Finding a wedding photographer you love is no easy task, but once that’s in the bag there’s still some work to do to ensure you get the best possible photos of your big day. Having photographed weddings all over the world over the past decade, I’d like to share with you some of what I've learned to help you on your wedding day. Here are nine things to tell your wedding photographer before the big day.
The time and direction of the ceremony
You’ve heard me say it before and now you’ll hear me say it again. Light is the single most important aspect of photography, especially if you're counting on natural light for your ceremony. It’s therefore vital that your wedding photographer knows in advance the time of day of your ceremony and which direction it will be facing. Every wedding photographer dreams of a ceremony at “golden hour” (dusk) when the light is most beautiful.
The style and mood you like
This is one of the first things you should be discussing with your wedding photographer. I find most couples choose a mixture of candid photography and posed pictures, but many photogs are comfortable working across a range of styles and moods, so don’t be afraid to get creative. If you’re considering something a little different, such as vintage or photojournalistic wedding photography, have a look online for examples of the style you like and show them to your photographer ahead of time.
If your wedding photographer isn’t running around like a maniac on your big day, he/she isn’t doing it right. You can, however, mitigate the headless chicken syndrome somewhat by giving your photographer a clear and concise schedule of events. Knowing exactly when and where the bouquet is being thrown and the cake is being cut will allow us to organize our time, kit and resources to maximum potential.
Just like everyone has a “mirror face”, everyone has angles they look best from. If there’s a particular part of yourself or your other half that you’d like to show off or soften, let your wedding photographer know. Angles are everything!
Favorite outfit aspects
Similarly, if there are aspects of your outfits that you particularly like and want to show off, that’s another thing we should know. Some brides I’ve photographed picked their dresses because of how they buttoned up at the back, for example. It would be a crying shame to have no reminder of your favorite part of the dress (and/or shoes) you only wore for one day.
With the whole “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” tradition, many brides will have a sentimental “old” or “borrowed” item as part of their wedding day attire. If this is the case for you too, make sure you tell your photographer to at least get a couple of snaps. A closeup of you on your wedding day in Granny’s antique necklace will be one to cherish.
Wedding party rockstars
It’s always good to know in advance the details of the wedding party, such as how many bridesmaids and groomsmen there are and if there will be an allotted time to photograph them. Some couples will just require some time for photos of themselves after the ceremony, but most will want a few with the bridal party as well. Giving us a heads up on any family intricacies, such as who your uncle’s new wife’s daughter’s fiancé is, for example, will also ensure the important people are covered :-)
A lot of couples I’ve worked with have some kind of surprise for guests on their big day, such as a special appearance by a Bollywood Star, a performance by the bride or even wedding fireworks. While I love surprises, I’m not a big fan of them when I’m shooting a wedding. Let your photographer know in advance if you have something sneaky up your sleeve so he/she can be in the right place at the right time.
As you might have noticed from my work as a celebrity photographer in Hong Kong, I photograph a lot of luxury Indian weddings, and sometimes there are famous guests in attendance. One time Salman Khan, Bollywood’s biggest star turned up! While no-one is likely to miss “the Rambo of Bollywood”, you can’t guarantee your wedding photographer will recognize all the celebs at your big day. If you’re lucky enough to have a star in attendance, therefore, point them out to your photographer so they can be sure to get a few nice shots.
I hope the information I have shared with you can be useful in making your wedding as smooth as possible. A big thanks to all the wonderful couples who have had me be part of their big day. It’s an honor that truly never gets old!
A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios