Before we get to the good stuff, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for choosing me as your photographer!
I’ve put together this guide to help with the planning process to get the best possible photographs on the day.
The two most important things that go into creating beautiful wedding photographs is a great timeline and great light.
This guide should assist you in with the planning your wedding day.
YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS
It’s super simple! To secure your date, I’ll email over a booking contract & details on how to pay your deposit. Once recieved you’re all locked in. The final balance is due a month prior, easy.
02. 1 month out
I’ll resend your invoice for final payment. I’ll also send a questionnaire to fill out. This will help me prepare based on how the day’s events, locations and details are set to unfold.
03. Week of
I’ll confirm the details from your questionnaire, making sure there have been no significant changes. I’ll also be able to answer any last questions you might have about logistics on the day.
04. Day of
Time to celebrate! The day of your wedding is here! I’ll follow your timeline as the day goes on, & document all the wonderful events that come to pass.
05. Image Delivery
After your wedding, the editing process begins. Your gallery will be ready within 6 weeks. You’ll be able to view your images online & download high-resolution photographs immediately. I will also send you the collection on a USB drive for you safekeeping and backup purposes.
06. Albums & Prints
If you’ve arranged a custom fine art book through me, you’ll be able to select album choices from your online gallery. Once received, I’ll start on the album design and upload a draft for you to view online and request changes. After you’ve signed off on the final edit, I will place the order. Your album will arrive in approximately five weeks.
Building the timeline
Creating a timeline of your wedding day will help guide your planning and ensure a smooth flow of beautifully captured memories. Here are a few key “events” to consider, as well as a recommended time allotment for photographing each one.
GETTING READY : GROOM PREP : APPROX 30 MINUTES
Some grooms prefer not to be photographed at this stage of the day for location reasons or otherwise. Please feel free to do whatever feels best for you.
GETTING READY : BRIDE PREP : APPROX 1.5 HOURS TO 2 HOURS
I like to arrive at the bride’s prep location just as she’s finishing her hair/makeup—that way, we can get a few photographs of the final touches. Once that’s done, we’ll document any meaningful accessories, so remember to gather everything so that they’re ready for me to photograph when I first start (stationery, jewelry, flowers and any family heirlooms you are incorporating into the day).
THE CEREMONY : APPROX 20 MINUTES TO 1 HOUR
Ceremony length varies. A short and sweet ceremony might last 20 minutes; a church service more like 30-45. Whichever you choose, allow extra time to greet guests afterward for hugs and congratulations (about half an hour) unless you plan for a quick exit.
FAMILY & WEDDING PARTY PORTRAITS : 15 MINUTES TO 30 MINUTES
The amount of time devoted to family and the wedding party portraits can vary widely, too, depending on size and family/group combinations. I recommend keeping the different combinations to a minimum—any more than 10 can start to eat into the time allotted to couple portraits. Another option is to do all formal photographs prior to the ceremony.
COUPLE PORTRAITS : 30 MINUTES TO 1 HOUR
Timing depends on how many locations you’d like to visit (around 30 minutes per location is ideal). Consider how much time you’re willing to spend away from your guests—some couples prefer to keep personal portraits to a minimum so they can be with friends and family post-ceremony. Another popular option is to do the couple portraits prior to the ceremony so you can spend the entire time after the reception with your guests. If you want to photograph at multiple locations, I’ll factor in extra time for travelling and parking to your timeline.
THE RECEPTION : 2 TO 6 HOURS
Every wedding reception is unique and really depends on what matters to you. Your first dance, cake cutting, dancing, friends and family sharing your joy. Generally my full day package allows for me to stay until the dance floor gets moving.
5 hour package SAMPLE TIMELINE
// Summer Wedding. Ceremony & Reception at the same venue. Cocktail hour with your guests//
3:15pm – Photography coverage begins
3.30pm – Guests seated for ceremony
3.45pm – Ceremony starts
4:15pm – Ceremony ends (hugs and congratulations)
4:30pm – Formal family & wedding party photos
5:00pm – Couple join guests for cocktail hour
5:00pm – Couple cut cake which is served to guests
5.45pm – Couple sneak out for photos in pretty light
6:15pm – Guests seated for reception
6:30pm – Reception starts
8.15am – Photography coverage ends
8 hour package SAMPLE TIMELINE
// Summer Wedding. Ceremony & Reception at the same venue //
2.00pm – Photography coverage begins
2:15pm – Brides hair & makeup complete
2:30pm – Bride into dress & portraits
3.00pm – Photographer travels to ceremony venue
4.00pm – Photographer arrives at ceremony location
4:15pm – Guests seated for ceremony
4:30pm – Ceremony starts
5.00pm – Ceremony ends (hugs and congratulations)
5:15pm – Formal family & wedding party photos
5:45pm – Couple Portraits
6:15pm – Guests seated for reception
6:30pm – Reception starts
8.50pm – Cut the Cake
9.00pm – First Dance
10.00pm – Photography coverage ends
First, decide whether you prefer a natural background (trees, water, etc.) or one that’s more urban (buildings, streets, sidewalks), and then consider what’s practical. If there’s travel between your ceremony and reception, think about what’s near each place and whether theres sites in those areas that you like—it’s always nice to find locations along the way so we lose as little time as possible traveling.
If your ceremony and reception are at the same venue we can make the most of what’s available to us there. Just let me know what you’re drawn to about that particular place, whether it’s the natural beauty or the architecture, and we can work from there. If the location of your choice is a considerable distance from your reception site, you may want to have your your portraits taken before the ceremony.
Getting Ready Location
Consider staying at an Airbnb or boutique hotel the day before and night of your wedding. Choose one that’s located close your ceremony and reception venue. One with lots of windows and natural light to help us create beautiful shots.
Consider how you want your wedding day to unfold. Do you want you and your guests to drive long distances between locations? My top tip is once you’ve decided on the reception venue, try to have your ceremony and getting ready locations all close by.
If it rains
Bring umbrellas and weather appropriate shoes. Don’t worry we’ll still get great photos & often those rain shots end up being everyone’s favourites!
Great pictures come down to the quality of light we have to work with. The best time to shoot, is the final hour before sunset, known as “the golden hour”. The light is warm and soft, and everything looks amazing. I’d prefer 15 minutes of this golden light than one hour in the harsh glare of early afternoon. But if there’s no choice, I’ll do my best to avoid putting you in the sun. However if it’s a cloudy day, then I’ll be a happy photographer. Clouds act like giant soft-boxes over the sun, reducing harsh shadows so that everyone looks awesome.
On the date of your wedding I’ll check the exact sunset time and we should build your timeline back from there. At the height of summer sunset will be around 7.30pm and in the depths of winter around 5.30pm. Your ceremony and reception start times will need to factor in the light we have available to work with at that time of year.
CHOOSING GREAT LOCATIONS
If I’m documenting the getting ready part of your day then I recommend booking a beautiful Airbnb or boutique hotel room to stay in the day before & night of your wedding. One with lots of windows & natural light. A place that is located close to your ceremony & reception venues.
Be mindful that some hotel rooms can be small and dark. Whereas renting an entire home for you to get ready in makes for a more relaxed experience, as there is space for everyone to spread out and there will be more choices in terms of rooms to photograph in (and private homes always have so much more character than hotel rooms). It also gives me a larger variety of light to work with coming in through the windows. Light is the most important part to creating beautiful images, along with a great venue with character, it really has a big impact on the quality of images I can create for you.
If you are choosing to get ready at home I will do my best to work around any clutter and with the light available on the day. You may want to consider decluttering busy areas of your home & moving distracting items into a small room out of the background of your photographs.
If we are shooting at multiple locations we’lll need to factor in extra travel and parking time. I recommend you try and keep everything close together. It’s better to maximise my time photographing your wedding day as opposed to driving around in my car. Also if everyhing is located close together then do you really need a fancy expensive car for the day?
ADDITIONAL TIPS & IDEAS
For the ceremony – reserved signs are commonly put on the first 1-2 rows for family. Normally there are too many chairs allocated which means there are big gaps in the front rows. Consider assigning a name card on each seat. That way you are guaranteed to fill the front row seats and your ceremony photos will not have alot of empty spaces. Great celebrants often ask guests to fill up these empty seats prior to your arrival – but it’s worth checking that they will do this.
Unplugged ceremony – when looking back over your wedding day I’m sure you would love to see your family & friends smiling faces and being 100% in the moment rather than the glow of a hundred iPhones.
For your reception – ensure you have adequate lighting for your first dance, speeches & cutting the cake. Fairy lights, candles, and lanterns look beautiful in photos but you may need extra light for some key events such as speeches.
After your grand entrance – I will take photographs of your guests, couple and group shots depending on how people are mingling and seated. Generally with a sit down reception meal I will stop taking photos once the food is served as guests eating do not make flattering photos. If it’s a cocktail styled reception I will continue to mingle and take photos as the food comes out.
Cocktail style receptions – despite what your catering company suggests, in my experience, there is never enough food circulating the floor resulting in hungry guests. Consider having extra nibbles such as dips, cheese boards, crisps set out and topped up while the wait staff are going back and forth with the canapés supplied by your caterer.
Food truck style receptions – these are becoming more popular, consider having food that is already pre-made such as paella or curries etc. Something that is easy to dish up and serve to your guests. There will be long queues and wait times if there are lots of different food options and the caterer has to prepare a dish for each individual guest at he counter.
BYO receptions – If you are organising your own catering & drinks ensure you have someone on hand to serve your guests. It’s worth spending money on professional staff who will ensure everything remains stocked and clear glasses & plates as the night progresses – which look distracting in photographs.
Speeches – consider asking readers / speakers (including the officiant) to read from paper instead of an ipad or phone. The blue light hitting peoples chins is not that flattering. Reading your wedding vows from paper instead of staring at your phone while you declare your love to each other is not the most romantic.
Sunset time – will vary depnding on the time of year and date of your wedding, ideally I’d like to be shooting your couple portraits during the last hour before sunset.
PRINTING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS
Your photographs will be presented to you in a beautiful online gallery which you can share with family and friends. I also offer a full range of photographic and framed prints which you can order directly from your gallery. These make great additions to your wedding package, not to mention wonderful gifts for parents and loved ones. There’s something special about holding a photograph in your hands as opposed to viewing it on a screen.