After months of planning everything down to the hour, the alarm sounds and your big day is here. But between the inevitable wedding jitters and making sure you thank every guest for coming, it can feel like it passes by in a flash. Before you know it, the canapés have been devoured and it's time for the speeches. That's why choosing the right photographer to capture your whole story is so crucial. You'll also spend a lot of time before and during your wedding with this person, so making sure they understand what you need and feeling comfortable is vital.
Provide your photographer with the right information ahead of time and you'll get back a set of pictures that frame your landmark occasion even better than you remember it.
So, what information do you need to provide?
Thankfully, expert help is on hand. Professional wedding & lifestyle photographer, Lauryn Reifinger, gives you the lowdown on what to ask your wedding photographer to save you time, reduce stress and ensure you're 100% satisfied with your photos you get back.
"I get to photograph awesome couples on the happiest day of their lives. I'm obsessed with candid shots and try to capture all the laughter, cheesy jokes and intimate smiles that come through. My goal is to tell each story in a unique, creative way that lets couples and their families relive that special day forever."
How can I make sure my wedding photographer knows exactly what we want?
Lauryn: The number one question I get asked by couples is, “how much time do we need to set aside during our wedding day to capture all our special moments?” I always try to stress the importance of having a plan for the photos. If we’re organized and know who, where and when, the photos can be done quickly and everybody has more time to mingle and focus on enjoying themselves. These relaxed moments often result in the best photos.
We’ve seen some photos on your website, could we do something similar?
Lauryn: Most of my customers choose me for my journalistic, candid style. I ask them to look at photos from my website and from other photographers they like to get a sense of what they want in terms of style and location. A lot of the time people have a good idea where they want shots to be taken, so a big part of the process is working out the logistics of making those shots happen and come out perfectly.
What information do you need about our venue?
Lauryn: Often overlooked but crucially important, it’s the couple’s responsibility to provide the photographer with as much information about the venue as possible. Especially regarding any restrictions the owners impose on taking shots in certain rooms or areas of the grounds, as this can throw up a real complication if I only find out on the day.
Also, an important thing to factor in for your venue is having a plan b for photos in case the clouds open and we can’t shoot outside. I need to know if there’s a space where I can shoot and possibly set up lights. If it’s nearby, I often visit the place beforehand if I haven’t already shot there to get the lie of the land.
Do you need a list of people for our group photos?
Lauryn: Absolutely. I call this a shot list. While some people might assign a family member or friend as a point person to gather people, I’d rather not burden anyone with that responsibility as I want everyone to enjoy the wedding. Instead, I ask couples to provide me with a shot list so I can call out names and get everyone together as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s worth having a good think about these lists – you’d never forgive yourself for leaving someone out!
Should we do an engagement shoot?
Lauryn: I always advise couples to do this. Not only do you get a great set of photos for your save the date cards or invitations, but you get a chance to work with your photographer and see their style of retouching. It also gives you the chance to identify if you have a good side, look more photogenic in certain poses or if there are any angles you’d prefer to avoid.
Do you need to know the order of events?
Lauryn: This certainly helps. Along with your shot list and knowing about any photo restrictions at your venue, this is one of the most important pieces of information I need as your photographer.
By being one step ahead all the time, I can plan the best shots, work around the videographer’s schedule and be aware of other vendors’ needs, like the DJ and catering team. A great way to make sure all your vendors are in sync with one another is to send an email to all of us outlining the day’s itinerary. That way, we can synchronize. For example, I need to know when the DJ is going to play the song to accompany the first dance. Under no circumstances can I miss that shot!
In summary: Lauryn’s top tips
- Confirm the format of photos you’ll receive with your photographer as early as possible.
- Give your photographer plenty of time to work their magic on your photos – it’s worth the wait.
- Find out if there are any restrictions to taking photos at your venue.
- Send an email with the itinerary for the day to all you vendors so they can synchronize with each other.
- Finally, remember to send your photographer your shot list with the who, where, when information to ensure everyone is included in the group photos.