So you’ve got your vendors planned out, and things are coming together. You’ve met with and talked to your photographer (who may or may not be me), and they start asking you about a timeline. Chances are, you haven’t gotten that far yet and you have no idea how much time is enough for photos. It’s confusing and a fine line between a happy bridal party, and a bored cranky one. Allow me to help!
I know that bridal party portraits can be rough, believe me I’ve had my fair share of crews that were rowdy before I even got there! Sometimes that’s the fun of it. Sometimes it feels like herding small cats around a giant field blindfolded. You get the idea. I’m going to talk about me personally, and my shooting style. This will differ photographer to photographer, so make sure to find out exactly what you’re working with.
I like to start right after the receiving line, gathering all the family members on my list that I grab before the wedding day. I try to stick to 10 groupings, keeping it to immediate family. We always have time for those big groups at the reception! So, we’ve got everyone gathered and we star family formals. I try my best to get those done and over with within 20 minutes. I know it sounds crazy. Most of the time we’re at a church and they’re waiting for us to leave so I keep that in mind. Once we’re done it’s time to say farewell for a bit to grandma and off we go for bridal party.
Here’s where it gets fun. These might be already done! If you share a first look before your ceremony, chances are we had time to grab those bridal party photos then! Think of all the time you just saved! Now I know it’s not for everyone, and some people want to stay traditional, so let’s continue as that is the plan. Taking into account how big your bridal party can help determine how much time you’ll need. Also-don’t forget to add in travel time! That’s the one thing that I find myself reminding couples!! I wish we could just appear in places, however my letter from Hogwarts has yet to come and I fear it will never so cars/driving will have to do. A safe amount of time, if the location is on the way or close to your reception/ceremony venue, would be around 30-45 minutes. That ensures that you get enough photos of everyone together, each side, a few different groupings, and individuals with the bride/groom. Sometimes this takes more like 20 minutes, and sometimes it takes more. Refer back up to that cat analogy for clarification.
By now, you may be saying Sam we’re tired. We do not want to take any more photos. I get it. Trust me. However, I am here to tell you that if you give me 30 minutes, I can make magic happen. That’s all I need and I can be a magician. Obviously if you give me more than that we can just create more and more magic and I’ll probably squeal behind my camera but I know that it may be hard to convince your brand new spouse for just a few more. The moment we start with just the 3 of us though, I don’t know what happens but the moments just come and I can pull 5 more minutes out of you 3 more times. Think about it this way. This is most likely the first time you get to be alone as a newly married couple. I mean like hours into this merge and you’re finally alone. Of course you can’t wait to dance and eat and grab a beverage and see all of your friends and family, but you deserve time to just be with one another. Kiss. Hold each other. Laugh. Cry. Let me guide you here and there into a nuzzle or a cute little lift and have some fun. These are the portraits that your children will see. These are the ones you print and frame nice and big in your first home. These are so important.
If that last paragraph still doesn’t convince you to give me an extra 30 minutes, what about sunset portraits? You take a few just married photos, and head into your cocktail hour. You grab some yummy food and share your first dance. As you look outside you notice that the sun is setting and it’s just beautiful. The perfect way to begin the rest of your lives together. THIS IS THE TIME I’LL COME RUNNING OVER! By now, I’ve waled all around your venue outside and I’ve found the spot. The perfect spot just outside where that glow is like butter and I’m going to ask you if you want to come out with me, get some air, and take a break. Say yes. Let me take you outside. This wedding day is about your families coming together, and celebrating the love you share. It’s also about the two of you and your connection. The spark that dives deep into your souls. You’re feeling comfy now, maybe some hair pins are falling out or a jacket is unbuttoned, but you’re comfy. It’s then that I can convince you to snuggle in and steal kisses, walk hand in hand back and forth in the glow. Slow dance in the grass. Hold on to one another like you could freeze that moment forever. Luckily for you I can do just that.
Make the time for romantic portraits. Please. Not for me, even though I adore them and tear up as I look through my lens and see you two there. Do it for you. Do it for later when you get into your first big fight. You’ll look up on the wall and see this photo, and the anger will fade. Do it for when you’re away on a work trip and you’ve left your other half at home. They miss you, but every time they walk through the hallway the relive those moments and the pain is a little less until you’re home. Do it for one another. After all, that’s part of what this thing called marriage is about right?
February 11, 2020