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Have a More Productive Wedding Day

“Against the wedding day clock”

(The following are only tips to consider)

On your wedding day, I am there for one reason only. Actually maybe two. First is to create a unique vision of your day.

The second is to stay out of the way of the day and let it evolve in it’s own special way as they all do and to not make it “My” day. But the first and for most reason is to create as many good and interesting images that present themselves to me and also ones that I can nudge your way.

To do this I will need some “reasonable time” that still flows easily into your day. What we don’t want is to just waste photographic time. Having been at probably more weddings than all your guest put together, I have seen the areas where photographic time gets lost.

The following are just my thoughts and observations of where to “gain” time and still not break the flow.

The secret to this is just time. I shoot very fast because I know exactly what I’m wanting to do but I need some time to make that happen. The actual average of the time I usually get to make that happen is 15 minutes.

Everything else on that day has a schedule attached to it.

The girls arrive at the church at noon.

The guys arrive at 12:30.

Like you walk down the isle at 2pm.

Your introduced at the reception at 5:30 for example.


The two things that hardly ever have a (time to do) attached to it is the family group shots after the ceremony and the fun outdoor shots at another location between the wedding and reception.

The two things that hardly ever have a (time to do) attached to it is the family group shots after the ceremony and the fun outdoor shots at another location between the wedding and reception. Those two things are normally left to just when everyone gets back together to do them. Everything else everyone knows where to be at what time and what for.

So many times ….Too many times….. by the time everyone gets back in the church and then decides on who to be in what shots and that gets done the clock reads 1/2 hr before your to be introduced at the reception and that venue is 15 minutes away. That leaves us with 15 minutes to get to some nice location so everything hasn’t just been taken at the church and get some shots and then get to the reception.

Once your at the reception a scheduled clock starts again and it’s hard if not impossible to get you guys back out even if there is something around that venue to use. What goes through a photographers mind is hopefully they were hired because of the images the client saw on their web site and we want to do the same for you and then they see they only have 15 minutes to pull that off and hope that 3 or 4 weeks later they remember that we only had a few minutes. If we can get to a good location I can pull it off in 15 minutes as long as everyone stays with me but could really make it so much better and have more variety if I just had at least half that much more time.

Here are the two things that eat into that time:

* The family and formal shots after the ceremony because people are wandering around and not knowing they are supposed to be back in the church for these shots. I can shoot as many shots as it takes no matter how large the families are and the formal wedding shots in 20 minutes if everyone involved is back in the church and someone who knows who is supposed to be in each family shot calls them up. That can occur only if there has been a list made beforehand on who is to be in each shot and those people know that. Then someone who pretty much knows them can call them up. I will not know any of them so telling me to shoot your brothers side of the family does no good because I won’t know who they are. This is one part of the wedding day where you guys are in charge.

* The other very big time eater is a “RECEIVING LINE “. Those can take 45 minutes and are only worth 2 shots because after that there is always someone standing in front of you. Plus your going to be seeing them all anyway at the reception and by walking around to the tables creates many photo pops. It is so important for the guest to not have access to you guys until the reception. I have stood and watch 20 minutes go by waiting for the bride to get back in the church because every few steps she took someone would stop her and hug her and have a conversation. All that stuff is supposed to happen but just not then. The sooner we get done the sooner and more time you have to visit and party with your guest and for all to have a good time.

Even at my own daughters wedding where I played two roles as the father of the bride and the photographer I only got 15 minutes to do her with her husband and wedding party at a different location before the reception and dinner having to be served. They dismissed the rows which was good and goes pretty quick but then somehow some of the family started another receiving line at the back of the church which in essence created like 2 greeting lines…the dismissing of the rows and the line. It took 1 whole hr out of the day and even then with my 15 minutes we were 30 minutes late to the reception and had to pay the limo driver extra and fortunately he didn’t have another job to get to and gave us the extra time.

So just try and have that in mind especially if your not seeing each other before the ceremony because if your not the only shots of you two together can’t happen till all the above has been done and that’s usually 4 to 5 hours into the day….Thanks


( The Reception )

Here is where your DJ can make your reception run smooth and everyone will remember and talk about it. The secret to this is not let too much time go by between the events you have planned.

I have been to so many receptions where I see guest leaving that will not have seen you throw your bouquet or other events. It’s not that we want to get dome early because I have nothing planned that day or evening except your wedding anyway. You want your guest to enjoy themselves as well and be around when the party starts and talk about your wedding after wards because they had a good time. I’m not saying to walk into the reception and cut the cake with one hand while throwing your flowers in the other while dancing at the same time…..but after dinner,your first dances that are planned and maybe 3 songs for anyone to join in and then get to those events is a smooth click click flow that everyone gets to experience. There more you get up and walk around the more photo opportunities exist.

( Light )

I have very fast expensive lenses and they don’t need much light but they do need some.

If you are planning your wedding in late October,be aware of the time change because it will be dark at 4:30.  Many venues turn the lights down way low to make it look romantic when you walk in. They want to impress you and that’s all cool. But I gotta have some light or use flash for all of them and that can get boring using all flash shots. A little flash to balance with existing light can be good. But when you have to depend on a flash to create the whole image then the backgrounds can go black. Especially if during your first dances planned we can just have the light level up a little bit then your dance shots can be very cool. So if the lights are too low I will ask you first if it’s ok to have them turned up a little just for awhile.

As you can see, my mind is going to be on creating cool images for you while staying out of your way at the same time. After midnight all the food,music,flowers are all gone and the only thing left to show what happened are the images that were taken of your day.

That will be my focus. But above all other things that will make the shots great is if you have the best time of your life….It shows in the shots and shows if you don’t.

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