Wedding day hacks from a Photographer

At the end of 2020, I will have shot at 25 different weddings from the time i was 16 until now (21 and yes, some second shooting in there). This is a huge milestone for me personally and I’m glad that COVID didn’t snuff out my growth this year. After capturing this many weddings, and seeing how different they can be, I believe I can offer some insight and tips for your wedding day.

Give yourself plenty of down time during the schedule.

If you think something is going to take 15 minutes, plan on 20-30 minutes. You want to enjoy your wedding day, not rush through it.

HIGHLY consider a first look.

This allows for all of the formal photos to be done before the ceremony, that way you can enjoy the reception and your guests. Having a first look alone with your spouse can be even sweeter than seeing them down the aisle. (plus your photographer will choose somewhere beautiful to shoot them!).

Make sure you have snacks & drinks while getting ready.

Hangry isn’t something you want to be on your wedding day. Also, if you plan on partying, consider hydrating heavily before the ceremony.

Plan & finalize everything with vendors before the wedding day.

This lets you enjoy your big day rather than worrying about paying the vendors. It also avoids the awkward, “hey, can i like, maybe get my money?” which feels very selfish on the wedding day.

Walkthrough your venue with your photographer.

When I walk through a venue I look at how well the ceilings are going to bounce light, the window light situation and I even look for distractions I could cover up. Try to get to the venue around the same time of day that your wedding is. (this may change because of Daylight savings).

Have a collaborative software for scheduling/shot list.

Even just an online word document with a schedule and shot list will tremendously help your photographer.

Bring an umbrella.

So you don’t get soaked when the photographer makes you go in the rain and shoot. (also highly recommend, think about doing this towards the end of the night).

Photographic tips for the couple

During the couples photos, be yourself.

Don’t rely on the photographer to tell you EVERYTHING. If you flirt, are natural and organic with your significant other you will get some amazing candid photos.

Don’t be scared to bother the photographer.

It’s our job to capture everything you want to be captured.If aunt Jill wants a phone photo, get the photographer over there to shoot the same thing. You won’t regret it.

Remember to look in love.

The wedding day can be stressful, which you don’t want to show in the photos. Just remind yourself of the big picture, and why your there. It WILL show in the images.

Write down a shot list for family photos.

Your photographer will love you. I’m very soft spoken so i get a bullhorn, mic, or wedding coordinator to help direct the families.

Don’t leave out the details.

Grab the photos of passed loved ones for the memory table, get the big sparklers, get the hankie your dad passed down from his dad.

For Photographers

Prioritize the Bride.

Not only during the day, but taking photos as well. Pose so you can see her face more than the grooms. Make sure her dress is fluffed,her hair isn’t falling and your focal point of the image needs to be her.

Capture moments

This also depends on the photographic style of the artist. I’m much more of a documentary style than posed. I prefer to let moments happen naturally and capture real expressions instead of saying “cheese”.

Try to have some help

A second shooter is the best option, but also just an assistant helps a ton.

Bring a backup of gear

I have two digital cameras and a plethora of film cameras to fall back to incase something happened to mine. Batteries, lenses, flashes, sd cards, and lens cloths. If you have it, bring it.

Have a solid contract in place

Hopefully you won’t have to fall back on the contract but cover yourself in every situation in case you do.

Bring everything you could possibly need

I have chronic migraines, so you better believe i come armed with medicine. Allergy pills, OTC painkillers, band-aids, knife, and a good black pen. That’s my checklist for wedding days, because i’ve used every one of them at a wedding.

Don’t miss the key shots

The groom seeing her for the first time, her dad walking her down the aisle, the handoff to the groom. Definitely don’t miss the cake smash to the face!

Don’t forget to have fun, and dance until the sunrises.

Isaac & Macie McMahan

Truly the sweetest wedding i’ve captured. So simple and elegant. These two are meant to be together and you can feel it when you look at the photos. Good luck on your newlywed adventure and thank you again for choosing me!!

6/13/2020

The Fiery Gizzard Trail. One of the prettiest places i’ve been hiking at in TN. unfortunately a bridge was out so i wasn’t able to get the photos that i wanted to, but it ended up being worthwhile for the photos.

I have a few frames show on a Pentax 645 medium format film camera, but they may have been too dark. I’ll have to make another post with those photos as well!