Happy Wedding Wednesday! My wedding contributor, Lindsey Boyce of Host & Haven, is back with another incredibly insightful and helpful wedding post today that is all about wedding photography! When you imagine your dream wedding, I bet wedding photography is one of the main components you think about. I bet you even follow some wedding photographers on Instagram and you might wonder how the whole wedding photography process works. Lindsey is spilling everything you need to know so keep reading! For more on Lindsey and her career (she planned my wedding!), head to this post for a proper introduction. Enjoy the post! xx Jillian
Hi Friends! So now that we have been talking all things wedding, I thought it would be a good idea to drill into specifics on one of the most important vendors; the photographer. Hands down, this will be one of the bigger decisions that you make around the big day, so let me try to help answer a few common questions I hear from clients.
Wedding Photography Questions Answered
Can you walk me through digital vs. film?
In my opinion, the imagery you get from film is exactly as it is in that moment. It allows for more detail in the range of moment to be captured. While you can edit a digital image in the direction you want, film is requiring the photographer to have a very skilled sense of light exposure, surrounding conditions etc. They really have one chance for the shot, so it needs to be perfect. That being said, most film photographers I know will also back up the shot with taking a few digital photos as well. There is a certain romance to film, and I think, for a lot of photographers, this would be a badge of honor to be comfortable shooting in this medium.
On the other side of the coin, there is digital. Digital photography can get closer range megapixels, so very detailed shots that can be very large. There will be photographers that started out in digital and they have formed their craft around it. They will be experts in this field.
Credit: Simply Sarah Photography
Is one method better than the other?
While I do think film requires additional skill, it will really boil down to the skill of the photographer. How are they capturing the shot? How are the angles? The end result has so much more to do with the photographer than their medium.
Also, keep in mind that a film photographer is relying on the light/sun, so if you have a night time reception or something indoors, this really won’t be a benefit to your day. You are definitely working around the sun for film, so you need to consider the sunset schedule, time of ceremony, and when pictures will actually take place before you commit.
Can you break down the role of a second shooter?
Okay, so this question goes hand and hand with some of the information above. If you are looking for a film photographer, most likely the second shooter is more of an assistant. They can grab some of the images in a different location, but they are most likely helping the photographer load the film and scout. Film comes in small rolls of 16 to 24, so it has to be changed out frequently.
On the other hand, sometimes the second shooter can play a larger roll. Here is what Virgil Bunao had to say about the topic:
Second shooters main advantage is time. They typically shoot the groom and his men and his family before the ceremony which allows the primary shooter to spend more time with the bride and her side. This helps a lot especially when we typically have multiple locations that we need to cover. They also offer a second angle during the ceremony and reception to cover immediate moments that are happening when I can’t cover it because I can’t get there fast enough. They are also a great resource when coordinating first look or if I need someone to shoot decor and cocktail hour because I am at the ceremony at the church and we have a very tight timeline.
Credit: Virgil Bunao
If I like a photographer’s style, but the pictures feel a little dark, can I ask them to shoot a little lighter?
Honestly, you can ask, but I don’t think it’s going to work out the way you want. A photographer’s style (if well established) will shine through. You will have to work double time to try and change their mold.
Is the old saying that “a cloudy day makes for great pictures” true?
In my experience, 9 times out of 10 on a very bright day we are looking for shaded spots for photos. You don’t want choppy light rays/sun spots coming through, so the overcast coverage could absolutely help expand locations that will work for your day. A little advise here… try to be really open to locations within your venue that will work on YOUR day. Try not to just look at what you have seen on the internet, because there is no way to know for sure what your light exposure will be on your day. You can tell your team things that you like, but you need to give them trust that they will find the best place to get the images. You can hire the best team in the world, but they still cannot predict the weather. Don’t put that kind of pressure on anyone, including yourself. Just know it will be the best version of your day possible. Let that be the mindset you keep!
Credit: Virgil Bunao
How do I figure out how many hours I need for the big day?
Great question. The first step for me is to usually look when sunset is. The next question would be to the client on whether they are going to see each other ahead of the ceremony. Then, we are looking at ceremony time requirements, such as a church. So, let’s go through an example:
If I know the sun sets at 6:30pm and that the client is not wanting to see each other ahead of the ceremony, then I know I need at least 1 hour of light after the ceremony for photos. So in this case, I would be asking for a 5pm ceremony time if it will last about 15-20 minutes. If it’s a catholic full mass, I would be suggesting 4pm or earlier for the ceremony. I then back up the day from the ceremony time and then back down into the reception time.
Here is an example timeline
2pm – Bride getting dressed, hair and make-up complete, getting ready photos
2:30-3:30pm – Pre Ceremony photos with bride and her side and groom and his side (l’m leaving extra room in case the main photographer likes to shoot everything). Take as much ahead of time as you can if you don’t have a lot of light
3:30-4:30 – detail shots of ceremony/cocktail/reception if ready
4:30pm – Guest Arrival
5pm -5:20pm – Ceremony
5:20-5:35pm – Large family photos
5:35-6:30 – Bride and groom photos/cocktail hour
6:45pm – 7pm – Introductions and Dances
7:15 – 8:30pm – Seated Dinner
8:30pm – Cake Cutting
11pm – Reception Ends, Sparkler Exit
Okay so in this example you can see we are looking at about 9 hours.
If you won’t have a reception longer than say 10pm, you would be at 8 hrs. If having to have all of this worked out in the beginning is stressful to you, then just sign your contract for an 8 -hour timeframe, but please keep in mind you might have the added expense of extra hours down the line. Do not ask your photographer to shoot extra time at no cost later on. I’m sure you don’t work for free, so that should not be the expectation for anyone else.
This timeline is a very typical example of a southern wedding. In the north, you might have a 2 hour break between the ceremony and the reception that could very much alter what you are looking at. But no matter what, it’s a very important exercise to do in the beginning and will help a ton with all vendor contracts being correct.
Credit: Rachel Red Photography
The photographer I love is double my budget. What should I do?
When you work with a planner/designer and you have told them your overall budget, they will then try and breakdown budget goals for each area. Most planners/designers will not send you to someone that is double your budget unless you inquire about someone specifically. Once you figure out the pricing you are looking at, you will have to decide what’s best. Assuming you cannot “borrow” from other areas of the budget, because it’s rarely set up with that much fluff, it will just be a matter of whether you are willing to spend the extra money.
Try to think of the whole wedding like this… It will be the best version of what you want within your given budget. That simple. Don’t over compare, just be content in that space. I promise you will be happier taking this approach vs. constantly comparing to things out of your range.
Hope all of this is helpful! Please leave comments with additional questions you may have and I will happily answer!