It’s no secret that Wedding days can be a roller-coaster of emotions. From stress because little things are not falling into place to excitement because hey, you’re getting married, to a variety of tears both good and bad. One person who is there to help you remember all the good moments of your special day is your wedding photographer. However, like with every other part of a wedding planning (and more importantly, communication) is key if you want to get the most out of your photographer. As a wedding photographer myself I have 6 tips here to make sure communication between you and your photographer is crystal clear. Not only will this help your photographer make sure their job goes smoothly, but when they have a clear vision of what to work for that makes it one last thing for you to worry about and you can go back to worrying not to forget your vows.

1.   Have a Clear Style in mind:

This should be something you keep in mind while you are picking out your photographer and should be discussed during the consultation period between you and them. There is a myriad of different styles however there are two main styles that tend to make up the spectrum where most styles fall in-between. The first is Light and Airy, consisting of soft whites, warm highlights and quiet shadows. On the other end of the spectrum is Dark and Moody which is full of rich colors, high contrast and powerful shadows. While its completely fine to not have the picture-perfect idea in your head, ideally you would have an idea of where on this spectrum you would like to fall. Think of it like going to the salon, while you may want to give room for your stylist to work their magic, you still want it long or short, dark or light. It’s very unlikely you would close your eyes and just say “Surprise me.” Making Pinterest boards of photos you like from across the internet is a great way of expressing the style you want to go for with your photographer. 

2.   Ask about Turn Around time:

Depending on your photographer and how busy they are with other shoots and jobs the turnaround time is going to vary. The last thing you want is to be waiting months with bated breath not sure when to expect the final product. That’s why it’s an important discussion to make sure you understand how long the photographer needs to make your pictures perfect for you. While average time varies but normally can range anywhere from 1-2 months. Typically, the turnaround time your photographer gives you will be longer than the time needed so don’t worry there is a good chance you will receive them sooner than expects. Nailing down a due date ballpark will allow you to stay in touch with your photographer without feeling like you are bugging them.  

3.   Let the Photographer See the Location Prior to the Big Day:

I feel this is an important tip because from my experience the lighting changes venue to venue and even on a smaller scale as the day progresses. I always suggest bringing the photographer to your wedding rehearsal so they can gauge where to stand and what time, and what equipment is needed so they can capture the most important moments of the day. Another tip would be to show them the venue and see if you can organize a tour for the same reasons as stated above.

4.   Go over any “Must-have” shots:

Of course, there are some mandatory must-haves (first kiss, first dance, etc) but there may be some personal memories you’ll want captured. In my own work I like to carry with me something I call my shot list. This is a collection of pictures and prompts I use to help me keep my flow and give me ideas when I can’t think of something to take a photo of. Most people spend hours on Pinterest when planning a wedding looking at a plethora of images, while doing that look at some poses, items, or anything else that you want your photographer to capture. I know for my friend’s wedding she wanted a very specific first kiss photo which was taken from the point of view of the stage and having the audience in the background. The photographer who captured that photo would probably never known until my friend told him. It turned out to be a beautiful photo.

5.   Give the Photographer a Schedule:

During a wedding there are so many things going on and the photographer is probably going to be with you every step along the way. A great example of this was during my friend’s wedding, we started from the moment she woke up in the hotel and ended 12 hours later at the venue for the after-party. Photos needed to start at 6:00am at the hotel, the Hampton Inn in Buffalo NY. We were at that location until around 11:00am while her and the bridal party got their hair and make-up done. After that we relocated to the venue where the wedding was being held, Lucarelli’s Banquet Center. This wedding had both the ceremony and the reception take place at Lucarelli’s Banquet Center but that isn’t always the case. Even within the ceremony and reception it was important for me as the photographer to be time sensitive on when particular events were happening. That is a lot of places to be in one day and lot of time stamps that are happening, and a lot for one brain to remember. It was really helpful when I sat down with her and we went over where she was going to be and what was happening at what times, so I knew what to prepare for and how much time I have, to get ready. One thing I would change was have a written copy of the schedule so I didn’t have to keep bothering the bride…… Luckily she is my good friend so I wasn’t such a bother but if the future I am going to make sure I leave the questions to a minimum.

6.   Feed Them:

This is just a friendly suggestion obviously you don’t have to but keep in mind weddings are typically a full day event and well we are still humans and we get hungry. It is hard to stay focused on a noisy tummy so I would keep in mind to budget out food for the people you hire not just the photographer. We always appreciate it.

These are just a few pointers that I thought were most important being a wedding photographer. There are plenty other things you should do and some of these things may not tailor to you. That is perfectly fine because at the end of it all it’s your big day, the one thing I would take out of this post if anything is that communicating with your photographer is so key to having a successful day and making sure you are the happiest you can be with your photos.