Secrets of Wedding Photographers
Wedding photographers are by your side
nearly every moment of your wedding day. They’re snapping away at your most
intimate moments: your first glance at the person you plan to be with forever,
your smile as you’re finally wed, and your initial step onto that dance floor.
But how much do you really know about how they work—and why they’re so
THEY WISH YOU’D ASK FOR THEIR HELP.
Many times, the bride and groom assume the
photographers just need 15 minutes for family photos, she says. But those
family photos could easily take 30 minutes, because a family member is always
missing. “We need to make sure we have enough time, and that we’re not rushed
THEY ALSO WISH YOU ACTUALLY ASKED ABOUT
Her perfect question: “How do you deal with
XX situation?” Ho explains that since every wedding is unique, you need to find
a photographer that’s perfect for you—and asking about experience will help you
make that decision. It will also help you understand the reason you’re hiring a
professional wedding photographer, rather than someone who just dabbles in
photography, for your big day.
AND ABOUT THEIR STYLE.
says couples always ask about his price and
his availability. But he loves it when the conversation turns to his overall
style and approach, and they get to know him as an artist. “Then we can
understand if we’re a good match,” says. “Not a lot of clients go there, and I
wish more clients would ask me about my approach.”
FEEL FREE TO ASK WHY THEY CHARGE AS MUCH AS
Sure, wedding photographers may charge a
few thousand dollars for what seems like eight hours of work. But they also met
with you countless times before the wedding. And do you realize how many times
you emailed? Then there’s the editing process. Those photographers put many
more hours of work into those pictures than you ever imagined. Also, that
camera equipment wasn’t free (and it needs to be upgraded every couple of
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR
WEDDING VENUE | FROM A PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE
For most couples, choosing their wedding
venue is the FIRST thing they do after deciding on a date for their wedding.
This makes total sense! Before you can begin envisioning your wedding day, you
have to know where it’s going to take place! While there are tons of factors
that affect what kind of venue you choose – guest count, accessibility, local
things to do nearby, budget, if you can bring in outside caterers, the getting
ready space or indoor & outdoor options, not to mention your vision and the
desired vibe for your wedding day – and so much more! The purpose of today’s
blog post is to share a few additional things to consider when choosing your
wedding venue – from a photographer’s perspective! I’m going to walk you through
each portion of a wedding day and discuss how the venue affects lighting and
space, and ultimately, your photos of the day!
What to Consider with the Getting Ready
If you are hoping to get ready at your
wedding venue (instead of at an outside location like your home or a hotel
room), then you’ll need to make sure the venue has a getting ready space you
can envision yourself and your bridal party in. Take into account the size of
your bridal party vs the size of the room. You definitely don’t want a cramped
space with hair and make up artists trying to get around, too. If the bride and
groom’s rooms are in the same building, you’ll need to exercise a LOT more
caution when moving around to make sure you don’t see each other. It’s much
easier when the bride and groom have their own separate buildings to get ready
offers completely separate buildings for
the bride, the groom, the ceremony site, cocktail hour, and the reception! This
is ideal! They are spread out throughout their property – so much so that they
have golf carts on site to carry people up and down the hill. So there is no
need to worry about your groom accidentally seeing you too soon. It also means
that the stress of setting up the ceremony space or reception room will be so
far away, you won’t hear about any of it and you can relax!
Next, in order to create the well-lit,
natural-looking photos you dream of, then I highly recommend getting ready in a
room with a lot of WINDOW light. If the venue’s getting ready space is small
and without any windows or access to natural light, then you might want to
consider getting ready at a different location.
A photographer’s hack: What I have also
done before when the getting ready space is a little less than ideal is stage
the dress zip-up in a better location! We can move you to another area at the
venue with better lighting and/or space and re-enact the “zipping up” and
bridal portraits. This is what we did for my bride Jacqueline and her bridal
Things Your Wedding Photographer Wants You
Know your own taste.
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not the
photographer for everyone. Shocker, I know. Every photographer has their style,
I included, and I don’t alter it from client to client. I know what I like, I
know where my gifts lie, and I take care to ensure my portfolio shows you the
best of the best of my work. Do you like light and airy? Black and white? Dark
and moody? Somewhere in between? Do you prefer candid or posed images? These
things matter. Be sure you are a huge fan of the work of the photographer you
choose because it’s too late to decide you don’t like the images they create on
your wedding day, and especially once they’ve delivered your gallery. Remember,
it doesn’t mean you dislike them as a person. It just means their work might
not be a great fit for you, and that’s okay.
Your photographer should be one of the
first vendors you book.
I’m sure you’ve had hundreds of people tell
you your day is going to be over in the blink of an eye – they aren’t wrong –
but what many of them don’t know is that photography is a big factor into your
wedding day timeline. It affects everything from makeup to cocktail hour to
getting ready to family portraits. Why? Well, if you want all of those things
documented, I need to know exactly when and where they’re happening and ensure
I have plenty of time to photograph them all. Operating without a wedding day
timeline, or even worse, not working with your photographer at all, causes
unnecessary stress for everyone, especially you. It’s important that we go over
your photography hopes and dreams, and any extra special wedding day plans you
have, so I can help you create your perfect wedding day timeline. And, I’ll
help you stick to it.
Unplug your wedding.
Trying to create the best images from your
wedding day becomes more difficult when I have five guests either shooting over
my shoulder or edging into the frame just to get their very own image of your
wedding day. It’s even more complicated when you begin your walk down the aisle
to the view of iPhones and iPads in your face. When you’ve dreamed of your
wedding day, what do you want to remember most – the people at your wedding, or
images of their phones in front of their faces? (Read more about why to unplug
your wedding here.)
Give me the family photo list, but remember
– I got this.
I know you are dying to send me every
incredible Pinterest image and shot list you’ve found, but I don’t need it.
Your wedding, your day is unique to you, and you hired me for my style and
experience – not to see how well I can re-create another photographer’s vision.
I promise we will create images you will cherish for years to come.
Food is Good.
I need a meal. A hot meal. Not a
stuck-in-the-kitchen-handed-a-bag-of-chips-and-a-cold-sandwich meal. I eat what
your guests eat, and I eat when your guests eat. I know what you’re thinking,
“But, you could be taking pictures during that time!” Well, I could, but I
shouldn’t be. Your guests don’t want pictures of them eating any more than you
do, so by using the time when you’re guests are enjoying the delicious meal you
suggested to enjoy said meal myself, I am better able to jump back into
documenting your day when I’ve finished! (Trust me, you don’t want a hangry
Ask The Photographers: Do You Need To Visit
My Wedding Venue Beforehand?
We know that when it comes to booking your
wedding photographer you’ll often have lots of questions, and one of the most
frequent ones that we hear is “Do you need to visit my wedding venue
beforehand?”. Well, we asked that exact question to our members, and what
follows is 35 different photographers’ viewpoints and opinions on whether it’s
necessary or not, from all over the world – a really interesting and
“I can understand that a couple might get
some comfort from their photographer either having shot at their venue before,
or (if they haven’t shot there before) from their photographer visiting it
before the wedding. Like many photographers, though, while I once also liked
that comfort of knowing what was ahead of me, now I actually love getting to
new venues for the first time, and almost never do a pre-wedding scout. The
reasons are twofold
Firstly the practical reason. I can quite
easily now do a “virtual scout” – venue websites are usually good for
showcasing their best bits, google “<venue> wedding photo” will spit out
more photos of weddings from a venue than I’ll want to look at, and even Google
Maps on satellite view allows me to get the lay of the land if there are grounds
that I might hope to use. That’s all useful where I may have a logistical
concern about the venue – will there be a good location for family photos; what
is the light like in the ceremony room; is it practical for the couple to get
from the ceremony space to the gardens without needing to go via the drinks
reception (and if not, how will that impact the timings). Much of that is also
addressed by a quick phone call to the wedding coordinator at the venue too, of
course. So for the practical stuff (which usually drives the concerns the
couple may have if a venue is new to their photographer) you can figure out
most things without a visit.
All of that, though, is secondary to the
far more important reason – the creative one. I relish photographing a new
venue because it’s a new creative experience for me. The novelty of a new venue
ALWAYS trumps the familiarity of one I’ve shot at many times. It helps me see
the wedding day differently to how I’ve seen other days, but also to how other
photographers have seen weddings at that venue before me. I have a thought I
express to couples when I might get asked to take a photo like one they’ve seen
at their venue, for instance. “We can get that photo, but rather than get you
other people’s wedding photos, wouldn’t it be better to get you your own
wedding photos?”. And no better way for me to do that than to be seeing a new
venue with fresh eyes and finding light and compositions that fit my style.
Finally of course – in the context of
documentary photography in particular – the venue is what it is. Similar to the
ceremony space, the bride’s family home, or any other location that might be in
play on the day. A good photographer will get you good photographs in any
location. And if you truly want documentary photographs of your day you really
don’t want your photographer arriving with a preconceived set of shots in his
or her head based on a previous wedding or a scouting visit where the light was
different and the space wasn’t filled with you and your guests.”
Things Photographers Wished All Clients
This post was inspired by one of my
favorite Podcasts, Young House Love, a show all about home renovation, on which
they did an episode called “This is How You’re Annoying Your Contractor”,
interviewing general contractors who gave funny, enlightening, and – despite
the somewhat negative connotation of the episode title – actually really
helpful insight to make projects go more smoothly.
I asked real photographers in multiple
professional circles for their input, and added my own thoughts and feelings on
the topics as well. In this article,
you’re going to hear me speak very candidly about things that can help your
relationship with your photographer go more smoothly (if that’s with me, then
Yay! Win for both of us!…but if it’s with someone else, I hope I make a
positive impact no matter where you go!).
I hesitated even writing this post,
because, well, frankly, who wants to admit to their potential clients that
sometimes things aren’t just sunshine and rainbows all the time?
It’s tempting to keep this kind of “behind
the scenes” information as our own photographer-water-cooler talk. But then I
checked myself and realized that if you’re my type of couple, then you don’t
need a bull-honky fantasy story that pretends that everything is always
Once you find a photographer you trust,
trust them. They want you to be happy.
This came from several photographers who
iterated some version of