Your wedding photos will become some of your most treasured possessions, capturing as they will such a special and meaningful day that marks the beginning of your marriage. You will inevitably devote a significant part of your wedding budget to obtaining those photos, so it makes sense to work closely with your wedding photographer and to brief them in as much detail as possible before the big day. You may wish to consider the following when deciding what you want to discuss with your photographer:
Do your research and find your style
It will be important for you and your partner to get a sense of what you like in regards to wedding photography, and also what you definitely don’t like. Have a look at the wedding albums of friends and family, at different wedding photography websites and explore images from wedding publications. Hopefully you will start to get a feel of the kind of images that appeal to you both, and that should help you decide on a wedding photographer whose style suits you.
Huge developments in photography – and in social attitudes – mean that there is now a wider choice than ever of styles in which you can have your big day captured. Pictures of bridesmaids being given piggy-back rides, or novel themes and accessories were unthinkable just a couple of generations ago, yet now freedom of expression reigns and is perfectly acceptable in wedding photography.
Just as your personalities and identity as a couple influence the theme and style of your wedding, so should it affect the style of photography. You may think that traditional, classic shots are the most suitable, or feel that your larger-than-life personalities need something more quirky and unusual. Some people love ‘reportage’ style photography which can capture hidden moments and really tell a story as the day unfolds. Vintage style is hugely popular at the moment and can be captured through photography, lending an extremely romantic feel to the pictures.
Whatever your chosen style, it should also have influenced your choice of photographer because you like the way in which they work and the style of image they capture. Choosing someone whose style you like in the first place is much more sensible than asking a reportage-style photographer to produce classic fine-art images, for example. This said, make sure your photographer knows what it is that you like about their style and if there is anything you would like played down, and that they know what kind of feel and look you are hoping for.
List the essential shots
It is worth making a short list of some group shots you require that are out of the expected norm. Your photographer will be expecting to take group shots of the bride’s family, groom’s family, bridesmaids etc., but should you have a group of friends from university or work, say, that you would like photographed it is a good idea to make a note of this. Make sure there is someone such as a bridesmaid or usher to help find and gather people together for this to save time.
Most wedding photographers would, as a standard part of their work, automatically take shots of the cake, flowers, table settings etc. as well as key moments of the day such as cutting the cake or throwing the bouquet. If there are any unusual details you would like recorded then this would be worth mentioning so your photographer knows to include them. Make sure these lists are not too exhaustive though so that the day is not lost chasing “essential”photographs at the expense of missing spontaneous moments which will tell the story of the day!
Your photographer should have a lot of experience at capturing weddings and will be able to advise you on how long to set aside for taking group and portrait shots, especially if some of these are taking place at more than one location e.g. if the ceremony and reception are at different venues. Work together with your photographer when planning the timings to ensure that everything runs smoothly and nothing is a rush. Let your photographer know when key moments such as cutting the cake or a first dance are to take place so that there is no risk of these being missed.
You will need to decide how long you would like your photographer to stay with you on the day and which parts of the day you would like captured. So you may want them to be with you for some time before the ceremony, recording the details of you getting ready, doing make-up, or of the dress hanging up for example. You may want your photographer to stay on into the evening or be happy for them to leave at this point. Either way, all of this should be discussed and worked out in advance so that you are confident that everything you want will be captured, and that your photographer is clear as to when and how long they are required.
Establish a rapport
One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of ensuring that your wedding photographer knows what you want is to meet up in person and talk everything through together. Not only will this mean that all the above details are laid out and discussed, it will have the added benefit of establishing a valuable rapport with your photographer. A good wedding photographer will be happy to chat to and get to know their clients, as this means they will be better able to put you at ease on the day, which in turn will make for more natural shots and the best possible outcome for you. Building this trust will mean that your photographer can work fluently, safe in the knowledge that they are fulfilling your brief, and that you can relax and let them do what they do best, capturing your special day.
Author Bio: Yakir Zur of YZ Photography is a professional photographer who has been capturing weddings and other key life events for over 20 years.