The wedding is set, you found a talented photographer whose work you love. It's a big day for you and you want awesome pictures but aside from looking gorgeous what is your part in creating great pictures?
After all, it's not every weekend you plod around in a wedding dress and tux every weekend with a photographer in tow. How do you help your photographer achieve their best? Here are 10 do's and don'ts when working with your wedding photographer
* Do have fun. Great wedding pictures reveal something special about the people in the photos. As a couple, the feelings you have for one another are unique and should shine through in your shots. When people have fun and are spontaneous great pictures easily happen.
* Do feed your photographer Photographers are normal people too... they get hungry. Allow ten or 15 minutes for the photographer to eat at your reception. It is an extra expense to feed another guest but that's preferable to calling an ambulance because your photographer passed out!
* Do share your ideas. Express your wants and needs with your photographer and bounce ideas with them. You are a participant in the creative process of photography so your ideas should be welcomed. How do you share your ideas without micromanaging? Share a few ideas but keep it relatively open ended for his or her talent to shine through. Collaboration is important, so don't be afraid to share your ideas about locations, backgrounds and some poses you'd like to try.
* Do consult about your schedule. A good photographer can get the shots you want without endless hours of posed groups. Work with your photographer before the wedding to set aside the necessary time to do your groups. Be sure to include travel time and a little extra time for inevitable surprises and delays. Most photographers should have a shot list of the most popular groupings you can review prior to the wedding to see what you would like to do.
* Do communicate. Were you planning a send off after your ceremony? Uncle Mike who just received a liver transplant made it to your wedding! Don't you think he and his wife deserve a picture with the couple? Tell your photographer! Your shooter will have a lot going on while working your wedding. They are trying to accomplish their work on schedule, do it well and make something creative you'll adore for years. Make plain for them your expectations, needs and desires prior to your wedding, during and after as well. This helps them anticipate shots, meet and surpass your expectations.
* Don't be late. A wedding photographer is responsible for getting the photography you want within the the time you set aside to do the pictures. If you are late, all bets are off. In the event your are late, a good photographer will try to help but it isn't their responsibility to be your wedding coordinator and keep your entire wedding experience on schedule. If you run into a hitch and you know you are going to be late, immediately talk with your photographer about how to adjust your photography schedule to recover some of the time. It may mean you have to curtail some of the posed groups, do away with a third location or do some of the formal groupings at the reception. Communicate, be on your toes and be flexible.
* Don't micro-manage. While it's tempting to share your enthusiasm for wonderful pictures in the form of extensive shot requests and examples you have seen in magazines and on the internet, curtail your ideas to the few you love the most and share those with your photographer. Great photographers will not be able to capture every image you can think of, but they can deliver images you never dreamed of.
* Don't chase fads. Photography, like most things, is vulnerable to trends and styles. What may be today's cool thing often becomes tomorrow's parachute pants. Photoshop tricks, trendy poses and dress trashing sessions date quickly but great pictures are timeless. Great pictures reveal how people feel about one another, expressions and what it was like to be there at a past time and place. They are done with with superb craftsmanship, good lighting and composition. These kind of pictures never go out of style.
* Don't procrastinate. Be timely with everything. Try to get your picture selections in for the album sooner rather than later. This allows your photographer the maximum time to do their best. Let the photographer know if there will be any problems with payment, a change in schedule or any other obstacle. They are there to help. If you foresee a challenge that could impact your photographer before during or after the wedding, be proactive and let them know sooner rather than later.
* Don't stress. Weddings are complicated projects with many moving parts that can go not as planned. Take a deep breath, take many deep breaths. Focus on the positive and delegate the little details. It's entirely possible to have a blast at your wedding and make great pictures. It is not possible if you are in a near panic most of the day. Tense photos just aren't as good. Tense memories are worse.
Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to an enjoyable wedding day and years of enjoyable pictures.
Chris Cummins, is the owner of Glow Imagery, a Kansas wedding photographer studio based in Kansas City specializing in wedding photojournalism and contemporary portraiture.