I’m hoping to keep this a Sunday tradition over here on my blog…. so if you have any suggestions for topics please let me know!
Formals, Tips to Make Them Quick!
One problem I seem to run into again and again is that formals are taking a lot longer than the bride and groom budgeted time for and it is leaving less FUN time to play with me outside of the church. Most of you have booked me for my photojournalistic approach to your day and not for the posed shots that your Mom and Dad had when they got married. So, when your time gets cut short and we can’t play as much, I feel that you haven’t got what you paid for from me and you are sad at the end of the day because you didn’t get as many pics as you had hoped. Keep in mind that I do everything I can to get through the formals and to our play time – but without help from the bride and groom I can’t always guarantee that we can do it without arriving later at your reception than planned. So below are some tips from me to make sure we get our time together!
1. Add 30 minutes at least to the time you THINK it will take for pictures! Most brides and grooms think an hour after the ceremony ends is sufficient time to take pictures. However, most fail to realize that even with a grand exit, people never leave as quickly from the ceremony venue as you think they will. People get to chatting with friends and families and time goes by and you are still waiting for them to leave. Also, if you are doing a recieving line, that takes a LOT longer than you expect it will. I don’t think I’ve had a bride yet turn to me and say “gosh that went quick!.” Same thing with the formals before the ceremony, someone is always running late, someone didn’t get the right tux etc. You will be thankful for that half hour buffer!
2. Know your bustle! Another huge time consumer is the bustle. Practice it in the store at least twice and practice it again the day before or the day of so things run smoothly. Have at least two people that know how to do it incase one person is too busy when you want bustled. You may think it isn’t such a big deal now but that is probably one of the biggest time munchers!
3. Let Family Know Who is in the Pictures! Make sure that everyone knows before the big day if they are wanted or expected for formal pictures and when they are needed. This includes the bridesmaids and groomsman. Make sure if it is before, that everyone knows what time they have to show up READY by and if after, that they need to stay and not leave with the crowds. Most often grandparents leave because they didn’t count themselves as “immediate family” and then you have a shot at the reception with them but it’s not quite the same. So make sure EVERYONE knows that they are wanted.
4. End Pre Ceremony Formals 30 Minutes Before Arrival Time! Another huge time sucker is when guests start to arrive as we are taking our formals before the ceremony starts. It’s a temptation to talk to you, congratulate you and then start wanting pictures with you, their family and their friends. I am more than willing to take them – but each one of those shots you hadn’t planned on because Aunt Betsy wasn’t supposed to be there until an hour later will eat into your time you had set aside for pictures with your friends. If you say yes to their request for a picture, I cannot say no.
5. Have a Plan of Action! Going along with number 3 – have a plan of action of the set up of pictures that you want. I do not accept shot lists (the ring, the ring in my hand, the ring in his hand, him picking up the ring type lists) but what I do like are the lists that let me know the groupings that you want. Me and the bridesmaids, me and my parents type list. This then lets me know ahead of time where we need to start and how things need to roll. I will come up with how to pose you, but if I am already able to know that I need your family and the family dog, I will be that much ahead of the game making things run that much smoother.
6. Just Me… I really hate to say this, but I’m going to have to say it. To ensure that not only your formal pictures go fast but that also they are quality shots I do need to ask that you ask your friends and family to hold back their urge to take pictures alongside of me. Not only does this take extra time from your formals by having to wait on up to 20 people to take their shot of the pose (no kidding, it’s happened many times to me and other photographer friends) but the other problem is that almost 100% of the time when there are other people taking pictures I do not have all eyes looking at me for the pose. I can tell everyone to look at me but naturally you are going to most likely look at your camera, your best friend etc. than me – a virtual stranger. If this request makes your friends and family upset, I do at least ask that they wait until I am finished taking my shot. When they are shooting at the same time I am, their flashes can ruin my shot when my flash goes off at the same time making everyone ghost people.
7. Start Big, Go Small. My main goal is to whittle down the people staying afterwards for formals by taking the largest group shots first and allowing those people to leave as I work through the group. This way your guests can head on to the reception and it is less people to slow down the process. So make sure everyone knows that they’ll be staying for shots but they will be free to leave as soon as they are over so to plan carpooling accordingly. My goal is to end with just the group going out and taking the fun shots afterwards so if the bridal party is going with, let them know that they will be last for the formals in the church.
8. Ask the Expert! When you are drawing up your timeline for the day, feel free to call me, shoot me an email or whatnot to ask me how long you think you will need for formals. It all depends on your bridal party and family size for what I would suggest. Typically I say 1 hour for formals, 30-45 minutes for the fun shots (again depending on what you want).
Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope that maybe this helps your day run a bit smoother and enables you to have time to enjoy your husband and have some fun times with me!!