This piece was part of the old layout on this site, but little did I know that there were quite a few individuals who found it pretty useful. So with a quick copy and paste here it is as part of a blog post. I’ve changed some of the info from the original piece because the world has changed quite a bit since then, while the rest is still very much relevant. Although I don’t consider myself a wedding planner by any stretch of the imagination, I have picked up a few tips as wedding photographer when it comes to weddings.
Note that these are also just my own observations, so the reality might be completely different elsewhere on this planet.
In no particular order of importance those pointers are:
- Timing: The change in the economic climate has influenced how couples plan their weddings. Not too long ago it was quite normal for couples to plan their wedding a year or more in advance. Even though I still get requests with distant dates, a trend of weddings happening in just a few months or even weeks are not unusual to see nowadays. Regardless, and where possible, you cannot start securing the best vendors early enough. The best vendors or venues still get booked quite early.
- Dress: Know how the dress is supposed to fit with all its quirks, as well as how long it will take to get dressed. Also when deciding on what to wear for the day, keep the expected weather of the wedding day in mind. Sometimes its hard to imagine during colder winter days how long and hot summer days can be, and vice versa. That extra layer of fabric might not be such a brilliant idea in 38°C heat.
- Shoes: Wear your wedding shoes before the wedding day. You don’t want to end up having blisters or swollen feet. If your shoes are an important part of your wedding details then get used to them just enough so that they will still look good in photographs.
- Weather: Unless you are getting married during the dry season it is always smart to keep possible showers in mind. Sometimes weather in most parts can be schizophrenic no matter what the prediction. Keep two or more umbrellas handy.
- Light: Remember that the sun not only sets early during the off season, but it gets dark quicker than usual too. Keep that in mind when planning the couples photography session of the day.
- Planning: Make sure you plan everything properly. Remember the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. If you cannot do it yourself then hire a proper wedding planner. I’ve worked with both good and bad planners, so just do your homework on that one too. Just from my own experience: planners (or any other vendor) pushed by a venue tend to be the worst.
- Weekdays: Getting married during weekdays and out of season will cost you less. Also most wedding photographers also offer reduced prices during those period. Here you can use supply and demand to your advantage.
- Wedding websites: Although wedding websites can be a great source of inspiration, it is often wise to keep in mind the source of the article. I’ve seen wedding websites that advise couples to ask photographers about equipment specifications. That’s totally useless advice as every photographer has a different style and approach of photographing a wedding. In wedding photography more gear and specifications are not always better.
- Style: As human beings our memories fade over time (for whatever reason) and its always in your best interest to make sure that the captures of the day were at least good. Experienced photographers have developed their own distinct style of timeless photography over many years of trial and error and therefore tend to also cost a little bit more for the same reason. You get what you pay for.
- Details: Magazines love details. The better the details, the better is the chance that a photographer can get your wedding published by a magazine or a website. Make sure that the details are available for the photographer to photograph in the allotted time for photography. If the decorations are outsourced then make sure the vendor is aware of this. On the other end of the spectrum, details and big budgets don’t always make a wedding necessarily better, but great human experiences do.
- Make-up artists and hair stylists: Make use of experienced make-up artists and hair stylists. Nothing is as bad as when a make-up artist is still busy fixing make up of a bride that is about to leave for the ceremony and the photographer hasn’t even taken bridal portraits yet. Experienced artists and stylists will know this already.
- Diet: Don’t forget to eat on your wedding day even if the nerves make it hard to. Have some good protein.
- General advice: It’s a day that will only happen once so most importantly go with the flow and just have fun.