‘Wedding photographer’…..if I ever mention this word to people who ask me what I do they either shudder in fear or smile – usually with a first hand experience to go with either reaction. Unfortunately over half have had the ‘shudder’ reaction – not the best for my line of work!
After their initial reaction, and without prompting, I’m then told about how a photographer took over 1 hour just on the group shots at a wedding and then had another hour with the couple – by this time everyone was starving, getting too drunk and just wanted to sit down. Not to mention the wedding venue were not too happy with them!
I do wonder why some photographers need to take so long getting those more formal group shots? (I mean when would all the natural shots take place?!) Unless the list is 30 shots long I cannot see the any reason. When I meet a couple who’s wedding I’m shooting we usually sit down at the pre-wedding shoot and run through the day – especially the timings. Timings are so important for a number of factors: 1. you need to make sure the bride arrives at the venue of marriage on time 2. There are other people working to the same timings – ie. make-up, the venues, cars etc. 3. You cannot be late for a wedding breakfast! – guests not to mention the couple will be hungry.
In my eyes a photographer should look to guide your day not control it, but making sure everything is running to time is part of their job. The couple need to be able to relax and enjoy their day – it’s up to me and my second photographer to take on any stresses of the day and liaise with the venues so their wedding is as perfect as it can be.
Going back to my meeting with my couple…..Once we have established timings of when they are getting married, the wedding breakfast, speeches, first dance and any other important time within the day I’ll then run through the formal group shots. I would recommend a maximum of 15 shots, which takes us around 20 to 25 minutes to complete ending with a big group shot. This then enables us to keep the interest of the guests but also avoids everyone standing around for a long period of time.
We also add that special touch of asking for all the names of the people who are needed for each shot that why the whole experience as a personal one for all involved. Instead of calling for the ‘mother of the bride’ I’ll call for ‘Pam’ for example (should she be happy for me to call her by her first name of course) – throughout the day we build a relationship with both sets of parents making the group shots even more special.
Once the group shots have been completed we would then move onto the couple shots making sure there is still enough time before the wedding breakfast for the couple to fresh up before their big entrance.
This has worked so well for us at weddings, therefore I wanted to give couples looking for a photographer ‘food for thought’ but also enabling them to ask questions regarding types of shots and timings before they commit.
I’ve also been told from a couple who’s wedding I had the pleasure is shooting – they had attended a friends wedding where a husband and wife team used whistles to gather up guests for the group shots! …..but that’s for another post!
Should anyone have any questions please do email me – Enjoy your weekend