Your wedding day is one of the most precious moments of your life. It’s why we invest so much time preparing for the occasion – seeking out the dream dress, visiting endless venues and caterers, scouring florists for that special flower. While we spend months preparing for the occasion, the actual day whizzes by far too quickly, often in a haze of champagne, speeches and family reunions. One of the most enduring mementos you’ll have from the day are your photographs. That’s why it’s so crucial to pick out a photographer who understands your vision. Just as important though, is preparing for the photographs. If you want to capture the essence of your special day, it’s worth taking the time to think through the photographs and portraits before the day.
We’ve come up with a check list to ensure you end up with a keepsake you will want to share with friends and family for years to come.
Spend some time flicking through magazines and looking online at different types of photo styles. Don’t limit yourself to wedding portraits. You can create a mood board on Pinterest or the old-fashioned way. Talk it through with your photographer so you both know the kind of tone you’re aiming for in your photographs. Is it more formal, romantic, playful, stylized, artistic, informal?
- Choose backdrops:
Of course, you’ve spent hours researching and booking your venue, but make sure you consider it from the point of view of backdrops. Choose more than one location where you could have portraits taken. Maybe one spot will lend itself just to photos of you and your new spouse, whereas another will be ideal for a shot of the whole clan.
- Stay comfortable:
- Make sure to eat before the event kicks off. It’s much easier to smile consistently when you’re not hungry!
- Bring a second pair of comfortable shoes for walking during the portrait element.
- Plan for the weather. Invest in some large umbrellas if rain is in the forecast. Have a pashmina, wrap or jacket if it’s cooler.
- Create a schedule:
Consult with your photographer and/or event planner to come up with the perfect timeline. Assign the job of keeping everyone on track to someone with organizational skills so you can focus on your smile! The photographer will of course help your bridal party with this too. Bear the following in mind when coming up with your timeline:
- Make sure there is ample time for everything.
- Calculate travel and add in time for incidental moments.
- In an ideal world, photographers would have two hours set aside for formals.
- Make a list of formal portraits:
Decide on the family and friends you would like in the more formal images, from small to large groups. Try and make the order logical so that the same people are in consecutive photographs. If young children will be in the photos, bear in mind they could get restless. Schedule their shots for early on and make sure there is someone to help entertain them when they are done.
- Print two copies of your list. Give one to your photographer and the other to the person you’ve chosen as your right hand.
- Give everyone a heads up before the day so they know when they will be needed.
- On the day, ask your ‘assistant’ to call people for their photo ahead of time, so you’re not left waiting to take pictures.
- Don’t forget photos of details like the cake, the rings, the bouquets, the table settings.
- Pack an emergency kit:
- Boutonniere pins. Often the florist doesn’t send enough.
- Make-up for touch ups before the portaits.
- Safety pins, needle and thread. You never know when you might need to deal with a wardrobe malfunction.
- Baby wipes, for getting accidents out of white dresses.
- For even more professional photos:
- Have your hair and makeup done by a professional.
- Invest in engagement photos. This will give you a chance to work with the photographer. You can also use the engagement photos on your invitations and stationery for the day.
- Don’t over indulge in alcohol. That champagne is tempting but there’s time for that after the formal photos.
- Make Pinterest your friend. Start your research early and create a mood board just for the photos and portraits.
- Tell your photographer everything. They are there to ensure you have a wonderful keepsake of your special day.