How to Help Your Wedding Photographer Help You
Weddings are stressful events, right? Everyone knows that. If you’ve ever been to a bride’s or groom’s house as they’re getting ready, you know that there are probably a bunch of people running around trying to get last-minute things done. One of the worst things about stress is that it can be contagious. If you walk into a room full of stressed-out people, you might start to feel stressed yourself. The fact that you’re now stressed will add to what everyone else is feeling, and you can see how this can quickly turn into an endless spiral of doom.
So Where Are You Going With This?
Bear with me for a bit. Your photographer is going to be with you the entire day, and he/she has a stressful job as it is. As a wedding photographer, I’m responsible for capturing an entire day’s worth of once-in-a-lifetime moments, many of which I only get one chance at. If I walk into a room of stressed-out people, I might start to feel a little pressure myself. Fortunately I’ve done this dance many times before and know how to handle it.
That being said, there are certain things that can make a photographer’s job more difficult, adding to the overall level of stress in the room. Remember that endless spiral of doom I was talking about earlier? It works the other way, too. If someone who is calm and relaxed walks into a stressful room, their energy can have a calming effect on everyone. Kind of like when the dog whisperer walks into the room and the crazy dog suddenly sits calmly. A good wedding photographer is able to do this for you, whether it’s with a well-timed joke, an ingeniously-simple solution to a logistical problem, or conveniently just happening to have the exact tool you need for a last-minute clothing repair.
Ok, I’m With You So Far…
There are a few things that can make me really happy as a wedding photographer because I know that my job is going to be easy when I walk into a room and see them. If your photographer knows that they are going to have an easy time getting the job done, they’re going to be in a great mindset to help with the stress levels. With that in mind, here are some simple things you can do to help make your wedding photos great.
1 – Light is Good
Photography is all about capturing light. A room that has lots of it is always better. Obviously natural light is best, but even lots of artificial light will usually work well. When you choose where you’re going to get ready before the wedding and also where you’re going to do your portraits after, try to find a spot that feels bright and open. It’s much easier for a photographer to deal with too much light than too little.
2 – Setting the Schedule
Timing can have a big impact on stress at a wedding. The more you have to get done and the less time there is to do it, the more stressful it becomes. When you’re planning out the schedule for the day, add more time than you need. Trust me on this. Everything will run late. It always does. This could mean that there ends up being no time for that one important photo you really wanted.
3 – Ask the Officiant About Photography
There are two words that wedding photographers hate hearing from an officiant: “No Photography”. Literally none. This is a rare situation, but it does happen. I actually had one officiant who wouldn’t even let me stay in the church during the ceremony. I had to stay in the entrance and wait for the signing and ring exchange, which was the only time I was allowed to take photos. This, of course, was right at the end of the ceremony.
Officiants with this rule have it because, unfortunately, they’ve had one too many unprofessional wedding photographers running all over the venue as they please to get their shots. To deal with the problem, they simply decide to ban photography except at key moments.
While yes, you may get the shot of the first kiss and the signing, they’ll be just about the only shots you get of the ceremony. The procession of the wedding party? Nope. The look in the groom’s eyes when he first sees the bride? Missed that one too. All of those candid moments of real emotion that make your ceremony unique will be missed.
So how can you get around it? You should talk to your officiant before the wedding (like, far in advance) to find out what their house rules are. If they have strict rules about photography, you can speak to them to see if they’d be willing to make an exception. You could even see if you can arrange a meeting between the officiant and your photographer. The officiant is more likely to make an exception if he/she sees that this particular photographer is a respectful individual who will act professionally.
4 – Don’t Force It
I am, of course, talking about your smile. Very few people know how to give a natural-looking smile on command. Those of us who aren’t trained models or actors usually look insincere when we intentionally try to smile. If you don’t think about it, the smile will come naturally and it will look natural.
5 – Shade is Good
If you’re getting married in the middle of July when there’s a good chance that you’ll have a 30-degree day, it’s a good idea to do your portraits in an area with lots of shade. Direct sunlight is already pretty difficult to deal with for a photographer, but when you throw in the the fact that your skin will be all nice and shiny from the heat it’s even worse. Light in the shade is much softer and more diffuse so those reflections will be much less of an issue.
6 – Relax!
Seriously. You’ve spent anywhere from 6 months to 2 years planning this day. It’s going to go well. Sure, someone will be late. The flowers might not look the same as they did in the shop. But these are really just minor inconveniences. Overall, the day will go well. You know all those horror stories you hear about? You know why you hear about them? Because they’re so rare that they almost never happen. Which means the odds of you having a happy and memorable wedding day are virtually 100%. If anything unplanned happens, it’ll be minor and it’ll be an easy fix. Don’t worry about it and trust that someone can take care of it for you. Remember, you’re not alone in this!