As a wedding photographer, the wedding day is the D-Day, so bringing your A-game is a must to make sure that everything goes according to plan (and perhaps even find a potential client!). Even though there could always be unexpected moments at a wedding, planning could help you remain stress-free as you photograph the other anticipated moments. Therefore, one of the simplest and most organized ways to ensure that you are on top of your game is to have a wedding photography preparation checklist that could help you keep a track of all your ‘to-dos’. In this blog, we offer some insight on all the prep you could do before you head out to the wedding venue.
Wedding Photography Preparation & Planning
1. Prepare a Worksheet
Preparing a worksheet helps you and your couple to be on the same page. Usually, a good time to send a worksheet to your couple and the event coordinator is six weeks before the wedding day. Once you share the sheet, you could ask them to return it to you with their input within three weeks of the wedding date. This way, you will have some time for discussions, clarifications or modifications. You could also print and keep a copy of this worksheet in your camera bag and also give a copy to your second shooter and assistant so that you can refer back to it on the wedding day.
2. Discuss The First Look
Not every couple wants to go for a first look, so have a discussion about this while you are preparing your shot list. Whether or not they want to go for the first look is an important discussion since you need to plan your timeline accordingly. There might be clients who are very clear about whether or not they want a first look session, and others might need your guidance to decide. You could help such clients by providing a list of some pros and cons.
3. Be Aware of Any Religious Traditions
Every culture has its own wedding traditions, so if you are preparing for a wedding and are not too familiar with your couple’s culture, it is better to ask and discuss. As a photographer, you are not always expected to know about every religious or cultural nuance but discussing these things before the wedding day could help you anticipate them and capture them the right way.
4. Create a Timeline
The next important thing to add to your wedding photography preparation checklist is a wedding day timeline. Some timelines are easy to create – especially when the couples are getting ready in a hotel they are getting married at, having their portraits session in the outside area, and going back inside for the reception. However, not all weddings are so simple. You will find that there will be some weddings where the bride is getting ready at an ancestral home, the ceremony is at a church, and the reception might be at a whole different location. Navigating through such weddings could get tricky without a pre-planned timeline. In a wedding that requires you to be at multiple locations, you will also have to consider the time needed to move around from one location to another while creating your timeline.
Now that you have an idea of what to include in your wedding day timeline, you can share the timeline with your couple too. They might ask you for some modifications, and therefore, it’s better if you get this part done as soon as possible. You might not always be able to strictly follow your planned timeline, but it’s good to have an idea about the different activities that are to take place at the wedding.
Suggested Read: How To Create Your Ultimate Wedding Photography Timeline
5. Consider Sharing the Load
Another important thing to keep in mind while doing wedding photography planning is deciding whether you require a second shooter or not. Every photographer works differently, and every wedding has different requirements. Perhaps you want a second angle while covering the ceremony or the grand exit. Moreover, a second shooter can also help you achieve the divide and conquer strategy. For example, if you are photographing the couple and their wedding party, they could be photographing the guests. A second shooter can essentially help to share the load during bigger weddings.
Additionally, you could also consider taking an assistant along. Note that an assistant is different from a second shooter. They can help you with basic day-to-day activities such as managing and carrying your gear or if you need assistance with off-camera lighting. They can help you run your wedding day timeline smoothly by taking care of all the behind-the-scenes things while you focus on photography.
6. Prepare a Wedding Day Shot List
A wedding day shot list is another essential part of a wedding photography preparation checklist. It is an absolute must since you can always refer to it on the wedding day to stay on track and keep a check on what you have covered and what is left. Creating the ultimate shot list often begins by asking the bride and groom about the type of images they wish to include. After that, you can curate your shot list according to the information the couple has provided and get back to them.
Related Read: The Ultimate Wedding Photography Shot List For You
Planning and preparation are one way of ensuring that everything goes as intended when it comes to the flawless execution of the wedding day. You have to juggle multiple tasks on a wedding day, and having a checklist can help keep you sane and, most importantly, help you stay on track with all the activities.
At ShootDotEdit, we look forward to helping you grow as a professional wedding photographer – whether it is by providing resourceful tips such as these or by taking care of photo editing. Learn more about how we can help you here.