The photographic coverage usually starts at the Bride‘s house or at the hotel where preparation is taking place, usually a couple of hours before the Ceremony is due to begin. During this time, I don’t pose the shots – it’s usually a nice morning spent with very close family and friends and it’s important that you enjoy this time – I will simply record what’s happening. The only moment where I might take some posed shots is at the end of the preparation as it’s a good opportunity to catch some nice relaxed shots of the Bride, by herself or with her Bridesmaids or family – I find these last shots of the Bride as a ‘single woman’ work very well when I’m preparing the slideshow or the album after the event, as they really add to the story of the day. However, they are not a must and I leave it up to the Bride to decide if she’d like to do this or not – it generally takes about 15 minutes.
After that, I will get moving as I’ll need to be at the Ceremony venue (Church or other) 15 minutes before the ceremony begins so that I can begin to introduce that location into the portfolio, with pics of the flowers, decorations and some guests. And of course the Groom and his boys! Don’t worry Guys – this doesn’t take more than 5 or 6 minutes…
From then on, the Celebrant will take over and I will be shooting the key moments of the Ceremony discreetly and will make every effort not to distract or interfere in the Ceremony in any way. I will shoot the couple signing the register and making it all official, and then, if the venue allows it, I love to take a group shot right there before everyone gets moving again.
After that the happy couple will walk back down the aisle as man and wife to congratulations from their family and friends at the door of the venue / Church – I will take as many shots as I can of this and it will be recorded as it happens, with no need to pose.
If the Ceremony venue is suitable , I strongly recommend taking any family photos there straight after the Ceremony. In advance of the day, it’s important to consider who should be in those important photos and I will ask you for a list for reference on the day to make sure we capture them – this usually doesn’t take longer than about 20 minutes but that will depend on the number of photots needed. Taking these shots at the Ceremony venue really saves time – doing this at the reception can be very time consuming as everyone has to be tracked down, which will keep you away from your guests far longer than necessary.
Once the family photographs have been taken, it’s fun time! I will usually go with the Bride, Groom and Bridal Party to a location chosen by the couple, for a few shots of everyone in different poses (10 to 15 minutes). After that, the Bridal Party moves off to the reception venue (hotel or other), while the newly weds remain for those romantic shots – again this takes around 15 to 20 minutes. As I say about any of my posed sessions, this is not obligatory but I do recommend this approach – it ensures we get the shots in a special spot and, allowing everyone to go to the reception venue before the couple, makes for that big arrival!
Following this plan, we would then arrive at the reception venue with absolutely nothing left to do but Celebrate! Everybody will be free to enjoy themselves and I will be there to document it. I will, of course, take any posed shots the couple asks me to.
If you have chosen to have standard coverage, I will stay with you to capture the celebrations until everyone sits down for the meal. If you have chosen ‘extended’ coverage, I would stay until after the meal to capture the Cake Cutting, Speeches and the First Dance – usually until around 9.30/10pm. I highly recommend including this extended coverage to really capture the celebrations in full swing – those photos of guests laughing at speeches and of the flock to the dancefloor are often the most popular, and if you think you’d like an album, they would really add to the story.
So that’s it. I hope it gives you an idea of how things might run!