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Wedding Time-Crunches: 5 Tricks to Never Miss a Shot

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Here at ShootDotEdit, we know that out of all of the weddings you have shot, chances are you have seen a timeline so off track you barely have any time to capture the most crucial images. Since your couple hired you to document their day, you have to know how to take those images in a limited timeframe. In our 127 Shots Guide, we share a photography playbook of the important images to take. Below, wedding photographers, Justin and Mary Marantz, share 5 tricks to help you never miss a shot during a wedding day time-crunch.
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Sometimes, things just happen at a wedding. Despite the best intentions, the best planning, the most meticulous timeline, sometimes things just…get off track. Like I always tell my brides, there’s “real time” and then there’s “wedding time.” The two shall never be the same.

I’ve seen it happen 100 different ways. There was that makeup artist out of state who took 2 HOURS and 15 minutes just to do the bride’s makeup. Then, there was that time there was an unexpected parade (I mean, a PARADE!) on the way to the ceremony. 200 guests sitting in a cathedral, and the bridal party is stuck behind the Fighting Irish mid-state championship marching band. Yep, anything can happen on a wedding day.

Over and over in the past 10 years of shooting, we have seen beautiful 2-hour cushions of time that were slotted for portraits get cut down to about 15 minutes. In 15 minutes, we had to do all of the couple portraits, as well as the wedding party! It can happen to even the best timelines and the best planning. Sometimes, stuff just HAPPENS. In those moments, we have two choices. We can either cry (tempting!) OR we can pull ourselves together and come up with a game plan. So let’s do that! I think the best way to break it down is by putting it into 5 tips.

Download our 127 Essential Images Guide to receive a comprehensive photography playbook for the wedding day!

1. Rely on the Second Shooter

Have a second shooter focus on getting different angles of the same set-ups, so you can get twice as many shots in the same amount of time. I usually take the lead on all the posing with our couple, which means most of my images are fairly straight on, focusing on full length and three-quarter shots. To fill in the gaps, Justin knows to shoot off from the side, getting “slices of life” images like bouquet shots. I cannot express enough how important it is to always have a second shooter, or at the very least an assistant, with you at all of your weddings.

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Image Compliments of Justin and Mary Marantz

2. Avoid Complicated Poses

When time is running short and nerves are running a little high, now is not the time to ask a lot of the couple with complicated posing. You’ll waste a lot of time trying to get them into the pose, and chances are those are the kinds of poses that won’t look great from other angles.

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Keep the posing simple and above all, just allow them to hold on to one another and soak each other in. That will make the whole experience a lot more fun for them, and to remember it doesn’t have to be complicated. There is beauty in simplicity.

Related: Download our 8 free Wedding Day Timeline Templates for Photographers to minimize time-crunches and create a stress-free wedding shoot!

3. Divide and Conquer

Because you have that second shooter with you, it will also allow you to save time by dividing up for the individual portraits, so those can be happening at the same time. While you focus on the bridal portraits, have the second shooter work with the groom. You can also do this with the bridal party or family formals.

Related: Discover 36 wedding day disaster stories from pro photographers, and the solutions to conquer them, with our free guide!

4. Use Go-To Poses

Have a few go-to poses you have burned into your brain. Now is also not the time to draw a complete blank on every pose you’ve ever learned, or to look like for even one second you don’t have it together. What you need to be projecting right now is confidence. Or, what I like to call “The Swan,” calm and graceful on the surface even if you’re paddling like crazy underneath.

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Image Compliments of Justin and Mary Marantz

I have 4 or 5 go-to poses burned into my brain we talk about in the Art of Authentic Posing Course I know I can always go to.

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Learn Posing From the Pros

These flow very nicely from one into another, so we can change poses quickly, incorporate movement so they don’t become static, and are poses that can allow me to get very different results just by moving my feet. I have Justin shoot from a different angle or with a different lens, which can either take on a quiet and romantic or fun and silly vibe depending on the couple.

5. Be Specific

Use your couples’ names. Let them know which one you’re talking to. Don’t say “look at your shoulder.” Say, “Sandra, I’m going to have you look at your left shoulder.” Or, “Sam, I’m going to have you take one baby step right toward me.” The clearer you are in your direction, the less confusion there will be. The less time they spend trying to figure out what you’re asking of them, the more time you’ll have to shoot.

Interested in learning more about posing for the wedding day? Grab Justin and Mary’s Posing Bundle today to learn advanced tips and tricks!

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Because many of your shoots will have unpredictable elements, it’s necessary to be prepared. Do you know the best images to capture, especially in a time-crunch? Our Guide, 127 Essential Wedding Images You Must Capture, has a checklist for you to take with you on your next shoot! Download it now.

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