Saturday, February 5, 2011

Simple Things To Help Your Wedding Photographer

A little help goes a long way. Here are some simple things to help your wedding photographer make your memories last forever.

Let’s Be Friends

First and foremost, understand that even the most professional photographer can only capture that which you portray. They may be able to get great angles and a fairytale setting, but how you feel and what you think will most certainly be evident in you facial expression and level of comfort in front of the camera. It is, therefore, of utmost value to be comfortable with your photographer and their camera. A very good idea would be to get to know your photographer before the wedding in order to achieve this. Many photographers will be more than happy to arrange a pre-shoot to help you and your fiancée become more comfortable with the lens and it truly is advisable to grab the opportunity with both hands. Not only will it help you and your fiancée to become more comfortable, but it should also be a time in which your photographer will couch you in the little things that really matter on the day of your wedding like “chin up, elbows away from your sides, breath” and so on. All in an effort to capture your most precious memories in the best possible way. Remember that your photographer is the one person who will be there ALL THE TIME. They are probably going to be the one calming you when table settings aren’t right or the correct accessories to your dress have not arrived (I’m speaking from experience of-course). Yes, they will be the one standing by with that glass of wine, the cigarette or the calming tablet, whilst still capturing every moment in eternity. In getting to know your photographer, it will offer the photographer a glimpse into your personality and give them the opportunity of capturing YOU in your photos.

A great way of allowing your photographer to get to know you is to invite your photographer to your bridal shower to capture a few shots there. It will also offer your photographer a chance to get acquainted with some of your key guests. Most photographers would love to get to know the couple before the wedding. Make the photographer a friend.


Now most photographers will be able to deal with any lighting condition, but the best photos are usually achieved using natural light. Please keep this in mind when planning the time of your wedding. Remember that if the ceremony is scheduled for just before sunset and the ceremony is an hour long, there won’t be much light left for your photographer to work with. Also keep in mind that once you step outside the ceremony venue, there will be a stampede of guests who will want to congratulate you. This is very time consuming and can take an hour or more. You may not expect that it will be so time consuming, but experience has taught me that it always does, so please be sure to cater for this in your schedule. If you are planning a late or evening wedding, your photographer will probably ask to take photos of you and your fiancée before the ceremony or the next day, or they may take a more photojournalistic approach and have no formal shoot with the bride and groom at all.

Also keep your photographer in mind at the reception. Dimming the lights to almost complete darkness when opening the dance floor or cutting the cake, may add to the romantic atmosphere, but may leave your photographer in complete disaster, especially if he/she does not even have enough light to see you through the camera’s view finder.

Event Schedule

Please ensure that your photographer knows what will be happening at approximately what time. Remember that your photographer needs to be aware of important moments at your wedding in order to capture them e.g. Speeches, opening dance, throwing of the bouquet and so on. There is nothing worse for a photographer than sitting down to that well deserved meal, taking a bit bite of that lovely food, and being caught completely off-guard by the announcement of the wedding cake being cut, and having jump up, mouth full of food, hands full of gravy – need I say more?

Event Guide

An event guide is someone who knows the rest of the guests at the wedding, who can help the photographer to get the right people together for the photos of friends and family that you have requested. You have many other things to concentrate on and will probably not have the time to help your photographer co-ordinate this. Besides, you will probably be in most of those photographs and will have to stay put while the rest of the crowd is being gathered. Remember that your photographer is great at what they do, but unfortunately, probably not clairvoyant, and will not know who Uncle Frank and Aunt Sally are. Having an event guide will help to ensure that the process is quick and efficient and that all those special guests get photographed.

Guests and Guest Photography

Usually, most photographers will be more than happy to allow your guests to take photos here and there. I even joke around with the guests who are taking photos and call them my fellow paparazzi and give them some pointers to help them achieve better shots. Unfortunately, time on your special day is precious and rather pricey when it comes to a professional photographer. Try to limit the amount of guest photography during vital moments of your wedding. Keep in mind that your photographer may be using a special lens for low lighting conditions during the ceremony, if it is indoors, to avoid using a flash, and a flash from a guest’s camera may cost you and your photography that great photo of “You may kiss the bride”. It is also very time consuming during the photo shoot of friends, family and the bridal couple if the photographer has to wait for the 10 other people who want to take that same shot and has to fight for your attention while you are looking at the 10 other camera’s clicking away. It may mean that the photographer may not have enough time to get all the desired photos and it may prove to be very disappointing for you.

When it comes to guests, it is rather unfortunate that you will have one or two who will refuse to co-operate with your photographer and who may even be extremely rude. Now, some people will just persist in their behavior no matter what you do or say, but for the rest of the friendly folk, it may be a good idea to add a little sentence to your invitation like “Watch out for the paparazzi. When in there presence, look straight into the lens, be quiet and smile, and no-one gets hurt” or have your master of ceremony just make a short announcement to encourage guest co-operation. I am always friendly with the guests and find that 9 times out of 10 a little courtesy from my side and a bit of encouragement from the couple’s side goes a long way in creating great and fun photos.

Enjoy It

Enjoy the experience. Take that bottle of wine along. Have fun. Chat to your beloved. Laugh. Relax. Remember your photographs can only reflect what you are feeling. Many a bride and groom have said that their photo session was one of the most wonderful, fun highlights of their day, and some have said that it was exhausting and frustrating. You photo shoot will greatly depend on what you make of it. The photographer will do the rest.

Article written by Roberta Strydom

Submitted by Giovanna Clarichetti Photography,

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