It’s just one day. It’s a big day, but it doesn’t contain more hours than any other day. That means you have to plan carefully and avoid overloading your schedule. I’ll send you a planning worksheet that helps immensely with this process. If you’re really excited about photography (and chances are, if you’re reading this, you are) then you’ll need to think about how picture taking figures into your day. I can help you methodically plot activities, ensuring that we have enough time to capture the kinds of pictures that will grab and hold your imagination.
You know the deflating, anxious feeling that strikes at every wedding once formal pictures begin? It’s a silly way to kill the joyous mood of the day, isn’t it? I try to avoid that kind of feeling by knocking out formal shots quickly and efficiently. Before the wedding, communicate any must-have formal portraits to me. I can supply a checklist template for this purpose. Assign a person who knows your families to play traffic cop and help keep people moving in and out of the formal shots — this is incredibly helpful for everyone involved.
Storytelling photography isn’t fiction. It’s a flowing narrative of events. So when your best man rips a huge hole in his trousers and spills coffee all over the maid of honor’s dress, let’s have fun with it. It’s those details that make up the story of your day.
Dates fill up quickly. It’s best to book your photographer at least 10 months prior to your event.
If you really love photography and want the best possible pictures, it doesn’t hurt to set the stage a bit. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a chic, glamorous reception spot. Rather, it can mean simply avoiding places that are totally empty and devoid of any personality whatsoever.
Clues that a spot you’re considering might not be great for pictures:
- It looks like a warehouse, with scuffed white walls and weak or ugly fluorescent lighting
- The owner won’t let you decorate however you want to jazz up the place
- The area around the hall is industrial looking, with lots of chain-link fences, power lines, and busy roads
And look for locations with better potential:
- It doesn’t have to be upscale or spotlessly clean. The important question is — does it have character?
- Are there spots right outside (or nearby) where we can step away for short, impromptu photo sessions?
- Are the owners friendly and helpful when you emphasize that photography is really important to you?
Want suggestions for the kinds of places that make for great pictures? I have a lot of ideas I can share with you, especially in Lincoln and the surrounding areas. Feel free to zip me an email or call with questions.
You may not realize it now, but in many cases the couple spends more time with the photographer than any other single person on their wedding day. Be sure you really like that person, for obvious reasons.
How much are you emphasizing photography? And how outdoorsy are you?
In the tempermental climate of the Midwest, weather is not a minor factor to consider. Snow and ice make winter weddings a gamble. But mid-summer weddings can be downright brutal. Do you really want to dress up in fancy clothes and then sweat profusely in the hot July sun?
For photography purposes, nothing beats the fall months, from mid-September until November, yet few couples take advantage of the milder temperatures and low humidity. They fear freakish blizzards…and Saturday Husker football games. But fall weather is often gorgeous here, and trust me, your friends and family won’t begrudge you for the football conflict. Set up a TV at the reception hall and they’ll be the happiest corn heads ever, I promise.
Early spring is wonderful, too, from April until, of course, June. But beware July, August, and early September, especially if you want to spend any of that time outside. Wedding dresses and tuxedos don’t have A/C.
The wedding industry is fulll of fly-by-night companies and part-time “professionals.” If you’re putting a lot of time into planning a great day, be sure your vendors are legitimate. Don’t work with anyone who doesn’t offer up a contract. And take your time to read the fine print. In business, as in wedding planning, the details matter.
I’ve been to a lot — and I mean a lot — of weddings in the past few years.
After the wedding cake has been cut and the honeymoon is over, I often hear the same things from couples. They sometimes bemoan the fact that they lost sight of their priorities for the day.
“We spent too much money on things that only get used once.”
“We tried to do too many things in one day. It was just a blur and we hardly had a chance to enjoy it.”
“We invited so many people that we didn’t have a chance to actually talk to anyone.”
“We should have just done things our way instead of letting our families tell us what to do.”
“We watched our wedding video once and never again. We should have saved that money.”
“We should have made more time for pictures. The pictures are the best thing we took away from the day.”
In other words, before you even start planning your wedding, think about your priorities…and then stick to them no matter what other people say. It’s a day you only have once in your life, so celebrate it in the way you think is best.
© 2013 40 Nights Photography
Wedding, Engagement, Portrait and Commercial Photography in Lincoln and Omaha, NE.