What to Expect on Your Wedding Day? (Photographer's Perspective)
Engagement Photo Session
My wedding photography process starts with the planning of your engagement photoshoot, which is an essential part of all my wedding photography packages.
The reason why is not only because I love it, but also for its benefits:
Firstly, we can get to know each other in a less formal way before your wedding day.
You can see and experience how I work and ask me all sort of questions.
You will get more comfortable with your photographer so on your wedding day you will feel and look more relaxed in the photos.
It's a chance to dress up and celebrate the unique time between your engagement and future marriage.
You can also choose and document a location which is special to you in your relationship.
You will have beautiful images with your loved one and some new memories.
You can also start visualising how your wedding album may look like.
See my article "All you need to know before your engagement photoshoot" to see all frequently asked questions and answers.
The Wedding Day
All weddings are unique and different. However, I would like to show you how a typical wedding day looks like from a photographer's perspective. For this example, I assumed that the bride getting-ready place, wedding ceremony and reception take place at the same venue.
My photography work starts around the time when the bride starts getting ready. After confirming my arrival with the couple, I begin with photographing the wedding venue. At this time, I don't want to photograph the bride until she has her make'up done.
This gives me time to document the outdoor areas of the wedding venue. It also provides me with a chance to think about what spots would be the best for the couple and group portraits in terms of light and background.
When I'm done with photographing the wedding location, I ask my bride (or anyone responsible) for her wedding and bridal details to be photographed. These are some of my personal favourites.
The list of items may include:
wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses
the rings (engagement ring and both wedding bands)
bridal bouquet and/or a few pieces of the floral design
other bridal accessories (earrings, hairpieces, etc.)
I usually ask my bride to have all items, which she would like to have photographed, ready for me at one place. So, I can start straight away as soon as I arrive without losing time searching for them.
Bride getting ready
When the bride has her hair and make-up ready, this is the time when I start photographing her. I capture her how she is putting her dress on usually with the help of her bridesmaids or her mother.
Then, when the bride is ready, I use it as an opportunity to photograph a few bridal portraits on her own.
I usually direct the bride to stand close to a window because of the beautiful light. This time I also focus on the close-up shots of her beautiful hair and make-up.
The wedding ceremony
During the wedding ceremony, I will be like your quiet guest, being present but not interrupting. I love documenting a wedding ceremony because of genuine emotions and beautiful candid moments. After the wedding ceremony, I will take the wedding couple to the side to capture their first portrait as wife and husband if there is a chance to do so.
Unplugged wedding ceremony
I'm a big supporter of unplugged wedding ceremonies, and I definitely recommend it to all my wedding couples. Firstly, it ensures that all guests are present with you at the moment. Secondly, it prevents the danger of some guests suddenly getting in the photographer's way to take their own photos during the key moments, such as the bride walking down the aisle or the first kiss. It would be heartbreaking to miss such an important moment for an Instagram snap. Unfortunately, it happens at many weddings.
The final reason why you may want to consider an unplugged wedding ceremony is for the final photographs. Even if the photographer worked his or her way around the smartphones and other cameras, it doesn't look beautiful when guests in photos are looking at their screens instead of the wedding couple. You can see examples of such wedding photos here.
This is a traditional approach to wedding photography when everyone is smiling and posing in front of a camera. In order to make this process as smooth as possible, I usually ask my wedding couple, before the wedding day, to prepare a list of groups with names they would like to have photographed.
On the wedding day, a dedicated person will be in charge of calling people by their names to be photographed. This person can be anyone who knows most of the guests, for example the maid of honour or a family member.
This ensures that the group portraits are well organised and time efficient, especially if there is a large number of guests at the wedding. No one wants to spend half a day posing for group photos. It also helps to prevent from anyone important missing in the photos.
I photograph the wedding reception usually during the cocktail hour just before the guests are allowed to come in. If you are not planning a cocktail hour, please, make sure that your photographer has enough time to photograph it before your guests enter. Only this way, you will have beautiful photos of the stunning decoration with all its details which you were carefully planning.
Wedding couple portraits
This is the time which is dedicated only to the wedding couple portraits when we can get the most beautiful photographs of you two. After your engagement photo session experience, you already know what to expect. That's the reason why it's so important for the final pictures to have your first photo session before your wedding day. You will feel much more relaxed, and thus you will also look more confident in the final photos.
Cake cutting and first dance
For the cake cutting and the first dance, I take the same photography approach as well as for the wedding ceremony. I will be there only to document the natural, candid moments without interrupting the flow.
Depending on the wedding day schedule, I usually stay for several songs after the first dance to capture the atmosphere of the upcoming wedding partying. After that, I check with my couple whether there is anything else I can do for them and then we say bye to each other.
I hope that this article gives you a better insight into what to expect from your photographer on your wedding day.
You can also read this article if you have any questions about my wedding photography delivery process.