Before you even start thinking about what you'll do on the actual wedding day, there are several steps you'll need to complete to make sure the day runs without a hitch.
Meeting your photographer face-to-face before your wedding day is essential. Last thing you would want is a complete stranger taking your photos all day. The consultation is also a great chance to go into detail about your wedding day plans and timings. and share your expectations and desires for your wedding photography.
Going with the couple to look around their ceremony and reception venue before the wedding day is an excellent idea. Firstly, it will familiarise you with where the actual location is. Secondly, you can double check which entrances are being used by the bride on the day. Many churches have two entrances and you really don’t want to be waiting for the bridal car next to the wrong one! The lighting will change for the wedding itself, but you can still get a good idea whether their venue is particularly dark, and for spots that you might want to use during the wedding for the most discreet positioning.
During the visit you can also get some ideas of where would be good to do group shots and any more private areas which would be nice for the bride and groom portraits. It’s a good plan to think about two or three different areas as a lot will depend on the light on the day. You won’t want to shoot in the same location if there is direct sunlight beaming onto the guests and making them squint at the camera, so try to plan a few different options. Familiarise yourself with all the locations so you don’t get lost on the day. Double check exactly where the car will drop off the bride before the ceremony Think about where you might want to stand during the ceremony. Scout out a few possible locations for group shots and bride and groom portraits.
A lot of people are very shy. It can be intimidating to be asked to pose or even look natural in front of the camera. An engagement session is the perfect ice breaker! It's a chance for you to get to know your photographer a little better so you'll be more relaxed having your photos taken on your wedding day.
During an engagement shoot you can use the experience to encourage the couple that they do look good, that the posing is working and have some fun building up the rapport, so that on the wedding day itself they feel a lot more comfortable about having the camera pointed you.
Engagement shoots can take place anywhere but are often most successful when the location which reflects your personalities or holds a special memory. With timings being much more relaxed than that of the wedding day some couples chose to do a more stylised shoot such as a picnic with balloons. For more information on the engagement shoot take a look here.
Back Up Plans
Obviously it should go without saying that a wedding day is one of the most important days of a person’s life, so unless it’s a life or death situation then I would always bend over backwards to make sure I am there, even if I am very poorly. If I were ever unable to photograph a wedding I have a list of personally selected professional photographers I wholeheartedly trust to do a good job in my absence.
No matter how well a wedding is planned there is one thing nobody can plan for - the Great British weather! Fear not, photographing a wedding without a back up plan is not something I'd ever consider.
either somewhere else you can shoot indoors or under cover, or plans that you will reschedule until a dry day.
Having back up equipment and spare batteries is another essential. Along with a few extras such a needle and cotton which prove a real lifesaver when needed. Take a look what's in my camera bag.
If you have any a story to tell about working with a photographer without a contract share for others to read in the comments below.