Over the past 5 years, Ben and I have filmed and photographed almost 100 weddings. Amongst the pines, on the beach, in paddocks, vineyards an even an old shearing shed. With a guest lists from 2 (us!), to 200.
Whether big or small, no matter the location all weddings have one thing in common - timing is everything!
While Ben and I are very accustomed to working in difficult lighting situations, there are some things you can do to make sure we get the very best shots of your special day.
I always tell our couples, you can plan everything down to the second but 99% of weddings will not run perfectly on time.
Unfortunately if things run behind, the time lost usually comes out of your photo shoot (after all we can't have you entering your reception late and missing out on the party!!)
It is YOUR wedding day and we want to make sure it's the best day it can be!
Here are a few tips to help make that happen:
If you are having photos of you both getting ready, Ben & I will head to the grooms first, followed by the bride and then to the ceremony. Typically we allow 45mins to an hour with the guys and one to one and a half hours with the girls. Should you get ready in a hotel room / airbnb or your house?
Wherever you feel comfortable and wherever is most practical.
If you are both getting ready 30mins apart and the ceremony location is another 30mins from the brides location, that's a WHOLE HOUR you're missing out on photos and video! It may be best to book a hotel or airbnb to save the travel time, someone in your bridal party or even yourselves might like to stay there on the wedding night to save on costs.
Before We Arrive
Guys to be showered! Being in casual clothes when we arrive is fine, we'll let you know when to start getting dressed.
Make sure shirts are ironed (or steamed) beforehand. I can't tell you how many times we've spent half of our groom prep shoot waiting for the guys to iron their shirts haha
Removing any plastic or packaging from shoes, jewellery, ties, suits or dresses
Having dresses & suits on clear or wooden hangers (unless you want them photographed on wire hangers)
All your details like shoes, socks, rings, perfume/cologne, invitation etc grouped together in one spot so someone doesn’t have to go looking for them when we arrive. There's no need to arrange them for photos as we'll sort that when we get there!
Which is the room that lets in the most light and is large enough for you and your bridal party? (Usually it's the bedroom or lounge) Try and tidy up in this area if possible.
What time should our hair and makeup be finished? We suggest leaving at least 45 minutes between you all being finished and Ben & I leaving for the ceremony. This gives us enough time for some cute PJ shots, your bridesmaids to get dressed and then help you get ready and some beautiful portraits and even a parent first look if time allows.
Just a quick note about fake tan - please go easy ;) I love to edit with warm skin tones so if you or your girls are SUPER tanned, your man is either going to look SUPER white or you may look like an Oompa Loompa lol
If you'd like to do a first look or a reveal with your bridesmaids or parents (which always makes for some super sweet moments), let us know and we'll work this into the timeline
Unless your ceremony start time is determined by the venue, I’d highly recommend pushing your ceremony to later in the day. Trying to avoid the harsh midday sun, anytime from 4pm onwards in summer is ideal. You can absolutely ask us about this before you lock in your ceremony time, we're more than happy to help. As a general guide, shooting portraits one and a half to two hours before sunset is best. If you type "sunset time" followed by your wedding date and location into a search engine, you can work back from there. I’ve included a timeline breakdown at the end of this article.
We need to arrive at your ceremony 30 minutes prior if we're shooting video.
This gives us time to set up our tripod cams and audio and get some nice shots of your guests and ceremony details. This needs to be factored into your timeline also. Do you need a plan B if your ceremony is outdoors? YES. We cannot control the weather and it can literally rain any day of the year. It’ll be way less stressful for you if you do have a plan B. Should you have an unplugged ceremony? 1000 times yes!! In this day and age, getting photos as events happen or being the first to upload wonderful moments on social media is commonplace. BUT, there is nothing worse than walking down the isle (or looking back at your photos) and only seeing hands holding phones instead of smiling faces of your loved ones. You can get a lovely little sign made up letting guests know your ceremony is unplugged. Better still, ask your celebrant to announce it before the ceremony starts.
Can We Include Our Fur Babies?
HECK YES!! Haha ;)
As I'm sure you've noticed by now, Ben and myself are HUGE dog lovers, in fact we love ALL animals. There are so many great services that accomodate including your pet in your wedding day. The first thing to do would be to ask if your venue allows animals. If not, another great option is to include them at prep or have a friend or family member (or hire a pet wedding assistant) to bring them along to your photo shoot location for some family snaps!
One suggestion is to allow a little extra time during your photo shoot (as animals can be tricky to photograph and usually take a LOT of encouragement to get that perfect shot).
Also it's best to go into the day without any pre-conceived ideas of "that perfect photo", you know the one, where you're all looking at the camera "smiling"! Because as we know animals are unpredictable and some can be a bit camera shy. But rest assured we always take HEAPS of shots to make sure there's a few cute ones of you all together.
Congrats & Family Photos
I’d recommend allowing about 15-30 minutes for congratulations after the ceremony (depending on your number of guests).
Unless you have a tight timeline, I don’t recommend skipping on the congrats because these moments make for great photos and sometimes the only chance we have to catch a lovely candid moment of the majority of your guests. 30 minutes for family photos is ideal and gives us a little buffer time just in case the ceremony runs over. Make a list of groupings you’d like to have in your family photos. I recommend keeping it to family, and as a guide 8-10 groups maximum.
Start with a full extended family photo on each side, followed by grandparents and immediate family (parents & siblings) with a few variations.
While a seperate photo with each Aunty, Uncle and cousin may seem appealing, you will be VERY sick of having your photo taken and trying to wrangle people by the end of it haha. Assigning someone prior to the day who knows the majority of your family members (usually a sibling or someone in your bridal party) and giving them a copy of the list makes my job on the day much quicker and easier. If you have other groups you’d like to have photos with like school or work mates, I recommend taking these at reception. You can always grab me for photos at any time during the night.
The Group Shot
While we're totally open to getting a photo of all your guests after the ceremony, bear in mind that people after the first few rows are not always clearly visible and the lighting conditions aren't usually ideal. It also takes around 15 minutes to wrangle everyone.
I recommend getting a group shot if you have less than 60 guests.
The best time of the day for portraits is within the last hour or two before sunset when you get beautiful golden tones and even lighting.
If you're getting married in summer when sunset is later (7-7:30pm), consider having some photos with your bridal party after the ceremony, entering your reception and then ducking out for 15 minutes (just the two of you) for sunset.
Here are a few example photos of the difference in lighting the closer you get to sunset -
One and a half hours before sunset
Half an hour before sunset
It's also a great idea to arrange drinks and nibbles for you and your bridal party so you can refuel and enjoy yourselves.
If you'd like to do a champagne spray photo - make sure you bring a spare bottle!
How many locations? I’d recommend one or two. If you have too many you'll lose a lot of time getting you and your bridal party in and out of cars. We want this hour to be more about you all hanging out with some fun photo opportunities thrown in.
As long as we have good light, we can shoot anywhere! Don't get me wrong, an epic backdrop is GREAT but capturing your connection and love is what's most important to us. What if it rains during the portrait shoot? We'll make it work. Usually if it's forecast to rain we will bring along a few clear umbrellas and camera covers.
We will also find sheltered spots to photograph you if need be and FYI - rainy photos are AMAZING!
Usually your DJ/MC and your venue will be able to help with your reception timeline.
Once we know where you'll be getting ready, we can work out a timeline for you so you know when your coverage will finish to make sure all your formalities are covered.
When you have your speeches is up to you, however it's always much appreciated if you can give Ben and I 15 mins or so after your entrance to setup our cams and audio.
If you are having a friend MC and they will be sharing some personal thoughts or anecdotes upon your entry into the reception, please let us know so we can be ready to capture this! If it's just housekeeping straight up, that's totally fine :)
If you are wanting some dance floor action to finish up the story of your day, ask your DJ to play 3-4 popular tracks immediately after your first dance and encourage everyone to hit that D-floor! Songs that people know the words to and make you want to dance work well. This is the time everyone is itching to hit the dance floor and when we get the best shots.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON TIMING
Getting ready - 1 hour with the groom & 1.5 with the bride Pre-ceremony - Minimum 30 minutes for setting up cams and audio & shooting guests/details
Ceremony - Your celebrant will be able to help with this but typically 30mins from procession to signing Post ceremony - 15-30 minutes for congrats and 30 minutes for family photos
Portrait shoot - 1 hour minimum, 1.5 hours is ideal (longer if travelling elsewhere). Preferably leading up to sunset. Dance floor - Half an hour, or 3-4 kickass tracks post first dance
A timeline example for an April wedding (Sunset approx. 6pm)
*Not factoring in travel times between locations Groom prep 12:30-1:30pm
Bride prep 1:30-3pm
Ceremony 3:30-4pm Congrats and family photos 4-4:45pm Portrait shoot 4.45-6:15pm Wedding party entrance to reception 6.30pm
A timeline example for a December wedding (Sunset approx. 6:45-7pm)
*Not factoring in travel times between locations Groom prep 1-2pm
Bride prep 2-3:30pm
Ceremony 4-4:30pm Congrats and family photos 4:30-5:15pm Portrait shoot w/ bridal party 5:15-6:15pm Wedding party entrance to reception 6:30pm
Bride & groom sunset shots 7-7:20pm