Wedding photography is just one cog in the machine that is the wedding day. At its very base, wedding photography is recording who was there and how everyone looked. At its best, wedding photography tells a story, captures emotion and ambiance, and preserves the day so generations later can still relive it. Good photography takes time, it is an investment, it holds purpose, and some couples struggle to balance everything they want from their photography within the constraints of a typical wedding day.
There are many ways to approach the timeline of a wedding. Having trusted reputable vendors is a great start (check out the talent at www.independentwedding.com). An experienced planner and photographer will be able to help you set realistic goals and expectations as well as work out the best timeline options. Below is a list of some of the basic ways to maximize your photography investment on your wedding day.
I love first looks, as do most photographers. It gives couples that moment of anticipation before they see each other, but it is done much earlier in the day than the tradition of seeing each other at the ceremony. Believe me, the butterflies are still there at the ceremony, and a first look gives couples the opportunity to spend more of the day together, have a more relaxed timeline for pictures, and in general lets you have more breathing room to your timeline.
Focus on the Moment
Some couples choose mostly photojournalistic coverage of their wedding day. This is usually the best option if the couple isn’t seeing each other before the ceremony, have a less extensive budget but still want good quality images, have some family drama they want to minimize, or have a smaller wedding. Photojournalistic coverage does not mean the images are less artistic or less beautiful. On the contrary, images where people are in their natural state are the most emotionally impactful and also harder to get since most people are very camera aware. Photographers that know what they are doing are paying attention to light, angle, background, moment and exposure no matter if the image is a posed portrait or split second moment. Though we still think a few family portraits are necessary and carving out ten minutes or so for couple portraits are important, the majority of the time is spent capturing the day as it happens, in all its fantastic glory.
Just the Two of Us
More and more of our couples are choosing this option and I love it! Basically, the couple goes location hopping with their photographers alone. No wedding party. This benefits everyone involved. The wedding party gets more time to get ready (which really helps if little kids are involved) without as much stress, and it can eliminate the frustration of chronically late (or anti camera) friends or family. Since there are less people, transportation becomes a less expensive issue and time management is much easier. Couples also tend to be a bit more adventurous with their location choices since they don’t have to ask their wedding party to also hang out in an alley or climb around in a park…or walk on the roofline of a two hundred year old Cathedral…
Wedding Party Adventure Time
This is the exact opposite of the couple taking pictures alone. Wedding party adventure time usually involves a couple hours of pictures in multiple locations. Renting a trolley or limo is the easiest option, and the most fun since you can pump your favorite tunes and drink (even stop at a drive thru) with your pals. This option is usually more high intensity and fun, and can be a really great way to show your out-of-town friends the local sites. It is a great bonding experience though also a bit more unpredictable.
Mostly, this is an option for destination weddings, but is also an interesting way to look at any wedding photography. Instead of filling your day with picture time running around and getting every image you’ve ever dreamed of, think about doing your portraits another day. If you are someone that is easily overwhelmed with stress, or who has a specific location in mind that might not be feasible that day, think about how amazing it would be to have your wedding with only minimal posed family and wedding party pictures. Think of how relaxed that wedding timeline would be, how leisurely you could get ready and how you could enjoy your friends and family at your cocktail hour! And then a couple days later you have hours dedicated for nothing but pictures. Your photographer will have more time to work, you won’t have the stress of the wedding day, you have dedicated makeout time…bonus, you get to wear that amazing dress again and do more adventurous things!
Creativity in how you plan your day can affect both your bottom line and your images. Being creative with your wedding day timeline could mean having your first dance before dinner is served (right after the grand march) and then have your photographer’s hours end there, doing minimal posed pictures the day of the wedding and having a styled shoot later in your wedding finery, having a brunch wedding with a more condensed timeline, or choosing a Thursday or Sunday to get married. All of these creative options can shave a couple hours off a timeline which will help you save money on your photography without compromising on quality.
In no way do wedding pictures have to follow a check list of must haves you found on the internet or look a specific way. This is YOUR day, you are investing in a quality photographer, make the most of it. Work with your fiance and photographer to whittle down what it is you want for the day. Give them words like “quirky” “dramatic” “emotional” “sexy” “hilarious” to describe your style and let your photographer get creative. Whether it is designing a little photoshoot set to work with or simply giving your photographer permission and time to experiment and have fun, you will naturally end up with images unique to you as a couple.
Weddings are expensive. That is the cold hard truth. It also isn’t an investment worth making if the entire time you are stressed, frustrated, and hiring vendors based on price over quality. Think about your day, what you want to get out of your day, and how to plan your wedding timeline to get the most bang for your buck. Proper time management not only affects your stress levels and the quality of images you will get, but also directly affects your bottom line. Taking the time with your photographer or planner (or both!) to figure out the best timeline for your wedding day will keep everything running smoothly!