When I meet with potential clients, I always hand them this packet I've put together of tips for getting the best wedding images. While much of this responsibility falls on the photographer you hire, there are a few things you can do that will impact the quality of your photographs. I've come up with these tips over the course of the 5+ years I've been shooting weddings and they have each risen out of negative or frustrating experiences my clients or I have had on the wedding day. After the difficult experience, I've looked back and thought, "If only we would have...." and then filled in the blank with each of what turned into 4 tips. Since it is wedding planning season, I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about each of these tips in detail on my blog.

Last week I blogged about tip #1--Plan out the timing of your wedding thoughtfully. Today I'm going to talk about tip #2--Communicate to me any "must have" shots.

I will typically shoot the following formal portraits:

-Bride & Groom
-B & G with Bride's extended family
-B & G with Groom's extended family
-Bridal party all together
-Bride with bridesmaids (grouped & individually)
-Groom with groomsmen (grouped & individually)

I share this list with my clients so they know which formal portrait groupings I will automatically make sure are covered. But I know every family is unique so I encourage my clients to email any additional groupings they would like included in the formal portrait part of the day. If they really want a particular photo with a special grandma, I need to know that ahead of time. I'm more than happy to do it but if I'm not told ahead of time, I can't read minds and oftentimes the bride, groom and families are swept up in the joy of the day and are not able to recall each portrait grouping they'd like covered. It's important to have a written out list ahead of time that is well thought through.

I also encourage my clients to not get too carried away with the list. I will be shooting constantly and am sure to get a wide variety of shots they will like. As an artist it is important for me to be able to stay in the creative zone and shoot moments as they happen instead of being tied to a long list of shots that need to be checked off.

I did a blog post a couple years ago that caused a bit of controversy called "Kill the Shot List." If clients want the majority of their day to be about shooting portrait after portrait or a set list of staged moments, I am not the photographer for them. In my initial client meeting I always ask what they are looking for in their photography and if I'm not a good fit for them, I make that known. One of the things I came to terms with early in my career is that I'm NOT the right photographer for everyone. The goal is to match clients with the right photographer creating a good fit where everyone is happy.

So communication before the wedding is key. If everyone does their part it will help to avoid the heartache of missing a cherished portrait of a loved one on the wedding day.
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