Thank you for trusting me to be your photographer on such an important day. There are many things to consider when planning a wedding and it can sometimes get a little overwhelming. I've put this guide together to help us along the way. It should answer many of the photography related questions you have [and possibly a few that you didn't think of yet].
We are in this together so reach out to me anytime you want to chat.
- Martin McMahon
You can update this form with your cell phone numbers along with the names and phone numbers of some of the key people involved with your wedding day. In some cases I may be reaching out to them ahead of time to introduce myself.
THE ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
[ aka: the warm-up ]
The perfect opportunity for us to get to know each other before the big day. We'll spend roughly three hours hanging out together at a location of your choice. It's normal to arrive a little nervous and unsure of what to expect. Just relax. I'll take good care of you!
Anytime before your wedding. Some people like to use the photos for a "save the date" so keep that in mind. Let's try to firm up the date at least one month before your desired date. If we can build a sunrise or sunset into your shoot that would be awesome. Mid-day sun is not great for photos.
Can you think of a location that is meaningful to you? The family barn. The lake where he proposed. The ice cream shop where you met. Perhaps you just want to walk around downtown and incorporate an urban backdrop. Or maybe you prefer nature. How about a location that allows for urban and nature?
WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR?
Grab your favorite dress, shirt, pants, superhero t-shirt...
If you love it, I love it. Consider wearing something that makes sense with the environment we are shooting in. Jeans at the beach? Mini-skirt for a hike? Nope. There is a good chance we will be doing a good amount of walking. Comfy shoes highly recommended.
Do you have a bridal party? If yes, please include the names of the lucky guys and gals on the form.
Putting together a realistic schedule is the key to success. Don't forget to factor in driving time between locations, snack breaks, pee breaks, and a few snuggle sessions along the way. It's your wedding after all, so make sure to enjoy it. In addition to the summary on the form, please feel free to share your detailed wedding day timeline with me. If there are any special traditions, ceremonies or events happening during the day, it would be awesome if I knew ahead of time.
[ recommended photography times included on the form ]
[ damn, you're looking good ]
Sit back, relax and get pampered. I finally get to meet your awesome bridesmaids and anyone else hanging out, and then it's time for me to get to work. Here are the three main things I'll be looking to photograph:
- Candids of hair, make-up, and anything else going on.
- Detail shots of rings, dress, shoes, etc... Please gather all these lovely items together.
- Putting on the dress. If mom or bridesmaids are helping they might want to get dressed before you.
There is typically nothing formal going on so just sit back and chill with your groomsmen. Have a drink, play cards, watch TV. You get the idea. When I arrive I'll snap off a few shots of whatever is going on and then eventually ask you and your boys to get dressed.
This is it. The big moment. Smile, laugh and cry. Don't hold back. If there is something unique about your ceremony please don't hesitate to let me know ahead of time. This could be a cultural tradition or perhaps a flash mob during the procession. You can use this form.
Some ceremony sites have certain "rules" regarding photography. This is generally not the case but it's a good idea to ask in advance. For example, they might say "no flash" or perhaps "only photos from the balcony". These rules are more common in churches. I'll take a moment to approach your officiant prior to the ceremony to introduce myself and ensure that I respect his/her requests. If you know of any specific rules please let me know in advance.
It's pretty common these days that people watch wedding ceremonies from the back of their phones or ipads. Some folks have decided to invite their guests to put their phones and cameras away and simply enjoy the moment. There is lots of info about this online if it's something you want to consider.
I can pretty much guarantee that these will be some of the most important photos for mom, dad and your grandparents. In many cases these are the ones that end up in a frame on a wall. So let's get it right. Here are my top 3 tips to a successful family portrait session...
Choose a location that is quick and easy to access after the ceremony. Often this ends up being outside the church or walking distance from the ceremony site. Having a back-up plan in case of rain is a good idea. It might be inside the venue or a sheltered area outdoors.
Designate 1 or 2 people to help with coordinating the mob. They can use your list to keep things moving along smoothly. This allows me to stay focused on creating awesome portraits while someone else runs after uncle Bob.
Make a list. Check it twice. Use this form to prepare a list of the various groupings you want captured. I recommend you try to keep it to roughly 10 groupings. You can plan on spending approximately 3 minutes per group.
THE BRIDAL PARTY PORTRAITS
[ girls on one side, boys on the other... or not. ]
Congratulations! You've survived the ceremony and family portraits. The rest of the day will be a walk in the park. My approach to bridal party portraits is simple. Get everyone together, in a good looking location, and blast off some shots of you guys looking good and having fun. Typically we'll shoot these photos in the same location as the bride and groom portraits. It's great to have some time put aside for a few nice shots with your bridal party but keep in mind that I'll also be looking to capture you and your party in a more candid fashion during the morning preparations and the reception. Shooters? Cigars? Just do your thing and I'll work my magic.
THE BRIDE + GROOM PORTRAITS
[ do not say cheese ]
Do you remember the awesome time we had during your engagement shoot? Well, all that practice is going to pay off. If all goes well we should have roughly one hour together to create some amazing portraits of just the two of you. One hour goes by very quickly so you can expect that I'll be kicking it up a notch to get the most out of our time together. All that I ask from you is that you have fun and go with the flow.
There are two big factors that will make a significant impact to the look and feel of your photos:
Urban? Park? Beach? If you are having trouble selecting a location let me know as I might be able to help you. Keep in mind that some locations may require a fee and/or a permit. If you are not sure it's probably worth finding out. If it looks like it might rain you should make sure that we have an alternative location in mind and consider bringing umbrella's. If possible, I typically try to check out the location prior to the wedding day to help get my creative juices flowing and be better prepared.
TIME OF DAY
Great photography is highly linked to great light. When you see a beautiful image with a warm glow seeping in through the trees behind the couple it most likely wasn't taken at 2pm. The best available light is typically late in the day as the sun is getting lower in the sky. The reality of most weddings however is that we end up having to schedule your portraits at a time of day when the light is less than ideal and that's okay. I can create some amazing portraits of the two of you in pretty much any light. And if you're up for it, we might also have an opportunity to sneak you out of the reception for a few minutes to grab a sunset portrait.
It's party time! There are always lots of fun things going on for me to photograph such as, the grand entrance, first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, speeches, cake cut, games, garter/bouquet toss, and any other activities you have planned. Here are a few things for you to consider that will impact photography during your reception:
Providing me with a rough schedule of the evening will help me remain prepared for what is coming up next. You can either include this as part of your detailed wedding day schedule or you can use this form to give me a general idea of what is happening and when.
Ambient lighting can make a big difference in the look of your reception photos. Candles on the tables, lighted centerpieces, up-lighting along the walls, coloured lighting, dance floor party lighting. You can google "wedding reception lighting" and see a bunch of photos with ideas. Typically the venue or a designer can take care of this for you.
CLOSE TO THE ACTION
If possible it can be advantageous to seat me relatively close to the action so that I can quickly jump out of my seat and get the shot. [ Assuming I end up getting a chance to sit ]
FUEL [ FOOD ]
It's going to be a long day for all of us and so I will need to eat to keep the energy level up. It would be greatly appreciated if you could feed me [and my assistant or second shooter when applicable]. This only applies to the dinner as I bring snacks and drinks to keep me going during the day. Thank you!!!
[ instant replay ]
Are you excited to see your photos? I am just as excited to show them to you!! But don't forget, after I leave your wedding I still have a lot of work to do before I can deliver the finished product to you. Depending on the time of the year here is a rough estimate of when you can expect to see your photos.
I will typically try to get one or two teasers up on Facebook within the first few days following your e-shoot. At some point in the next 4-6 weeks you can expect more teasers on Facebook and roughly 40 images [sometimes a little more] available for download through a private gallery on my website.
Once again, I try to get one or two teasers up on Facebook within the first few days following your wedding. Then, around 4-6 weeks later, you will see a more complete set of teasers showcasing your entire day. Finally, roughly 8 weeks after your wedding, you can expect the final set of images which is typically around 500 images [in some cases a little more]. You will be able to view, share and download your entire set of full resolution images directly from your private online gallery.
PRINTS + WALLART
Looking to display some of your favourite moments from your day? Yes please!! You will also have the opportunity to order high quality prints and wall art directly from your gallery [but feel free to take them to your local printer if you prefer].
SHARING IS CARING
I get most of my new clients through personal referrals and social media. Please feel free to share and/or tag images on social media. You can use the images as profile pics or cover photos. All that I ask is that you please don't alter the photos :)
HOW DID I DO?
If you would like to say a few kind words about our experience together please take a moment to leave me a google review. Thanks!
[ forever and ever ]
You've made it to the final step! Once your photos are ready we will work together to design your epic album. You can decide how much involvement you want in the design process...
"We want full control"
No problemo. Go ahead and pick your favourite images. I'll layout the album and you will sign off before it goes to print.
"We just want to make sure you include these 10-20 images. We want you to pick the rest."
Sounds great. Once I've laid out the album you can take a look and make a few changes if needed before it goes to print.
Want to live life on the edge and release full creative control to me? Let's do it! You can sign off before we go to print or keep it a surprise for the big reveal.
What if you didn't get an album in the original package you booked but have now changed your mind? Or perhaps you are thinking of getting some additional albums for your parents? Not a problem. Let me know and I'll take care of it.