How to Work With Your Wedding Photographer
After your guests have gone home, the reception venue has been cleaned up, and your final invoices have been paid, your wedding photos will serve as a lasting reminder of the joy and happiness of your special day. That's why your wedding photographer is one of the most important vendors you'll choose.
While your photographer is a professional with lots of experience shooting weddings, it's important to coordinate and plan with them in the weeks and months leading up to your event. Communicating with them consistently and scheduling a final consultation before your day is essential to ensuring a smooth photography experience at your wedding.
To help you work with your wedding photographer, we've outlined a few key steps you should take before, during, and after the big day.
One to three months before your wedding
Plan and share your wedding timeline.
Your wedding timeline lays out when and where your wedding events will take place, and it's incredibly important for each of your major vendors to have. It's OK if your timeline changes a bit as you get closer to your event, but try to get this done as early as possible and share it with your photographer so they know exactly where they need to be, and at what time.
Create a Pinterest board for photo inspiration.
Each photographer has their own unique style of shooting, but they're always interested in learning about your vision and preferences as a couple. A Pinterest board is an easy way to curate poses, locations, and other images that inspire you. This gives your photographer a visual "guide" to follow when they're planning your shoot. Keep in mind, however, that they will adapt your Pinterest photos to their own style and to what's happening in the moment. You may not get perfect recreations of every photo you Pin -- and that's OK, because your photos should be uniquely you!
Connect your wedding photographer with your video staff (if applicable).
If you've booked your photographer and videographer through Hurricane Productions, we've got you covered on this one: Our team members all collaborate well and communicate with each other before they work an event together. However, if you've booked a videographer through another company, you may want to connect the two of them so they can plan their equipment setups accordingly.
Schedule and attend your final consultation.
Whether you meet with your wedding photographer in person or schedule a phone or Skype call, it's important to speak with them directly to ensure you are both on the same page before the wedding. Some things to discuss and confirm include contracted hours (including specific arrival and departure times), your "must-have" shots, any changes to your wedding timeline, day-of contact information, and any final payments that are due to the vendor.
On your wedding day
Designate a family member or wedding party member as the point of contact.
Once your wedding events gets started, you and your soon-to-be spouse should be focused on one thing: getting married. That's why it's good to choose one trusted person as your photographer's point of contact for any logistical questions throughout the day. This person can also be in charge of delivering the tip to your photographer at the end of the reception.
Review the timeline with your wedding party.
Double-check the arrival times for your photographer (and videographer, if you have one) and make sure your family, wedding party, and anyone else who will be involved in pre- or post-ceremony photos are aware of the timeline. This will help keep your preparation photos on track, as everyone will know when they need to be "photo ready."
Have all your details out ready to be photographed.
Detail photographs of the dress, the shoes, the jewelry, the invitation, the bouquet, etc. can truly capture the essence of your wedding day. Make sure you lay out any details and items you want photographed during your preparations so your photographer knows where to start. This can be a good task for your designated point-person or a bridesmaid/groomsman, too!
Communicate any last-minute changes with your wedding photographer.
When your photographer arrives, be sure to inform them if anything about your agreed-upon timeline has changed, including order of events or locations. While they should be able to adapt and adjust, be prepared to stick to your timeline as closely as possible: You don't want to be dragged out of your cocktail hour or reception to get through your portrait list because you fell behind schedule earlier in the day.
After your wedding reception
Send a thank-you note.
Monetary tips are nice, but there's nothing that makes your wedding vendors happier than knowing they've made your wedding day dreams come true. As soon as possible after your wedding, be sure to send a quick thank-you note to your photographer (and anyone else who worked your wedding) and let them know how much you appreciated their services. You can also send a handwritten note later, but an email or text message shortly after your wedding will brighten your photographer's day.
Share your photos on social media (and tag your photographer).
When you receive your sneak peeks and your final batch of photos, feel free to share them far and wide -- but be sure to give your photographer credit for their hard work! If they have a Facebook or Instagram account (most of them do), tag them so they see your post.
Ask for the best place to leave them a testimonial or review.
If you had a truly amazing experience with your wedding photographer, the best thing you can do for them is tell other potential clients. Offer to write them a review or testimonial, and find out their preferred site to post it. They may want to use it for their website, or they may ask you to post it on Facebook, Google, and/or a popular wedding website like The Knot or Wedding Wire. As with many service providers, a referral is the greatest compliment you can give to a photographer.