- Have the details ready
During our last “checking in” phone chat before the wedding, I’ll ask my brides to set aside all of their important details into a small box (shoes, jewelry, invites, perfume, family heirlooms, etc.) for me to photograph first thing when I arrive. This is a great way for my brides to ensure that everything is accounted for beforehand and that nothing important will be missing! Plus, it saves time when all of the details are already gathered in one place.
- Check for distractions
Be on the look out for hair ties on wrists (the biggest offenders!), wall outlets, air/heating vents, TV screens, and those unfortunate hotel paintings. These are all difficult to get rid of during post production and will cost hours of your time. Try to fix the problem right then and there by removing the distraction, switching up your perspective or changing location entirely if possible. It’s so much quicker and easier to deal with the distraction right then and there than to fix it later in Photoshop. Been there, done that!
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to move
Anyone ever had an Uncle Bob set his tripod in the center of the aisle during the wedding ceremony? I would always cringe whenever I’d see this happening, but I never used to say anything. Kindly ask Uncle Bob if he could 1. move his tripod out of the aisle and closer to where he is sitting or 2. hold off on setting up his tripod until after the bridal party processes to ensure distraction free, clean photographs. Most of the time guests are very understanding and realize that you were hired to do a specific job – and that you want to do it well!
- Expect the unexpected
This tip might go without saying, but I’ve been thrown a photography curveball at nearly every wedding I’ve photographed for the past 4 years. I would say that 99% of these curveballs are related to lighting and bad weather. Simply put, not every venue is going to have huge windows and light colored rooms. And (unfortunately!) not every wedding day is going to have perfect weather. I’ve worked with dark venues that didn’t permit off camera flash, and I’ve also photographed weddings where it down-poured the entire day. The most important thing is to be prepared to adapt to any curveball you’re given. Pack lots of clear umbrellas for bridal party portraits, know your flashes inside and out, and always have a one light set up on standby just in case. Also, pack a wedding day emergency kit – mine has helped me more times than I can count (click HERE to see what’s in my bag).
- Always bring a second shooter
Having a second shooter with you during a wedding day is a great way to be able to cover more ground, be in two places at once, and see an entirely new perspective of the same day. Plus, it’s so helpful to have another person hold a reflector, grab a lens, and check off family formal combinations as they’re taken.