Ok the big day has arrived all of your equipment is prepared – you have sorted out your shooting plan for the day and you have a selection of ‘setups’ that you can use to photograph the bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, guests and a mixture of all of the above.
I always make sure that I am ready in plenty of time - the car is full of petrol, I have my satnav set up and I have all the postcodes I need plugged in. I load the car early and have a last run through some of my favourite wedding images. I also try and commit to memory the names of the bridal party and the parents of both bride and groom.
As you will gather from the following description of what is expected from your wedding photographer on the day of the wedding, taking pictures forms only a part. It is of course a given that you will provide the bride and groom with some fabulous images at the end of the day but as you will see a wedding photographer is expected to provide those little extras that ensure that your couple have the fabulous and unforgettable day that they deserve.
First up, if you intend to take bridal preparation pictures make sure that you arrive on time. There is a good chance that the bride is going to be nervous – she has enough to worry about on the morning of her wedding without the additional worry of where her wedding photographer is.
In fact a big part of a wedding photographer’s day is making sure that the bride and groom feel relaxed. If you achieve this not only will they enjoy their day much more but you will also get much better images. I can’t stress enough how important this is.
When I arrive at the bridal preparation venue I like to spend 5 to 10 minutes just looking around - seeing which rooms have the best light – which are the best sized rooms with the most space to take bridal preparation pictures and if there are any props - lights, chairs, mirrors etc that can be incorporated as backgrounds to your images.
I also like to look around the garden, again to find the areas with the best light and where will provide me with the best back drop for my outside images. If you are taking groom preparation images then it’s possible to look further afield for outside images but for bridal preparation the back garden is usually far enough – don’t forget that dress is not only heavy, it can be quite difficult to walk in – don’t expect too much from your bride.
Also be aware that your bride and bridesmaids have just gone to a lot of trouble and expense to have their hair and makeup lovingly applied – the last thing that they want is for that hard work to be ruined by a an over enthusiastic photographer trying to drag the bridal party out into the garden for photographs on a windy or even worse, a rainy day.
The English weather is notoriously unpredictable – remember the 3 contingency plans that you developed a week before the wedding – assess the weather conditions and employ the plan to suit. Whatever the weather conditions always be upbeat – the bride and groom are probably more concerned about the weather than you are – they don’t need doom and gloom from their photographer.
Keep an eye on the time – don’t hassle the bride but try and make sure that you keep roughly on course according to that itinerary that you put together with the bride and groom a couple at the “2 months before the wedding” stage.