Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Luna, Jun 12, 2008.
Hey Luna. Just chiming in because I'm set to get married next year.
First and foremost, contract and clear understanding of it. My fiance and I had our photographer draft out 3 contracts because of missing items and clarity issues. (One of which was that she forgot we promised her and her assistant a meal :mrgreen
You've already mentioned a lot of the things our photographer asked us for, but you might want to ask how big the wedding party is. Also, consider attending the wedding rehearsal so you are more familiar with the venue and sequence of the ceremony.
As for the rings, maybe right after the ceremony... with the ink still wet on the marriage license?
It's not much, but I hope it's a start.
-Sit down with the bride and groom, discuss what sort of pictures they would like, any special requests, unusal poses, etc.
-If they have a wedding planner, sit down with him/her and cover all of the details about where, when, etc (if not then the bride)
-Make sure you visit the venues before hand if you possibly can, find good shooting positions, get an idea of which lenses you will want to use from which positions, do some test shots to check for light, shadow etc
-Check with the venues to make sure there are no limitations on what you can and can't do (eg a reception hall that won't allow you to use tripods because they mark the floor)
-If you're not already intimately familiar with the where the different venue(s) may be, drive them in advance so you know exactly where they're going
-As far as the rings go, that's something I would arrange ahead of time, but yes, during the meal sounds like a good idea to me.
I know that's pretty much just restating what you said, hopefully I added a little detail, and good luck!
When my sister got married one of her friends acted as an unofficial wedding organizer, they traded cell phones so anyone who called about flowers, cake, limos, and the photographer all talked to him, after all the bride has a lot to take care of for herself, he was also the one who would help round up the wedding party, parent, grandparents, etc for formal. It can really help if you have a person like this or maybe the best man to help get all the right people in the right place, they are likely to know most of the wedding party and relatives a little better than you, plus this keeps all of the stress off of the bride and groom. Organization is key, so someone like this can help, also this lets you shoot one group while the best man/ coordinator is asking the next people to get ready.
I know that much of this could be handled by a photographers assistant, but when working alone, politely asking for this cooperation can go a long way, plus when that best man or coordinator gets married, he knows a really nice photographer.
There is the basic information like you said; names, dates, times, locations, phone numbers etc.
You may also get them to make a list of group shots or important shots. This can be tricky because you don't want them to give you 200 "must have" shots...you want to have some freedom for creativity...but it does help to know what family group shots that they want so that you/they don't have to figure that out on the big day.
A big aspect of a pre wedding meeting, is laying out the itinerary of the day. You will want to know how much time you have for photos. Actually, it's best if you tell them how much time you need...and I suggest that you over estimate this and get as much time as you can...because something always comes up and your photo time always gets squeezed.
It's also important (IMO) that you use this time to get to know your clients and make them comfortable with you. People look better in photos when they are comfortable in front of the camera and it helps if they don't have a 'stranger' behind the camera. This is why I always try to do an engagement shoot, even if I throw it in with the wedding package.
I use the meeting to go over the contract...which should cover a lot of questions that I or they might have. As mentioned, it's also a good idea to ask questions about the venue and it's 'house rules'. If they don't know, I would suggest that you find out yourself so there are no surprises. If I can, I will attend the rehearsal and talk to the official at that time.
As for rings...do it when you can...but make sure you talk about it before. A lot of people won't want to take them off after they have been put on.
If possible, I like to get ring & detail shots in the morning, before the ceremony.
First I used to have a form that asked all the stuff you stated and more including directions from one venue to the other and names of the entire wedding party it was not the easiest thing to make but you can get some of this info from other photographers sites they sometimes have thiskind of thing thier. You can also try Googling "wedding photographer forms" or something like that and see what you get. As for rings it the 7 years I shot weddings I have always done the rings exactly when you said, during dinner when you have some downtime (after you very quicklu scarf down your dinner) and in all that time I have never once had someone refuse to remove their rings for me. I would not stress too much about this though if something happens this is a shot that can be reshot at ant time if it really becomes an issue (I have never had to do this).
For Hispanic weddings, you might ask about any traditions during the ceremony, such as the coins and lasso (double rosarie placed over bride & groom). These are important parts of the Mass as is the breaking of the glass during a Jewish ceremony.
Photo the coins & container (alone and with presenters) and the lasso(alone and with with Padrinos) before the wedding sometime. I also photograph the rings alone at this time and then on their fingers over a floral arrangement as I put closure on the job.
It's amazing how much information you need to gather before a wedding and I keep adding things as I go along - it makes it SO much easier.
For instance, who is walking the bride down the aisle? Will there be a receiving line? Are people divorced? If they are - will they be photographed together? When will the cake be cut?
I ALWAYS at least call the church and talk with the officiant to see if there are any restrictions and I ALWAYS go the the ceremony/reception sites before hand to check out the areas. I try to go to the rehearsals too.
I also give out little time cards to the whole bridal party during the rehearsals that breaks down the time frame of the whole day - so they have no excuses. They know when people are being photographed and where they should be. Although they don't always work, it doesn't hurt to try.
As far as rings, I take the rings at the end of the night when the party is dying down. It's usually the last thing I do before I leave.
If you want, PM me your e-mail address and I can send you a questionaire I go over with brides and grooms that asks a bunch of questions. It's a good starting place.
I have created a few forms and when I meet with the bride and groom I fill them out and ask the questions.
I have a 'details' form that specifies wedding party, location and time, special requests, parents and grandparents, siblings, officiant, planner, yada yada. The more you know and the more personal you get, the better.. on a rapport stand point. AND on a preparation stand point. The special request questions is extremely important because you want to know what types of things they want so you can fulfill and exceed and make them happy clients that refer you lots of business! One of my questions even asks the bride/groom to describe themselves in three words. I want to know who I'm shooting. Sounds cheesy but it helps me.
Separate names with a comma.