Schedule the engagement session at your wedding ceremony or reception location
I love photographing my clients’ engagement sessions. Although wedding photography is primarily my thing, most of my couples later learn that having done an engagement session with me is super helpful in getting familiar with a more photojournalistic approach rather than the traditional “smile and look at the camera” all the time.
Brynne and Don’s April wedding ceremony will be at Clark Chapel in Pomfret, CT. Brynne’s concern was the quality of images inside the dark chapel. There’s a lot of mixed lighting, meaning there are different sources of light giving out different shades of color. It’s a beautiful church, and so we want our wedding images to be beautiful too, and to look exactly what your eye sees in real life! So we planned part of the engagement photos to be taken inside the chapel.
I will be putting my color gels on my flash, which will be placed upstairs in the balcony. I can’t wait to be photographing their earth day, elephant-themed wedding at the Mansion at Bald Hill!
Photographer can visit the areas for photography prior to the wedding day
Within a week or a few days before the wedding, I like to scope out some locations for photography to what I’m up against. The engagement session was done months prior to the wedding at a different time of year, so I’m glad that I stopped by the chapel to scope out the grounds again. I found the spot for our first look, and have to keep in mind a couple of areas in the background to avoid getting into the shots, because it looked like they were working on landscaping in one area of the church.
Of course I can still scope out spots on the day of the wedding, but if I check out the ceremony and reception locations prior, I am at total peace on the wedding day. If I’ve shot at a location before, sometimes venues change things around, so it’s often neat to find out what is different.
If I have a good idea of where spots for portraits will be, I also can inform my clients, and second photographer, where certain photos will be done so that things can move swifter and more smoothly. At least, that’s the goal! Sometimes things happen, so I also have to expect the unexpected.
On the wedding day, there are so many things going on, that I don’t want to waste time. Most of the time, wedding portraits are done within an hour or so before sunset. The sun goes down so fast, or sometimes the weather changes. Luckily, on Brynne and Don’s wedding day, we planned the day so that there will be a little less than an hour for portraits of just them during cocktail hour. It sounds like plenty of time, but time flies so fast.
When I visited the reception location for their portraits, at the Mansion at Bald Hill, I looked at some areas during the same time of day as when the photos will be done. I made notes about a nice pathway around the grounds for a variety of photos. I like to photograph movement and emotion, so for the wedding I have a general idea of where I’d like the second photographer to be based on where the sun will be.
These photos were taken during “golden hour” which is an hour before sunset. Sometimes, the wedding day doesn’t always have these golden rays of sun, so it’s nice to actually get some of these gorgeous, once-in-a-lifetime photos in the engagement session.
Get in touch with wedding vendors prior to the wedding day
I’m a fan of communication! One plus side to hiring a professional wedding photographer, is that they often will contact other wedding vendors before the wedding, whether it be just an introduction, or sharing of the wedding day timeline. It’s nice when the DJ, wedding planner, photographer, videographer, are all on the same page about your wedding day plans. I’m sure even florists appreciate confirmation of the location and time, because they have to make sure flowers are delivered on time for either first look photos or ceremony.
Preparing for the wedding the day (or two) before!
And finally, there are so many other things that I do as a wedding photographer to help prep for the big day. Here are a few things I like to do to prepare BEFORE working a wedding!
- clean and prep camera gear (charge all batteries, format cards, check settings on cameras, check equipment function)
- finalize wedding day timeline or notes
- make the list of the order for family groupings for photos
- review wedding party member names, vendors’ names
- review favorite engagement photos and “poses”
- check the weather, make rain plans if needed
- check the tires on my car, fill up with gas
- call or text the bride and groom the day before to make sure they have my number or have any last minutes questions