I am so grateful to have Jennifer Van Elk on the blog today to share a little insight into some photo tips for the Traditional Bride. Just because your wedding is traditional, it doesn’t mean your photos have to be traditional as well. Not everyone wants to have, or can have, a first look before their ceremony. Sometimes there is not enough time. Sometimes the bride and groom want to see one another for the first time at the ceremony. It should not affect the photos, either way. It should still be possible to make time to get beautiful photos on the wedding day.
Tips to make the wedding and photos superb:
PUT A SEPARATE STARTING TIME FOR THE RECEPTION ON THE INVITES.
Put a starting time of one hour after the end of the ceremony on the invites instead of “Cocktail hour to follow.” Guests will head to their hotel room, run errands, or visit a local bar to kill time. It is a great time to explore a new city. This will give the photographer more time for photos.
EXTEND THE COCKTAIL HOUR.
Consider having a cocktail “hour and a half.” This will give more time for photos. Just remember to order more food and serve more drinks if the cocktail hour is extended.
Be open to doing a few portraits in the morning before the ceremony (bridesmaids, groomsmen, individual portraits). Also, be open to doing a few portraits during the reception, during dinner or dancing (extended family, couple portraits, wedding party pictures). This is especially helpful if the photographer is working alone. Two photographers can break up the guys and girls to speed up portraits. One photographer does not have that luxury.
SEND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER A FAMILY PORTRAIT LIST
Making a family portrait list will make this part of the day fly right by. All of the important photos need to get captured. Making a list makes this easy to accomplish, quickly. You do not want to remember at the end of the night that there was one photo that was forgotten earlier. The photographer can give you some advice on what pictures to add and what to leave out.
TRY TO KEEP PORTRAIT LOCATIONS LOCAL AND MINIMAL
Wedding parties take a long time to get in and out of a location. It becomes more difficult with the more alcohol they consume. Keeping locations at a minimum means less transition time between riding the bus and taking photos. Big wedding parties traveling together on a trolley or bus are especially time consuming when there are several locations. It takes a while to get everyone to line up and enter or exit.
HIRE (AT LEAST) A DAY-OF COORDINATOR
If possible, hire a wedding planner from the very beginning, or even to come in to help with partial planning and select your remaining vendors. In the very least, hire a day-of coordinator. A day-of coordinator ensures all of the vendors stay on time. If you get off schedule, the day-of coordinator will get things back on schedule. The day-of coordinator will take care of any problems that arise. Having a day-of coordinator is like having someone around to defend your time. It means the time set aside for portraits will remain set aside for portraits.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
It is unrealistic to think thirty minutes is enough time to capture family portraits, wedding party portraits, and portraits of the couple. Give the photographer at least an hour and thirty minutes after the ceremony portraits. This is not including travel time. You can spread that time out throughout the night. For example, allow an hour and fifteen minutes for portraits on the reception property with family members and the wedding party. Then sneak out for fifteen minutes to capture gorgeous portraits in the golden hour when it is close to sunset. Then you will hit your goal of one hour and thirty minutes.
I hope that these tips help make your wedding day smooth and stress free!
Jennifer Van Elk is a wedding photographer with her husband, Steven, in the Indianapolis area. They shoot primarily in the Midwest, but are open to travel throughout the world for wonderful couples. They have shot over 150 weddings. Their work has been published, both nationally and internationally. Jennifer is passionate about improving her education and skill in photography and also sharing her experiences with brides to help plan their beautiful wedding day. Jennifer and Steven’s blog features all of their wedding work. They also post recent work to Instagram and Facebook.