If you’re starting out in wedding photography, then this episode will help you out. If you’ve been shooting weddings already but you’re having trouble figuring out a schedule for the day. Or maybe it feels like your client is dictating a schedule that doesn’t allow any time for those beautiful portraits you always blog.
If any of these things resonates with you, have a listen!
Today I’d like to take you through a few helpful hints when it comes to a smooth wedding day. This all starts with a meeting with you client.
After your clients have booked with you, let them know that you’ll be in touch about a month before their wedding date to set up a quick 15-20 minute meeting. Sometimes people book more than a year out, so this is also a great time to reconnect with your client.
Explain to your clients that the meeting will cover the basics of how photography fits into their wedding day. Chances are, if you’re like me, then your clients are the kind of folks who really value quality wedding photography. In order to deliver on what your portfolio promises, you need to make sure you have the time set aside to make it happen.
You can meet your client in person again, but I prefer to do a video or phone chat right from home. It saves everyone time, and most couples are slammed with errands a month before the wedding.
Once we’re on the call, I create a Google Doc and share it with them, and if there’s a wedding planner, add them in as well. Google Docs are such an easy thing to update and share to ensure all parties always have the most up to date plan on hand. Docs are super easy and handy to access from your phone on the day-of, too.
I’ll include things at the top like the couple’s names, phone numbers and balance due. I’ll include the addresses of all locations we’ll be going to on wedding day, and a couple of extra day-of contact phone numbers.
There are a number of scenarios as far as wedding schedules, but I don’t have time to dig into them all here. Instead, I’ll share the MOST important things to plan for.
Above and beyond all of the things that can go badly, having to chase down family members is the worst. It can significantly throw off the day’s schedule. Missing a family member for formals can really stress out a couple, too. So I always make sure to tell the couple to tell their family when and where to meet the day of for formals. I usually allow 20-30 minutes for this portion.
Couples sometimes ask me if they can send me a shot list. Of course! But then I suggest that on the day of, they have a trusted friend or family member take charge of the list. Why? One, I love shooting candids and there are some great ones in between family poses. Two, I don’t know who anyone is, except for parents in most cases. A trusted relative can easily call out names and get the right people in place. I’ve been suggesting this for over 5 years and it’s one of the best adjustments I made to family formal time.
You’ll also want to find out if there’s going to be a first look or not. If so, I like to suggest to couples that they get all of their formal photos out of the way before the ceremony so they can relax and enjoy themselves after vows. If not, I make sure to stress the importance of allowing enough time for family & bridal party portraits.
One more thing I make sure to do when we’re hashing out details is if there is anything unusual I need to be ready for: a silly skit at speech time, flash mob, or grandma’s accordion solo. All of these things have happened, and being ready for them is only going to help you out.
Bottom line? Being ready by connecting with your clients and communicating clearly will make the day SO much better. You might even find that as a photographer you double as a wedding planner. But that’s a good thing. The better the plan, the smoother the day.