Today’s post is part one of a three part series, courtesy Darbi G. of Darbi G. Photography of Columbia, Missouri. Darbi is a recent destination wedding bride in addition to being a wedding photographer herself. This gives her a very unique perspective on planning your wedding for spectacular photography. You can find her blog here.
Because we planned the day so that we weren’t rushed for pictures, we now have the most amazing memories captured for forever. And when it comes to weddings, “forever” is a good word.
So anyway, having several weeks to simmer, I can look back on the wedding, and the year before the BIG DAY, and share with brides-to-be some tips. Not only from the perspective of a bride. But from the standpoint of someone who has been to many weddings – as a guest or as a photographer.
I don’t claim to be an expert. But I can claim having not one complaint about how our own wedding and our own wedding photographs turned out. You expect, and deserve, great images from your wedding day. But some of the “burden” of getting the best images possible falls in your lap.
So read on to learn how YOU can set the scene. And get your photographer even more excited to shoot your wedding.
1. Location, location, location.
Location sets the mood, location maintains the mood, and location impacts memories. Location ALSO affects your photographs. Most churches aren’t sources of fabulous lighting. But you have tons of control over where you choose to have your reception. One of the best decisions I made was to find a venue that had floor to almost-ceiling windows. That meant that there was good lighting up until the time to dance. PERFECT for photos. AND perfect for me, the bride, to take in all the faces of those I love who were around me…and to see that all the hard work I put into the reception details paid off.
2. Be aware of sunset hours. And plan accordingly.
Because good photography revolves around good lighting, sunset times are crucial to know. After you choose your date, look up what time the sun will go down here. The two hours prior to sunset are what we photographers call “the golden hours.” Why? Because the lighting is perfect and soft. GOLDEN. So now that you know what time the sun sets…what to do then?
Well…if you’re not seeing your honey before you walk down the aisle, and you want to get stellar pictures of just the two of you…and pictures of the entire wedding party doing something fun and cool outside, schedule the ceremony so that you still have at least 1.5 hours of sunlight to play with. If you’re doing a receiving line after the ceremony, don’t start counting that 1.5 hours until that is finished. Receiving lines typically last 30-45 minutes (Even if you swear you’re going to get through yours in 15 minutes, it just doesn’t work.)
On that same token, if you’re having an outdoor wedding without shade, steer clear from ceremonies that take place when the sun is directly overhead. First of all, it might be hot for your guests (assuming it’s during late spring/summer months). Secondly, direct sun causes harsh shadows and washes faces out. So instead, aim for that time in the afternoon when the sun has started going down in the horizon. Sun coming in at an angle makes everything look better. To guests…and to your eyes when you look at pictures later.
3. Your photographs should be a priority. Therefore, whom you choose for a photographer should not be a light-hearted decision. Weeks or months after the wedding, when the buzz has worn off, you will have your photos to look at and relive the best day of your life. If you don’t have good images, you’ll be upset. You might even cry. And you might be filled with that deep sense of regret because you cannot go back in time to get those coveted images with your best girl friends, or with your husband, or he with his friends, etc. It’s done and over with.
But if you go into the wedding planning with a timeline that takes into account the photography, you’ll be so happy. On the day of, and for all the years to follow.
Here is a timeline based on how long “events” typically take on the day of the wedding. This is based on the bride and groom not seeing each other until the ceremony. (Don’t forget to allow for the time it takes to get from event to event and place to place….) If it looks like there is too much time designated for something, that’s a good thing. Everything always takes longer than planned.
2-3 hours: girls at salon or wherever to do their hair and makeup
2.5 hours: girls putting on dresses/finishing touches (guys getting ready during this time)
35 minutes: group girl shots
35 minutes: group guy shots
35 minutes: any other shots that would be easier to take before the ceremony
30 minutes: all bridal party members should have this time to chill while ceremony guests are being seated
30 minutes-1 hour: Ceremony
45 minutes: receiving line
30 minutes: formal pictures with family (for 15 groups)
1-1.5 hours: wedding party pics and bride & Groom shots. (if you choose a location that is close to the reception or the ceremony site, that works perfectly!!!)
And then it’s reception time. Tips for THAT will be in the next post – be sure to check back tomorrow for more details on planning for your wedding photography!
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