So shooting a wedding sounds like a lot of work, partly because it is. I break my clients wedding day down into four different sections which help me concentrate on the moments and not the entirety of the day at all times. Included in this breakdown are some awesome tips which will help your clients fall in love with you.
First part: Prep
This is where everyone is getting ready, getting prepped for the day. The brides maids are first on the docket, getting hair and make-up done. Mimosas and bagels are usually plenty if not sandwiches and cheese platters. The details are still in the air, who's swinging by this place and picking up that or who has the keys to the hotel room and lots of fun hectic stuff.
I like to use this time to hang out and get to know the bridesmaids better, after all we'll be spending the day together. I typically set up my laptop in a corner or somewhere out of the way (I'll talk about this more soon). I bring in my camera equipment and take a walk around the location. I usually give everyone a heads up that I'll be taking photos. Typically everyone will say to me that they don't have make up on and to wait, I usually shoot them down by telling them about how good the before and after is going to be. The ladies usually look just fine, in the case that they don't it's usually because they've had a wild night.
I like to ask how everyone knows the bride and typically parents are there too and will sometimes have fun and embarrassing stories to keep the mood light and fun. I always accept food offered and you should too. Imagine if you made some awesome sandwiches or cookies and offered it to someone and they looked at it and then back at you and said no. I know we're not always in the mode for certain foods but this is a nice little gesture that they are giving you so run with it. So if there are kids in the wedding which commonly they are then I suggest giving them a little bit of attention. I usually let them use my small mirror less camera for a little bit or hold my big camera if they are sitting down. Once I let them play with my camera they are usually more apt to give me those smiles later in the day.
So I'm shooting candids of the the ladies getting ready and chatting. I'm taking photos of the kids that are running around or the mother who's making phone calls to make sure everyone is on their way or other details. Once I have enough photos I go back to my laptop. I download my current photos and pick through them for a few minutes. Now I get to show the bride and bridesmaids and family some previews. I'm showing them how awesome they look and once that happens everyone starts to relax a bit more because they now have the understanding that I kick ass with a camera.
So all this controlled chaos is happening and there are only so many photos you can take of everyone before it starts to feel invasive. This is a great opportunity to get those wonderful detail shots. The dress is usually near by as well as shoes, flowers and the rings sometimes.
I'll take the shoes and dress somewhere more pleasing to the eye, a tree or more groomed room of the house or location. The rings I take macro shots of and the trick to never losing them is using my pinky finger, I'm not always the prettiest ring model but I've never lost any rings in my care. The flowers I typically place in a tree or on a stone wall or sometimes just a nice table in the backyard. The shoes I will sometimes pair with the dress and can be hung anywhere.
So the bridesmaids should be wrapping up with hair and make-up. The bride is always final when it comes to that stuff, we want her makeup and hair to be nice, fresh and ready for the big moment. So I usually get photos of the hair process which is done first and then make-up. I like close-up photos of lipstick being applied and eye liner being dressed on as well as photos of her hair. The hair dresser usually likes having these photos too as well as the make-up artist. Now is the moment of truth, you need photos of the guys!!!
So I've saved the guys section for last and theres a very good reason for it, it only takes them a few minutes to get ready. I usually save them for last or get to them first. I don't do the whole relaxed thing of sitting around and waiting for them. The guys aren't into the entire photo process sometimes so it's much easier to stage them. I'll have the guys get dressed and then they can always take off the clothes afterwards if time allows.
So here's a list of shots that I like to cover. I sit the groom down and have him get his shoes on, this of course is after he has his pants on. I have the groomsmen help each other with ties, bow ties, shirts and jackets. These allow for some tender moments between everyone. I'll also do some of them joking around and then maybe some photos of them on their front steps if it's at their houses or some photos with mom and dad. This all happens very quick because it's all staged. My main focus is on the bride because it's her big day and her moms big day as well because she's been waiting for this for a long time. This is fairy tale time and we're part of it.
So thats the first part of the photos, make sure to get photos of all the chaos too. Next part is the ceremony and i'll have that posted soon.