We’ve just received a form from the wedding photographer and we’re trying to figure out our priorities in terms of whom he focuses on and when. Of course the bride and groom only want photos of their friends, but we would like the bigger picture with photographs of everyone. They have a video photographer who will most likely focus on on a large group, which is fine. What tips can you give us about how to preserve the glorious wedding day?
–T.O., Falls Church, VA
There are so many sweet spots during the course of the wedding day that capturing everything would take more than one wedding photographer. Having the photographer start with the dressing of the bride by her bridesmaids is a lovely way to begin because the excitement is contagious.
It is highly recommended that the formal photos of the bride and groom with their families and bridal party are taken before traveling to the church.
Why? Forget superstition. There are no statistics revealing that marriages where the groom saw the bride in her bridal gown before she walked up the aisle on her father’s arm are less likely to succeed. Picking the perfect setting for the formal photos is important.
However, it means that the bride has to be dressed two hours before arriving at the church. If the dress is so gorgeous, why not photograph it early on before it is crushed and wilting.
Having the photos of the bride arriving at the house of worship with her father are a prelude to the sweetness of him walking her up the aisle, whether he’s her biological father, brother, or uncle. But hold that shot for a minute because you really want the photographer just inside the church door taking photos of couples and families entering, because those opportunities may not raise again. During the dancing, if the photographer doesn’t know they are not a couple or related, the photo may prove meaningless.
Suggest that your friends and family are photographed one shot at a time entering into the church.
Think of the photos of the ring bearers, who are brothers, as the perfect thank-you present to the parents for arranging such a special element.
The rest of the photographs are pretty standard: reception tables set up with centerpieces and place cards, the bride and groom walking down the aisle and out of the church, the receiving line, toasts, first dance, cutting of the cake, tossing the bouquet. What you want to do is to focus on people from the start, before the subjects become disheveled from too much wine and champagne and the tables look messy with too many glasses, half-eaten rubber chicken, and soiled napkins. You don’t want a lot of shots of couples dancing with the guest of a guest.
One notation you may wish to add is the dress code for the wedding, because you don’t want the photographer arriving in denim jeans when the restaurant where the reception is being held has a jacket and tie dress code.
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Accepting A Compliment