Every wedding is unique, hence we do not have a 'general photography formula' to apply to all weddings. However, many weddings share some common core aspects. While the details of each of these "phases of the wedding day" will surely vary, some core properties will remain the same. We wrote this section with the hope that this will provide some helpful information about how a typical wedding day flows from a photographer's perspective. We also hope this will help you by proving some food for though when it comes to the key photography elements from a wedding day. Here are some of the core photography elements of a typical wedding day:
- Getting ready
- First look
- Family portraits
- The reception & Party
- Night portraits
Photographing the bride and groom's getting ready is definitely one of our favorite segments of the wedding day. We typically start our day by meeting the bride when she is getting her hair and makeup done. Once we meet the family members and the bridesmaids, we move on to photographing the details. This includes photographing the wedding rings, shoes, jewelry and other items of importance for the bride-groom. During our pre-wedding call, we discuss with the bride at length all the details that should be photographed. Once we're done photographing the details, one of us moves on to where the groom is getting ready. As a team of two photographers, we have the flexibility of covering both the bride and groom getting ready simultaneously. The getting ready portion of the day tends to be one the lesses stressful side of things; hence there's a lot of candids and tender moments to photograph. the mother putting on the veil, or the sister helping with the shoes are just some of the few tender and beautiful moments. The getting ready porting is also an ideal time for us to meet "key members" of the family.
Depending on your preference, this may or may not be applicable for you. Often times we get asked the question if couples should include a first look. The answer really is up to you. If you have always wanted to keep the surprise and see one another as you walk down the aisle, then we obviously wouldn't suggest a first look. Doing the first look, however, does have some advantages, at least from a photography standpoint. It allows us to capture some couple portraits when things haven't gotten hectic yet. Depending on the timeline, the first look also allows us some time to do the family portraits and bridal party portraits. Since there is no restriction on the bride and groom being in the same frame, we can get a lot of the group photos done before the ceremony begins. Another advantageous the first look and follow-on session is that it allows the couple to enjoy more of the cocktail hour. Otherwise, we have to rely on the time during the cocktail hour to get most of the portraits done.
While we are nontraditional in our style, we do understand the importance of good old group portraits. the one suggestion we have regarding family portraits, is to have a well-thought-out list handy. This is also something we covered during the pre-wedding consultation call. You may want to think about all the different combinations and sets of photos and not just a list of names. Having the coordinator help out or even a member of the family to essentially gather and manage the flow of photos can be quite efficient.
We get in our full-blown photojournalist, documentary photography mode when it comes to the ceremony. After all, there is nothing to stage, just beautiful natural moments to cherish and capture. Once again, I have to underscore the benefit of having two photographers, as this allows us to frame the same slice of moment from two different angles and perspectives. Often one of us will stand back and use a longer lens to capture the expressions while the other one will use a wider lens to capture the wider scene. These working dynamic allows us to make the most of the very limited and super precious ceremony time.
Cocktail Hour, Reception & Party
How we use the cocktail hour goes back to the first look. If you plan to have a first look, then we may not have to take a lot of time during the cocktail hour for portraits. We can use the time to capture more candid moments of guests as well as detail shots of the reception area. If, on the other hand, you don't plan to have a first look, then we need to utilize the cocktail hour time to squeeze in quite a few portraits, As we have you together to do the bridal party and family portraits. Whichever the case may be, we do want to make sure we have at least 15 to 20 minutes in hand to set up before the reception starts. This allows us to set up the lights and position ourselves to captured bridal party and bride-groom entrances.
Once the reception gets underway, the shooting sequence usually becomes very we defined. Speeches, first dance, parent dances, and dances in general keep us busy!
When it comes to creative couple portraits, we definitely have a soft spot for night photography. Playing with off-camera flash, colored gels and slow shutter can be quite rewarding, and help us create few images that can hopefully set us apart from your typical wedding photographer. This is something we can discuss at length during the pre-wedding consultation session. The idea is to squeeze in 10-15 minutes from within the relatively tight schedule of the reception. We try to make sure to coordinated this carefully so that we use every second of this limited time. Normally, we keep a pulse check on the proceedings during reception, and will reach out to the bride/coordinator, assuming she is okay with it, to see check she is up for some night portraits. Before we take the bride or groom out though, we make sure to set up lights and find out the exact location to minimize any waiting time on the couple's part.