I think it’s human nature to have a couple regrets after planning such an important event in your life… I know I had a couple regrets about my wedding, including never having a first look, and not relishing the fact more that ALL our friends and family were present to support US, and that’s all that REALLY mattered in the end. Instead I let stress get the best of me in some ways.
I want to help cut down the stress factor for you and your love, so today I’m sharing tips for planning your wedding photography timeline. Taking these mistakes into consideration and avoiding them will ultimately make you happier and less stressed on the big day (when SO much is going on). And if you’re happier, I’m happier 😉
7 Common Mistakes Couples Make When Planning Their Wedding Photography Timeline
1. Not allowing enough time for getting ready and hair and make up. This is the most common time a schedule starts to fall off track. If you think it will take 2 hours for hair and makeup, allow 3. Bridesmaids can be late, you could forget an accessory, etc. Allowing yourself extra time at the beginning of the day will be helpful in the event it’s needed then or later on.
2. TRAFFIC!!! There is always tons of if in Chicago, and it always seems to be inconsistent. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to get downtown, other times it can take 45. Allowing for extra travel time on your wedding day is a good idea. In fact, it’s a GREAT idea.
3. Taking pictures at the wrong time of day and/or not having any open shade. Of course everyone wants it to be beautiful and sunny on their wedding day… But what many people don’t know is that between 12-3 (depending on the time of year) when the sun is high in the sky, it is the WORST time of day to take photos unless there is some shade nearby. Why? Because when the sun is overhead and it’s not a cloudy day, it casts some of the ugliest, harshest shadows on your face. Not to mention everyone will be squinting. On a cloudy day, the clouds act as a HUGE diffuser to give nice even light for portraits so if it’s cloudy on your wedding day, don’t fret. Those clouds will actually make you look amazing! If pictures must be taken during the middle of the day (and this is often the case), just make sure to chat with your photographer about finding a place that has nice, even, open shade so you don’t have to be standing in the bright sun for all your photos.
4. Not scheduling enough time for your couple’s shoot. I know it’s easy to think that you only need 15-20 minutes to take photos with you and your partner, but this day only happens ONCE so I love it when couples agree to scheduling more time for this. Scheduling more time for your couple’s shoot will allow you to have some private, relaxed, and fun time together on a very hectic day. This is also why a First Look is a great idea… Treat yourselves to a little QT before all the craziness ensues. You won’t regret it, I promise!
5. Having a huge family formals list and/or not enough time to get them completed. I usually recommend 10-12 family formal groupings to keep things moving smoothly. Often times the family formal photos don’t make it into the wedding album so I suggest combining sets of images that would usually be individual to save time. For example, if you have 4 siblings, rather than have individual photos with each one, doing a combined group shot will make Mom happy, and save on time. So instead of having 4 separate photos, your smiling faces can be seen together in 1. And everyone stays happier…haha. If having many family formal photos is very important to you, just make sure to talk with your photographer about building enough time into the schedule to complete them. I was once shooting a wedding where the church ladies literally KICKED US OUT of the church and we couldn’t finish the list. Of course this wasn’t something within our control, but having a more succinct list could have avoided this issue.
6. Spacing out reception events with too much time in between. Many times couples will elect to enter their reception, cut the cake, have first dances, and then speeches right away. This is really helpful because it ensures the photographer will be able to cover all important events you’d like photographed. A common problem I see couples run into is that their photography coverage is scheduled to end before an important event takes place (such as first dances). This is because it’s not uncommon for dinner to run late pushing the entire timeline back. Choosing to have most major events at the reception take place prior to dinner will help avoid this. If you wait to have important events until after dinner is finished, you could be faced with making the decision to hire your photographer to stay longer, or having them leave and and not have images of an important part of the day.
7. Counting on capturing important/must get family/friend shots at the reception. Once the reception starts and people start mingling and partying, it will become much more difficult to get groups together for photos. My recommendation is to get ALL important/can’t miss shots PRIOR to the reception so you and your love are off duty and can just enjoy yourselves!! Of course we’ll be there getting all the action and documenting the celebration, but if there’s an image that you MUST have, be sure to get it before things start to get crazy! If there are pictures that you’d like but you won’t die over not having, planning to do them at the reception is fine.
Are you getting married and looking for a wedding photographer? Drop me a line if you think we’d be a good fit. Alternatively, if you know someone getting married and think this post would be helpful, I’d love for you to share it with them!