Professional wedding photographers know their stuff. They know how to work with lighting and help people feel comfortable in front of the camera and can multi task like you wouldn’t believe. For the most part, they have it all figured out, and through a lot of practice have learned how things work during weddings.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a little help from you. In fact, the more useful information you can give your wedding photographer before the big day, the more likely it is that things will run smoothly and you’ll receive the best possible photos to include in your album.
Whether you’re still scouting out wedding photographers or have already hired one, this is the most useful information he or she will benefit greatly from knowing.
1. Names and Phone Numbers of Wedding Vendors
The vendors you’ve hired - DJ, wedding planner, caterer, etc. - are kind of like the photographer’s co-workers, even if only for one day. Your photographer will appreciate knowing who he or she will be working closely with, so provide the names and phone numbers of the vendors you find relevant (or ask your photographer). This gives your photographer a point of contact and removes you as a middle man/woman.
2. Dress Code, if Applicable
If you’re having a formal, black-tie kind of wedding, you won’t want your photographer showing up in flip-flops and jeans. And he/she probably won’t want to either - #awkward. Do yourself, and your photographer a big favor, and let him/her know if there is a specific dress code and what attire you prefer he/she wear to your big day.
3. Order of the Service (and if there will be any surprises)
Wedding photographers need to know what is happening and when so that they know where to be and what shots to take. It also helps to know the order of service so that the photographer can be prepared equipment and lighting wise. In the same vein, please let your photographer know if you are planning any surprises, like a choreographed dance with your spouse or wedding party. This will help him/her find the best placement and angles to capture your shining moments.
4. Special Considerations
Are there any special considerations your photographer should know about? This includes things like:
- Mobility Restrictions - any guests in wheelchairs or that have trouble walking/standing
- Impairments - hearing, vision, sensitive to heat or flash lighting
- Family Issues - recent breakups/divorces, family members who don’t get along
- Lighting Plans - any lighting quirks your venue has or you have planned (candles, changing colors, flashes, etc.)
Some of these things might feel quite personal, but the more your photographer knows, the more he/she can prepare and make sure everything goes smoothly. Knowing about any family drama will ensure the recent divorcees aren’t standing next to each other during the group shot. And knowing about mobility restrictions will ensure there are no hindrances, like benches or hills to climb. Any little thing you can think of (even your aunt’s allergies) can help your photographer prepare. Even if the information doesn’t get used, it’s always better to be prepared than have to scramble at the last minute.
5. The Shots You Want/Don’t Want
Of course you trust your photographer to know the best poses and photo ideas, but don’t be afraid to let him/her know which shots you definitely want. If he/she doesn’t know the significance to you, you might miss out on capturing those beautiful moments. Whether it’s a group shot you want to get with the bridal party or the DIY details you put your heart into, let the photographer know.
You’ll also want to let him/her know the photos you definitely don’t want. Maybe you would rather eat paint than have photos of you dancing, but your photographer won’t know that unless you supply that information.
6. Chow Time
Everyone needs to eat, especially the hardworking vendors who’ve been on their feet all day. Unfortunately, many times photographers don’t get to eat until the end of the dinner service, which leaves them very little time to actually enjoy the food and replenish their tired minds and bodies.
The best time to feed your photographer is during the dinner service, along with everyone else. During this time, guests will be waiting for their food to arrive or eating, neither of which make for meaningful or flattering photos.
If it’s absolutely necessary that your photographer wait to have dinner, let him/her know so he/she can pack a snack and make any time adjustments necessary.
7. Face Sheet of Attendees
Bonus info! If you have time, consider supplying your wedding photographer with a face sheet of key attendees photos and names. This will ensure he or she knows who all the important guests are and who they might need to photograph more of. It’s also much more polite to tell Aunt Janet to move a little to the left rather than saying “Hey, you there,” and pointing.
These seven important bits of information will save you and your photographer lots of time and potential stress. You know that old television commercial, “The more you know!” It’s kind of like that when it comes to your wedding photographer. The more he/she knows, the better!
The info listed here is a great place to start and the most important things to pass on to the one who will capture your special day. But be sure and ask your photographer if he/she needs any other information before the big day. Every person and situation is different, so communication is key.
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