A Photo Guide for Prioritizing
Organization is key
I usually like to have family portraits immediately after the ceremony, just so we can dismiss everybody to cocktail afterwards.
Keep it Short
I recommend keeping that list short (less than 10 groups is great). You two are in every shot, and you'll be sick of smiling for that many shots.
I recommend assigning a bridesmaid or groomsman to gather your family members. This speeds up the process since I don't know what anyone looks like.
Getting ready is one of my favorite times to shoot. It's fun, there's a lot of excitement, and often lots of emotion. The morning is also when I have the most "unscheduled" time, so it allows me to be creative, move around, observe a lot, and plan shots well.
Keep Clutter Away
There's definitely a lot going on, so try to keep bags, suitcases, laundry, etc. in a different room or in a closet.
Natural light is the best! I prefer to turn all the lights off and rely only on natural light coming in from a window whenever possible!
Typical hotel rooms aren't the best for light or decor. I recommend other options, like a cute Airbnb. There are tons of affordable options out there!
Don't Forget the Groom
Sometimes the groom gets the dark tiny room. Let's give him the same treatment as the bride!
It's not always true that "the makeup looks heavy in person but it will look better on camera". I use natural light and my style reflects more truly what is there, so I recommend that if you want to look like yourself, don't overdo it. This is entirely personal preference though, so just do you!
When the family portrait list is longer, it takes time away from your free mingling time, and it gives me less time for candids and details. Just keep that in mind and prioritize what you prefer.
Put the Sun behind you
For an outdoor ceremony, especially in direct sunlight, it's best to place the sun behind your officiant for even backlight. Otherwise, you'll be squinting in your ceremony shots, or end up with very harshly / unevenly lit photos.
Microphones are fine, but the big black mic stand is fairly distracting. If possible, have your officiant use a hand-held mic.
Unless you have a really small wedding, I recommend against receiving lines. They can get repetitive and take a really long time!
I recommend 3 times slots for couple photos:
Pre - Ceremony
If we do a "First Look", this will be the shortest time slot for portraits. About 15 minutes for this is great.
Post - Ceremony
Right after you walk down the aisle, the energy is the happiest! Another quick 15 min here is good.
Sunset + Twilight
Most of my couples tell me this was their favorite part of the day: sneaking away to have time to take it all in. It also happens to be the best light of day! 30 min is ideal.
Market lights and candlelight set a gorgeous, romantic mood. Just make sure you use enough so I don't have to use flash.
Colorful lights can be fun for party time, but they're not so great for first dance or parent dances. If your DJ has these, I recommend that he keeps them off for those moments.
Time for Details
If you have lots of details (table settings, centerpieces, etc.) please allow 20-30 min for me to shoot these before the guests enter the reception area.
If possible, I prefer to be considered a guest, not a "vendor", for timing purposes. This guarantees that I'll get to eat when guests do, so I can be free to shoot the toasts/dances that happen after.
That's a wrap!
I'm here to help with all of this anytime,
just email me!