As photographers, we get to see everyone else’s work— it’s literally our job! We work at lots of different venues, with different bands, planners, designers, stationers, florists, cake bakers, etc… As a Mom or bride planning a wedding, I can only imagine that when evaluating who to hire for your own wedding, it’s easy to believe that across each vendor category that you’re comparing apples-to-apples. I hate to bare this news, and with great empathy I share that frustratingly that could not be farther from the truth. It makes planning a wedding sometimes more challenging than you’d like it to be. What makes one florist different than another? Or photographer? Who’s to say?!
As a photographer, we get to see everyone else’s work, but rarely do we get to watch other photographers on a wedding day. One role I’ve had the privilege playing fourteen times has been as a groomsman. If you were to ask me what one thing had a DRAMATIC impact on the experience of being in the wedding? Photographers. I was silently surprised to see how wide of a range there was across even just 14 weddings in the professionalism, composure, preparation, and execution of their craft. And price didn’t always equal quality.
What was one thing that impacted this experience? What is one thing you can do for yourself regardless of who is photographing your event to better ensure you get what you’re hoping for? A shot list! Below are a few recommendations and insight into our approach with our clients as to how we guide you towards really enjoying your wedding:
A FEW TIPS FOR DOCUMENTING YOUR WEDDING DAY DETAILS:
Work directly with your photographer to create the shot list. Your planner may help, but ultimately photographers are responsible for getting the shots!
Involve ALL important parties in the shot list decision making. This includes ALL parents.
Focus on people, groups, and highly-personal details for your shot list.
When possible, define the groups by a group name and not a long list of individual names.
When adding group photos to the shot list, think about who the pictures are for, and prioritize accordingly. It’s okay to say no if it feels redundant.
Communicate with potentially interested/involved parties what your decisions are. Everyone arrives at weddings with their own set of expectations.
For large family groups, designate a family captain to communicate whether or not you’re doing an extended family portrait. Some uncles don’t know to stay after the ceremony. Some aunts expect that these always happen. There is no rule of thumb, and it just helps to let everyone know either way.
If still undecided about whether to take a specific shot— think about how if you will share/display the portraits 10/20/30 years from now.
For details outside of friend and family groups, how extensive is the production surrounding the event? Are there any renderings or design boards that can prepare your photographer before we arrive?
If you (or your mom) has friend groups that are desired to get at the reception— designate a captain of the group to find the photographer and make it happen. Ask Sally to get the tennis group together for the MOB so that she doesn’t have to worry about it at the party. -or- have the band announce the sorority group to the dance floor, or everyone who went to the University of Texas if that is a shot you’d like!
I hope you found these helpful! As a John Cain Photography bride, our team works enthusiastically to ensure all expectations are exceeded and no family member is left saying, “I wish we had gotten a photo of ____.” For more tips and inspiration, see more from John Cain Everyday!