In my eight years of photographing weddings, I have learned a lot from trial and error, education courses, and other photographers. Everything listed below was learned the hard way through trial and error, so I want to save you some heartache before you shoot your next wedding. Hopefully one of these tips will be beneficial for you!
I have been doing this for years and it always helps me keep the wedding day on track. I save it as both the lock screen and the wall paper so I can quickly see the timeline and know what is coming up next. As a backup, I also have a printed copy of the timeline, but it’s not always convenient to pull out a sheet of paper.
Especially for venues I have never photographed, I like to arrive a little early to find the best locations for each set of photos we have scheduled. This will help you visualize some of the photos and keep you on schedule so that you can confidently tell the wedding party, “we are taking bridesmaid and groomsmen photos here.”
Even with a perfectly crafted wedding timeline, wedding days can be unpredictable. You don’t want to miss a moment because your camera or flash batteries are low and your camera bag is on the other side of the venue. I always wear dresses or skirts with pockets so that I can keep spare camera and flash batteries in my pockets at all times.
I wish I had learned to do this one sooner! I’m not talking about a list of shots like mom, dad, bride, and groom. The best family shot list has family member names such as Doug, Carrie, Ashley, and Weston. When you list the names, it not only keeps family photos going smoothly, but also allows you to call family members by their name. I started sending out a questionnaire to my brides a few years ago and it has been a game changer!
This may be the most important tip! If you’re like me, you completely forget about your own needs throughout a wedding day because you are so focused on your bride and groom. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the wedding day, which is a task I assign my second shooters. Even with proper hydration during the day, you will be so thankful for an ice cold Yeti cup of water to drink on the way home.