1. Prep: About a month out, set up a meeting with your photographer to go over your timeline and details. The big day flies by for most brides, and the more details you work out before hand, the less you have to think about on your special day. This is a great time to give them your shot list and mention any special guests that you want images of, like college friends or people coming from oversees.
2. Details, Details: Let your photographer know if there are any special details that hold meaning, like a grandmother’s veil or the to-die-for table linens that were specially made.
3. Family Dynamics: Inform your photographer of any family situations that they need to be aware of. It can be awkward for everyone when your photographer keeps asking your divorced in-laws to squeeze together and smile.
4. Shot List: It is a great tool for a photographer to have a shot list. A professional photographer will already know the standard photos but it is great to go over what those are in your prep meeting. Give them a who’s-who of family names and any special shots. Examples of special shots may be college friends, your mother’s siblings, or a cousin shot. Try not to give them a Pinterest board of other work or 6 pages of requests as this can hinder their natural eye and make for less emotional shots.
5. Pad the Schedule: Hair and makeup are an important part of your day. I always recommend leaving a little extra time in your schedule, as sometimes in the flurry of activity and bridesmaids, it can take longer then expected. We love to have a bride be almost ready when we arrive with just the finishing touches of hair and make up.
6. Get Mom Ready First: Many brides love to have their mother, sister or maid of honor there to help them into the dress. It makes for beautiful intimate photos. Whomever you want there, make sure that they are dressed and ready when you step into the dress.
7. Bring the Family: Once your dressed it’s wonderful to have a little time for your immediate family photos. If possible make sure they are all at the same location. It’s a beautiful memory and makes the later portraits shorter, which is wonderful if you and your hubby want to enjoy cocktail hour.
8. Keep It Private: Friends and family will surround you all day and that is amazing, but it can be intimidating for a first look. We recommend taking that time just for the two of you. It makes for more intimate, emotional images.
9. Put Your Friends to Work: Large family photos can be hard to wrangle. If possible it can be great to do big family shots after the ceremony on the steps if there is shade. This lets everyone enjoy the rest of the party. Appoint a good friend who is not in the photos but knows who everyone is to help gather people.
10. Sneak Away: The last half hour of cocktails, right before sunset, is a gorgeous time for photos. It can also be romantic to have a minute to take a deep breath and enjoy the company of your new spouse!