So, the big day has arrived. You are at the wedding venue at the prescribed time, you are ready with gear in hand, batteries charged up, and if you are lucky, a second shooter is ready to go. Suddenly, it hits you. You are in charge of preserving this sacred day. A wedding day that has taken hours upon hours of tedious planning, a day that the bride has been looking forward to since she was a little girl. A day that can never ever be recreated. Do you feel a little bit panicky? I do too. Every time. I find that it is really helpful to me to have a prefabricated list of must have shots and wedding poses before the panic overcomes my ability to think clearly.
Plan of Action
As often as possible I like to have a pre-wedding consult a few weeks prior to the actual wedding day with the bride and groom. We sit down and discuss the timeline for their event, the ideas they have, and any must have shots and portraits that they would like on their wedding day. Not only does this give me a detailed list to work from when doing the formal shots, but it often gives me a glimpse into the family dynamics and relationships between the people who are going to be attending.
The Must Have Wedding Shots
Aside from any photos on the bride and grooms list and obvious formal and informal shots during and after the ceremony, here are some shots that I always try and get throughout the day.
- Bride with bridesmaids getting ready.
- Bride’s bouquet.
- Any jewelry that the bride will be wearing.
- Wedding dress before the bride is wearing it.
- Mother of the bride helping bride prepare.
- Groom getting ready.
- Father of the Bride seeing his daughter in her wedding dress.
- Mother of Groom pinning on flowers.
- Ceremony site before the guests arrive.
- Details at ceremony site.
- Reception venue.
- Any and all little details at reception venue.
- Ring shots.
- Food, cake, table settings.
- Wide ambiance shot of the reception
- Grandparents dancing.
- Getaway car.
Some of these shots have to be orchestrated. At times I need to coach the bridesmaids on where to stand and how to help, in order to get the best shot. I often need to send a second shooter to make sure I get shots of the reception site before the guests come, and to help capture lots of important shots in between. The point is, readers, it helps to have a plan, a cohesive guide, to follow when the panic sets in.
It is reassuring to know that you can get through the day, and leave feeling confident you captured all the important moments of the wedding, to help the couple relive their time in the spotlight. So before you head out to shoot that next wedding, sit down and make a list of photos you absolutely know you should take, and I promise, the panic will be so much more manageable!