Chances are, you've spent a good chunk of your wedding budget on your photographer and you want to make the most of your photography. These memories aren't going to make themselves, and while the majority of professional photographers are awesome at rolling with the punches, this handy list of questions to ask yourself or your coordinator during your final venue walk-through will help set your photography team off on the right foot (pun totes intended).
If you've chosen to get ready at your wedding venue, that's great! It cuts down on travel time and allows you to gain those extra 10/15/25 minutes of photography to capture every little detail.
Lighting is key and we love window light around here. If there's a window with sheer curtains in your prep area, be sure to make yourself a note to keep it clear. If you can't, or the venue has a table/furniture in front of it, find out if we'll be able to move that piece the day of. We promise to put it back! ;)
Many brides do not wish for their guests to see them before their ceremony. Plus, if you can enter and exit your prep area or bridal suite at the venue without being seen, it helps avoid the guests who are dying to wish you well with long conversations when you really just want to go pee before your walk down the aisle.
If you're wanting photos of your attendants or groom getting ready, it's essential that we know where this is happening. I almost always shoot with a second photographer, which makes it easy to split up if your groom is getting ready elsewhere.
Let's face it. This is Washington. It rains in the middle of Summer and snows in June sometimes (ok. Maybe once, like 20 years ago but still). You'll want to be sure and have a designated backup plan, even if there's a 110% chance of sunshine on your wedding day. Canopies, Indoor Ceremony, something to fall back on if needed. The piece of mind is worth the extra 5-10 minutes of planning.
In order to get those beautiful shots of your ceremony space before your guests arrive, you'll want to give us a general idea of when and how they'll show up. If they're coming into a designated space, that lets us know we can wait a bit longer to head out to the ceremony spot and take those photos. If your guests will file directly into the ceremony space, we'll want to get those images early as possible.
While most Summer ceremonies will take place well before sunset (hello 9:00 pm sunsets!), if you're scheduled for a late fall/winter/early spring wedding, you may want to light the paths/aisle or outdoor reception area with string lights, lanterns or other lighting.
While I've never personally run into this, I've heard stories from other photographers who've been restricted to one spot during ceremonies. If your venue requires that your photographer and everyone stay seated, consider positioning one photographer on each side with a reserved front row seat. This will give them the best view of your ceremony for those moments. You may also consider asking about a third photographer just for your ceremony to place at the back of the space.
Your couples and formal portraits are usually the most requested photos from the day, and the ones that take up the most time. Having a designated area (whether its the reception space or another spot for cocktail hour) for your guests to go will help to keep them corralled and move your formal portraits along. If you'll need to leave the venue for couples and formal portraits, be sure to consider where you'll want to get these shots done.
If you're having a cocktail hour, be sure to note where this will take place and if there is any exclusive decor that won't be present in the reception space.
I highly suggest placing your photographers and vendors at a table near you & your new husband/wife. This allows you to be able to quickly grab them when Great Aunt Sue comes over for a photo in the middle of dinner.
If you're feeding your vendors, consider having them jump in line right behind you. Or if serving a plated meal, remind your catering staff to serve them immediately after you. This will help to keep your wedding photography timeline on schedule without having to deal with cranky hangery photographers. ;)
It's always good for us to know where the DJ/Band is setup and what lighting they bring. DJ lights can be a ton of fun during receptions and we always like to know if there is any uplighting or if we'll need to set up our additional lighting equipment.
Photo booths are huge successes! We simply need to know where to set it up so your guests can see it but don't trip over anything.