It’s the week of the wedding and now is the time to start organising your thoughts and plans. I will refer to my notes from our initial meeting with the couple – I need to remind myself of key issues such as – how many bridesmaids there are – are the bridesmaids adults or children – this all helps me think through how I can group them for the ‘formal’ photographs and what shapes I can make with the people available.
How many groomsmen will there be – what about parents – are there any parent arrangements that you need to be aware of – how many guests are expected – uncles, aunts, grandparents, special guests or guests that are travelling long distances to attend. The groom’s parents are just as important as the bride’s parents and therefore it is important that you end up with the same amount of shots of both sets of parents.
These are all photo opportunities of which you should be aware. It makes more sense to think about how you are going to group, pose and photograph people before the wedding rather than on the day when the bridal party or guests are standing in front of you waiting for you to organise them.
During the week of the wedding I will always visit the church or the venue where the wedding service is to take place and I will try and plan my visit so that it is roughly at the same time as the wedding. This will give me an idea of where the sun will be in the sky on the day of the wedding so that I can find the ‘best light’ for the outside shots. I make contingency plans for, clear skies, cloudy skies and rain. Each will provide its own shooting problems and will require alternative strategies and shooting locations – think them through and be prepared – on the day it will be you that the bride and groom turn to and ask “what would you like us to do now?” – you must have the answer.
If possible I like to walk in and around the church and sort out in my own mind where, if allowed, I would like to take my photographs – which include the service and any images that I plan to take after the service.
I go through the same process with the venue for the reception if it is different from the venue for the wedding ceremony and similarly the venue where the bride and groom intent to get ready. I usually to this opportunity to photograph the church or reception venue – it’s one less photograph to take on the day and they can make good background images for the album. I always have the wedding album in my mind when taking wedding photographs.
I will drive the route from the church to the reception venue – occasionally I spot a location that would be fabulous to stop with the couple to have some ‘special’ bride and groom shots – wedding magazine type shots. If we have time, if the weather is right and more importantly if the bride and groom agree then we could ask the driver to stop off en route to take some impromptu shots – these can turn out to be some of the best shots of the day if you are lucky.
Preparation is the key – I cannot stress this enough – don’t leave anything to chance.
Oh yes and during the week of the wedding I become a fervent visitor of the BBC weather forecast site and pray a lot!