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How to do without a Wedding Photographer

March 13, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Photographic Guides for Engaged Couples


Dear Happy Couple

Wedding table decoration A typical special touch at a wedding - don't forget to photograph these!

Best wishes for your happy day - the best in your life!


I hope you will engage me as your photographer.  In 25 years’ time you’ll be looking back at your wedding photographs and they will do more to bring back memories than whether you had vintage champagne or prosecco.


But if, for whatever reason, you get someone else, here are some suggestions you may want to consider for your photographer, especially if this is a friend or family doing the photographs as a favour.


I have a little list

You don’t want to bring out a list of 500 poses (you do want time to do something other than being photographed) but there will be some key groups and parts of the day you want covered.  Especially make sure that there is a list of which formal photographs you want and who will be in them.  Also have it clear, in writing, whether you want bride/groom preparations photographed, which parts of the reception and so on.


Visit the venue

Make sure that your photographer visits both the wedding venue as well as the reception.  That way they will get to know where are good places for the shots.


Meet the Minister

Your photographer should meet the minister or official presiding at the ceremony to find out what limitations there are photographing the wedding.  I have seen extremes here: at one wedding two photographers were crawling all over the altar during the ceremony; at another, all photography was absolutely banned at the wedding.  Mostly you will find the minister is reasonably happy so long as the photographer is unobtrusive and doesn’t use flash.  However, you do need to find out, beforehand.


You photographer needs to have two of everything: camera, suitable lenses, flashes.  Similarly there needs to be plenty of batteries for all the equipment.  In addition, have plenty of memory cards.  Plenty.

Much wedding photography is done in low light, such as at the ceremony if no flash is allowed.  Therefore the camera and lenses need to be tested out in these conditions to see if they work.  If not, you can generally hire a high quality lens or two for a reasonable fee.


In sickness …

Your photographer needs to look after his or her health in the days leading up to the ceremony.  You don’t want a sniffy or coughing photographer!  Similarly s/he should avoid any spicy foods for 48 hours beforehand.  Is there a backup photographer, just in case?



The photographer needs to charge all batteries, plus the spares the day before.


Special touches

You may well have spe
cial touches for the wedding that you want remembered: flowers in the church, brides dress/shoes, bouquets, table decorations and so on.  It’s easy for the photographer to miss some of these, so make sure s/he is made aware of your special touches.



Make sure your photographer knows your timetable for the day.

Equally, ensure you have left enough time in your timetable for all the photographs you want, especially the formal ones.  Allow a minimum of one minute per formal photograph: even if everyone has been warned, you will find that Uncle Joe has gone for a wander and needs to be found.

In addition, knowing your timetable means that your photographer will not miss key moments: tossing the bouquet, speeches, cutting the cake, toasts, first dance and so on.


“Go To” person

The photographer needs a “go to” person who knows everyone who is needed for the formal photographs and who can be bossy enough to get them where they are needed when they are needed.  This is often overlooked, but is critical.


Backup plans

Of course, you will often want 
your photographs after the wedding to be taken in gardens or other attractive scenery.  Sadly, Mother Nature doesn’t always co-operate!  What is the plan for photographs if the weather turns bad?


Get me to the church on time …

Things go wrong.  Consequently, your photographer should plan to be ready to start taking photographs at least an hour before actually needed just in case they have their car break down, get lost, etc.



If you are having a wedding rehearsal, get the photographer there if at all possible.  Even the best photography planning can miss something and the whole point of the wedding rehearsal is to avoid problems.


In summary ...


I hope this doesn’t sound too complicated.  Like most things, planning is the key to success and will help you relax and enjoy your day.  


I know professional wedding photography can seem expensive.  However you pay a pro to get pro results.  I typically find that doing a wedding involves 4-10 days’ work.  If your budget is too tight to  afford a photographer for the whole day, could they perhaps do just four hours, which will typically cover you from arrival at the church to just past the speeches?  Would you be happy with just digital photographs rather than an album?


Whatever you decide, I sincerely wish you a happy day and a marvellous married life.  Getting married was the best thing I ever did and I’m sure it will be for you, too!


Very best wishes!



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