So, You’re Looking for a #WeddingPhotographer ? | Part 5
PRE-WEDDING EVENT PLANNING AND COVERAGE
When selecting a wedding photographer and a package, you have options. Those options are largely contingent on your wedding photography budget and time. Below, I’m going to briefly talk about some important pre-wedding day events that you may want a photographer to be included in for either recording or observing for planning purposes.
Talk about a big occasion; when a bride gets to hunt down the wedding dress of her dreams while bonding with her approving family members.
If you like to watch television shows like Say Yes to the Dress, right away you can see the benefit of having a photographer follow you around to one or two stores while dress shopping – preferably one, just one!
Be very careful when booking this with your photographer. Some bridal boutiques absolutely forbid photography in their places of business for copyright reasons, even with an assurance that you’ll be purchasing a dress and/or bridesmaid gowns from that store. The strict measure of security isn’t just for their business but also for the designers who supply them with garments. If you have one or two salons in mind for shopping, call ahead and ask about their photography policy before booking with a photographer.
If having a photographer accompany your entourage is permitted during your salon appointment, keep in mind that the majority of your shots will be candid. Not too many can be posed and taking up the valuable time of sales staff.
Depending on laws in your region, you may or may not have to obtain model releases or unpaid model releases from salon consultants who may or may not wind up in your shots. Some regions stipulate that because a person or location is not a focal point of photography, it isn’t necessary to obtain written permission. So, ask the store if any staff members may object to being photographed even by happenstance.
Bridal showers today are changing like the experience of looking for a wedding dress. Traditionally, we Y-chromos shouldn’t dare show our faces at a bridal shower but as times are changing, the brief presence of a very close father, brother, son, nephew or male friend has become almost commonplace. Even the groom can be invited or expected to briefly appear just before the bride opens her gifts. If a bridal shower has to be recorded, this door has to remain open if a bride’s photographer is male. The fix to that, of course, is to hire a female photographer. The matter will be completely taken out of your hands; however, if you don’t plan on having a shower but your friends and family throw a surprise shower for you anyway.
If you want your photographer to be at your bridal shower, you need to nail down the date, location, time of the party and how long you want the photographer to shoot for during consultation. As usual, the number of hours your photographer will spend will directly impact your costs.
It’s either during consultation or – even better, after you’ve hired your photographer, that you should discuss or provide your photography want list. This is a list of memorable moments that you definitely want captured at the event provided the situations arise to either shoot them candidly or if you want them staged. Like when your mother had fun wrapping you up in toilet paper. Well . . . maybe not that unforgettable moment.
Similarly, either during consultation with a photographer or sometime after hiring, but well before the wedding day, are good times to introduce a wedding photographer to the best man, maid of honour, wedding planner or anyone who will be instrumental in helping you identify people and moments to photograph.
Stag and Doe
Also known as the buck and doe, stag and drag, hen and stag, and Jack and Jill. I know that you get it; I just like to say those names. I like the way they roll off the tongue. A stag and doe party is what you might have instead of bachelor and bachelorette parties. In the latter, you get sloshed. In the former, you get sloshed but people pay you good tax-free money and gifts for it. Hey, if you’re thinking of making this a new career move, never mind!
Really, there are good reasons to not have neither a pro nor amateur photographer shoot at a stag and doe. For one, these events are usually held on evenings and in places where the lights are dim. This means that an exorbitant amount of flash will likely to have to be used, even if your photographer is willing to shoot with a fixed focal length lens in hopes of not having to strobe. The frequent flashes can become annoying to you and your guests.
The resulting pictures are often likely to come out with people looking pasty-faced. Preventing or overcoming poor exposures requires a lot of technological slight-of-hand while shooting, and a lot of post-production work in the studio. That post-prod will drive up your costs.
For another reason, many of these parties are known to involve the wedding couple, certain family members and friends getting themselves plastered. Trust me, no matter how nice and fun people may try to be when well under the influence, nobody looks good in any photograph when they’re bombed. If a drunken fight breaks out, pff! Never mind!
If the lighting of your party venue is unlikely to stress out your photographer, guests will be on good behavior and you’re determined to have him or her shoot your buck and doe (that sounds bad, I know; like I’m talking about game hunting or something), then as with a bridal shower, you should get your want-lists in early.
If you hold bachelor and bachelorette parties on the same day, I or any other solo wedding photographer can only shoot one or the other. If you are determined to have both events photographed, then we will subcontract another photographer or photographer’s apprentice. Keep in mind that, that will also increase your costs.
Wedding Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner Party
Rehearsals for the wedding ceremony and the reception are important. While there are many who like to have behind-the-scenes candid shots made from their rehearsals, many don’t. Even when they don’t want pictures taken, it is a very good idea to have your photographer attend your rehearsals for picture planning purposes.
I attended one wedding rehearsal in which I was even helpful with the planning aspects beyond the photography. For my benefit, I kept track of how many minutes it was to take the bride to exit her limousine and walk to the alter. I kept track of how long it took to complete the ceremony. I tracked the time it took for the bride and groom to leave the alter, walk to where the receiving line was to start, and how long it took for guests to follow.
What was originally thought to be semantics was actually seen as extremely important details of time when I shared my POV with the bride and her planner. The reverend even commented how I was on the ball. The necessary adjustments were made to ensure that event on the actual day went smoothly.
That’s what rehearsals are for. Everyone who has a critical stake in making the wedding day beautiful, fluid and memorable should attend the rehearsal.
If I don’t have to shoot at a rehearsal, I don’t have to travel too far and there aren’t any conflicts with my other responsibilities, I will attend rehearsals free of charge.