulsory but cute matching robes or Pjs look great.
Everyone loves a good before dress shot, hanging so pretty in the window or in a garden at the venue before the dress is on. When you arrive at your venue take your dress neatly out of the bag and remove any tags, cardboard forms, and replace the plastic hanger with a wooden hanger. Consider hanging your dress on a wooden hanger (or at least bringing one with you). Just a subtle touch, but certainly a nice one. Do this with your bridesmaids dresses as well if you want a pre-hanging shot.
Have them organised. Have them ready.
When you are packing for your wedding day prep, make sure and pack a separate box or bag with all your getting ready details as well as any other important things you want photographed. Have them set out accessible for me to grab for when I arrive. This will allow me to greet you and grab what I need so you do not have to stop the getting ready process. Things include: Your shoes, perfume, jewelry, invitation set, wedding rings, vows, garter and veil just to name a few.
The same thing goes for the groom. Have his details ready to go. Things include shoes, cuff links, watch, handkerchief, rings, vows etc
Bride Getting Ready
Have your hair and make-up done before I arrive. Make sure you are 98% ready so when it comes time to put your dress on, you are not cutting into precious portrait time. Also if you are wearing a strapless or backless dress remember to remove your bra in advance so those unwanted strap marks disappear before you put on that amazing gown. Remember to wear a shirt or top with buttons at front, so you don’t ruin your hair style or beautiful makeup. If you usually use Visine/eye drops pop some in before your makeup artists arrives to give your eyes a clear fresh feel and avoid watery eyes while you are getting your makeup done. Ensure you eat and brush your teeth before your makeup application. Time is of the essence on your wedding day.
Don’t have your flowers delivered the same time as I arrive. When your florist has no idea when your photographer is arriving, they will tend to show up maybe an hour before the ceremony. This however causes a huge issue because most photos are taken before the ceremony, especially detail shots. Having good communication with your florist about when you need those beauties to arrive in time for photos.
Groom Getting Ready
If the Groom and his men can be showered and ready to get dressed when I arrive it definitely helps the day run much smoother. I can then capture the details such a shoes, ties, cuff links etc that you have already put aside.
Have a think about where you would like your bridal portraits taken? Also think about the time of year and time of day you might be doing them? Midday sun is incredibly harsh so a slightly shadier spot might be best. Does your venue offer a beautiful space? If not how far to the nearest location? Are you getting married in Summer pick a cooler spot for your ceremony for comfort of bridal party and guests or will it be in Winter maybe a warmer out of the wind type of location would be better.
Outdoor portrait sessions are best shot 1-2 hours before sunset for the best and most flattering golden light so think about when your ceremony might take place to take advantage of this lighting.
The time of course will depending on the time of year you get married. Winter sunsets mostly between 3-5pm and Summer sunset between 5-7pm.
Below are some local locations which might be of interest to you. Please get in touch to discuss your options if your venue doesn't have the space you require.
Almost uninterrupted sun set views, perfect for relaxed couple or family portraits. You'll feel like the only person for miles. Dog friendly too!
Beautiful muted hues with mostly Australian fauna, perfect back drop for neutral toned homes especially with that amazing golden light.
Beautiful warm tones but also cool contemporary concrete spaces as well. Perfect for a modern home.
Wonderful warm golden hues will transport you to Mexico or Palm Springs. Amazing array of cactus plants from all over the world. Wonderful little nooks and winding pathways. Perfect for families.
Mountain to the Sea
Who couldn't go past the majestic Illawarra Escarpment as their backdrop? Lots of great little pockets with awesome texture but also lots of open space for larger groups. Beautiful for golden hour sun light too.
Taking a walk through Bombo Headland among the unusual basalt columns feels like you're on the moon! The basalt walls and columns are a legacy of blue metal quarrying in the 1880- 1900s. Awesome adventure if your up to it.
It is one thing you cannot control so don't stress over it. Do everything in your control to have a plan B, even if it isn't what you had hoped and dreamed for at least there will be less stress and panic on the day.
Whatever weather gets thrown at your on your special day own it and embrace it sometimes the most unexpected things make for the most wonderful memories.
Have an unplugged wedding
You have purchased the perfect dress, the flowers are perfect for your gorgeous venue and your ready to walk down that aisle toward your future husband. But wait! You do not have this perfect view of him, or rather him of you. Why? Because your Uncle Joe is in the middle of the isle taking iPad photos of you. In theory, receiving a truly ginormous amount of photos form your guests seems like an okay plan, but it actually causes quite a few problems. More and more couples are opting for their wedding ceremonies to be unplugged. Unplugged weddings happen when the bride and groom encourage their guests to keep their cameras capped and their phones in their pocket during the ceremony. Some food for thought anyway.
Existing the Ceremony
Post vow exchange keep walking when you walk out of the ceremony… these pictures can often be amazing and is truly one of the happiest moments of your life, own it! It might seem weird walking to no where but think of it as your first walk in life as Mr & Mrs.
If possible please ask the your coordinator and/or celebrant and bridal party not to follow immediately out behind you let them know once you guys are at the end of the aisle it is ok to start exiting. Although I know you love them they usually end up in a picture that would be better if it was just the two of you.
Confetti is always a good idea. It’s fun, looks great in photos and your guests loved being involved with it. Really consider this aspect of the ceremony if your venue allows it.
Family & Group Shot
If you would like to have all your guests in one large group photo I kindly request that you speak with your celebrate or MC who might advise guests about the group shot before you walk down the aisle and then allocate a very loud and confident person to usher your friends and family into line. This will help make the whole process much quicker and easier and let you get to your bridal portraits much faster.
Allow you and your spouse to be alone during bride and groom portraits. Family is great and extremely valuable, however this day is about you and your spouse’s love. Most photographers will get the fun bridal party shots and those moments with family where they can swoon over you and your adorable new marriage however those moments of you two alone go much smoother if mum and your brother are not standing next to you yelling “ow, ow” or “awe” every time you smile and kiss. Couples are much more relaxed when it is just them and the photographer. It allows peace of mind to fully focus on one another and gets rid of all distractions that could take away precious moments and time with you and your spouse.
Is there anyone who needs special considerations?
This includes things like hearing, vision, and mobility impairments or less obvious things, like strong aversions to flash lighting, a tendency to overheat or if someone sweats a lot more than average. Having this kind of information in advance lets me make more calculated decisions at more convenient times. I can build in some time to scope out a location either in advance or on the day of the wedding. I can make a more considered effort with this time if I know that someone in the family or wedding party needs a wheelchair or access. If it’s going to be a hot day, I can avoid the open field, so the best man isn’t soaked in sweat at the reception. If one of the bridesmaids has severe allergies, we could skip the garden.
Soft, romantic lighting is the best, such as fairy lights, rope lights, hanging bulbs, paper lanterns, lights in trees, mason jars with candles inside.
If you hire a DJ that is using a strobe lighting, please inform me because it creates a few issues regarding colour and exposure of the photographs especially if active during your first dance.
Ask the band/DJ to bring a wireless mic. During the toasts if the person is able to stand near you or in front of you it is more personal and along with it will be a much better picture.
What wedding details you DIY-ed.
I love shooting the DIY bits of your wedding. Because you put so much energy into these things, the photos become special reminders not just of your wedding day, but of all those funny, exciting, frustrating, frightening, all-around worthwhile moments leading up to your wedding. I want to know about all your DIY projects in advance and, ideally, where to find them on your wedding day. I would like to try and capture a sense of everything, but those things made from your own sweat and hard work? I want to document them in brilliant detail.
Surprises at weddings are fun, but photographers hate being surprised. During your wedding, I will have to employ multiple disciplines and groupings of equipment which are specialised to the task. Certain shots might need to be lit with an off-camera light, or off camera lights might need to be disabled for others. All of these things require attention and time to transition between, and, of course, the best of us can do it quickly. But still, if I’m setting ourselves up for a romantic dance that suddenly and unexpectedly turns into a dance that I really wish I had a different set of gear for, it’s going to be a challenge to capture those images in the best way. Leaving your me out of any planned surprises and you risk losing those images too.
Photographing a wedding is not only physically strenuous–being in constant motion, nearly doing gymnastics to get the shot–but it’s mentally strenuous too. Our creative and problem solving skills have to be in constant and sharp focus. And those skills take a considerable hit when the fuel light comes on.
During most weddings, I’m typically fed last; from a party-planning standpoint, that seems to make sense. But what most couples (and venues and caterers) sometimes don’t realise is that if we are fed last we frequently do not have enough time to eat at all. The best time to feed me is actually right smack bang in the middle of dinner no body wants a photo mid shovel. At the time, most of the guests will either be waiting for their food to arrive or actively eating it. Both of which do not make for especially moving or flattering photos, and during which very little else is happening. But if I need to wait until the end of dinner to eat, let me know ahead of time so I can plan accordingly (and maybe pack a snack) haha.
PS. I love cake! wink wink ;)
Remember that I am a natural light photographer and use very little flash photography, nor do I bark directions or try and interfere with your day too much. I usually let most moments happen organically and approach them photographically in a journalistic way.
Remember to trust me your photographer, that's why you hired a professional!