2 months before the wedding
We always plan to meet our couples 2 months before the wedding – this is an important meeting and serves several purposes.
First of all, it is an opportunity to run through the itinerary for the day. By now our couple have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen on the day and when it is likely to happen but you would be surprised the number of issues that have not yet been completely thought through, even at this late stage. Either way it allows our couples, sometimes for the first time, to run through a detailed itinerary of the events for the day.
We make a note of the itinerary and send them a copy a few days later – most brides really appreciate this.
The amount of time that certain things take on the wedding day are sometimes grossly underestimated - for example putting on a wedding dress in the shop with the help of the expert is very different to suddenly being confronted with several layers of petticoats, lacings etc on the day with only Mum or a bridesmaid to help and as such it is not unusual for a bride to take well over half an hour to just get into the dress!! Your bride may well have a hairdresser and makeup artist at her home to help her prepare for the big day. It does not matter how many times I suggest, and we agree, that the bride and her attendants and family are ready at least half an hour and if possible an hour before they need to leave for the service to enable me to capture some really special moments.
I try and encourage the bride and groom to have a pre wedding shoot. This is well worth the time and effort as it helps our wedding couple to get used to being the centre of attention and posing in front of a camera. I always provide them with a photobook, especially prepared so that it can be used as a guest book on the book day.
Most couples are not natural ‘models’ and they can feel rather awkward in front of the camera –it is part of the photographers skill to put them at their ease and help them feel comfortable and confident. It is important to ‘pose’ your couple correctly – so that they feel comfortable and look good. There are much better qualified photographers than me who have written numerous books on ‘how to pose your bride and groom’ and it is essential that you familiarise yourself with these techniques and practice them at every opportunity. Your bride and groom may express a preference for informal photographs but I have not attended a wedding yet where there is not a call for those traditional ‘formal shots’. Even if the bride and groom are not that keen on formal shots, Mum and Gran certainly will be. When this happens you will be expected to organise where and how people stand as well as organising the bride’s train and veil, all whilst carrying your expensive camera equipment round your neck.
When shooting the ‘Formal’ pictures try and be creative – create different shapes – try and avoid the ‘prison line’ up of yesteryear. I know it is difficult – you probably have a maximum of 3 minutes for a formal shot before the bridal party or guests get restless and this is not a lot of time to organise a wedding party, who are not used to posing, into a creative group. Look at what the top wedding photographers are doing and practice a number of their ‘set ups’.