Getting Candid With Your Camera Man/Woman: The Conversations You Should Have With Your Photographer Before The Big Day

Photographing weddings for the past 6 years and planning one with my fiancé (now wife) three years ago has given me a valuable inside perspective on both sides of the lens. Here I’ll discuss the conversations you should have with your photographer before your wedding and what to expect between booking and the big day.

So if you’re like me, or most of my clients you may have met your photographer once or not at all. Despite the fact your photographer may be a complete stranger to you it is so important to be brutally honest with him/her. This means spilling the beans on possible family drama i.e. my father and mother are divorced and it was hard enough to get them in the same room, this way your photographer isn’t trying to bring them together in a photo. So if your family has rifts or rivalries reminiscent of the Montagues and Capulets let your photographer know, they are there to help the day run smoothly and can help relieve familial tension by letting the guests remain in their cliques.

Likewise are there people attending that you do not want to have a ton of photos of when you look back at your wedding photos? Maybe your little sister has an on again off again boyfriend who’s a real jerk and you don’t want him in a ton of photos even though you want your sister in a lot of photos? Your photographer can help with that too.

On the other hand, Aunt Sally may have come into town for your wedding and you haven’t seen her in four years. Aunt sally and you were always very close and you want to get some great photos of her at your wedding. Let your photographer know if there are those special people you really want to capture the day of. At my wedding I had an uncle who was able to make it even though he lived 5 states over, was battling stage four Cancer and was given six months to live. It was important to my wife and I to capture moments of him at our wedding as we sadly were unsure of when or if we may see him again. I know this is sad but it is also very common, brides often have a grandparent or great grandparent that are able to make a cameo appearance at the wedding but sadly that might be the last big family event they attend and photos from the wedding will surely be cherished after they are gone.

Okay lets recap, so to get the best wedding photos your going to tell your photographer about any family feud’s so he can keep those parties separate, tell him/her about people to avoid in shots and about the people to focus on. This brings me to my next recommendation, which is to appoint a family member or someone from the bridal party to show the photographer who these people are. You are going to be so busy the day of and should spend as much time as you can soaking it all up THIS IS YOUR WEDDING DAY after all! So make sure you have a confidant who can point out your little sisters jerky boyfriend, Aunt Sally and your ailing uncle who made it to your big day despite all the odds stacked against him.

Finally, I’m sure you’ve seen printable lists available online of the “must have” shots or you’ve read articles recommending to make one. Well I’m here to tell you to lighten up the list. If your photographer is experienced he/she will know to get shots of the first dance, cake cutting and garter toss. You don’t need to weigh down the photographer with a hefty list of must have shots rather allow them to use their artistic eye to catch those magical moments that they could miss if they’re too worried about a laundry list of family portraits and other obvious must have shots. Save the must have shot list for moments the photographer may not know are going to happen for example you and your fiancé took dance lessons before the big day and he’d going to dip you at the end of the dance or your going to go dirty dancing style and he’s going to lift you over his head (partially joking here as my wife surprised me with a full on sprint expecting me to lift her when the song “time of our lives” came on). Or also in our instance my wife had a special locket on her bouquet with a picture of her father who had passed away in it and some of his ashes were spread at our ceremony site. It is these types of unique meaningful events that you really want to let your photographer in on and include on your must-have shots lists.

So there you have it my recommendations for getting great shots on your wedding day. To summarize your photographer should know just about as much as your best friend does about your family even though you may be meeting them for the first time on the day of your wedding. The more he/she knows about the ins and outs of the family, guests and those little surprises you have for everyone on your big day (think the dance lessons and dip) the better the photos will turn out. Which after all the dust has settled, the flower arrangements have wilted and the hair and makeup has given way to all the dancing it is your wedding photos that will live on and are arguably the most important investment on your wedding day.


Ryan + Emily Burhop

of emry

We are wedding photographers for those who believe in love, because Emry originated out of love. Love for each other, for imagery and for creating things that were made to last. We serve southern California & beyond. Outside of photography, our life revolves around our son, Jude and our families.

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