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How Do You Get All the Shots? | Finding Peace of Mind When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Planning a wedding is no joke - it's a huge investment of your time, money, and emotions, and then in a huge whirlwind of a day it's all over and you don't remember half of it!

One of the (MANY) reasons I love wedding photography SO much is because it allows you to relive that day and all its glorious moments over and over, even the ones you might have missed because they just happened SO fast.

But that requires a HUGE amount of trust in your photographer. Words like “fine-art” are great and all, but how can you guarantee

that someone will capture all of the images you want from your day?

In a nutshell, you can't guarantee anything when it comes to the wedding day; things happen! Your cousin might be nowhere to be found for family formals. The flower girl might scream her way through bridal party pictures. Your grandparents might get lost using paper maps to get to “Lancaster Pennsylvania” and miss their ceremony readings. Great Aunt Ruth might step in front of the photographer with her iPad for The Kiss. My point is, things happen that are outside of your photographer's control. BUT there are many many MANY ways to plan and prepare to minimize the risk of missing shots that will be near and dear to you for years to come!

1) Complete a Pre-Wedding Questionnaire

Your wedding photographer should send out a questionnaire (or schedule a meeting) to hash out all the details of your big day. On my questionnaire, I specifically ask for shots that are must haves for the bride and groom. While I have my own shots list that I follow, knowing that certain shots are absolutely necessary beforehand can help me prepare to be triple sure that we capture them! It also gives me insight into what the bride and groom value when it comes to pictures. If a big family photo with aunts, uncles, and cousins is a must-have, I'll know that family is very important to them and make extra sure to capture lots of reactions from grandparents and family members while the couple is exchanging vows.

2) Family Formals Lists

My questionnaire also asks for a list of family formals that are must-haves for the bride and groom, that way we are all on the same page with what images will be captured after the "I do"s are exchanged! I also love having this in advance so I can familiarize myself with names of parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.

3) Create A Thoughtful Timeline

This is the Granddaddy of all wedding tips when it comes to photography. A great timeline can make or break the entire wedding day! When a thoughtful timeline is laid with appropriately allotted time for everything that needs to be captured, there is no need to rush from one thing to the next. A rushed day is just ASKING for something to get skipped or forgotten.

4) Have a First Look

This goes along with a thoughtful timeline. A first look is SUCH a game changer when it comes to getting MORE images out of your wedding day! First looks give us extra time to capture couple's images, bridal party portraits, and family formals - three of the biggest "must haves" there are! When we have more time to capture these important pictures, the day is less rushed and we can avoid missing shots. On average, couples that adopt a first look into their wedding day timeline receive an extra 100 images from their day! That's a whole lot of missed shots!

5) Opt for a Second Shooter

There's a reason why ALL of my collections include a second shooter! If Great Aunt Ruth and her iPad do happen to step in front of the lead photographer while the couple is pronounced Husband and Wife, the second shooter is off to the side still capturing The Kiss, and all is well with the world! Second shooters are the immediate insurance plan I've deemed an absolute necessity. Also, since the bride and groom are getting ready at the same time, until I can duplicate myself there just isn't a way to capture everything adequately with just a lead photographer.

6) Have Backup Equipment

Annndd my favorite peace-of-mind provider - the backup plan. I have a backup camera & lenses on site and I shoot to two memory cards at once. That means I have two separate copies of each image I take. In the event that something unfortunate happens, I still have every photo on the other memory card! After I get home from the wedding (or sometimes even during the reception if time allows), I back the files up onto an external hard drive, cloud-based lightroom, and locally on my laptop - which means I have FIVE different copies of each image, and all of them are stored in different places. I'm not paranoid, just prepared!!

In the event that something would happen to me that renders me unable to shoot the wedding on the day of, I have a list of photographers I trust to cover for me and shoot the wedding with my second shooter. I would still edit and deliver the wedding myself. I have yet to miss a wedding (knock on wood)!

So, there you have it! While there is no way to guarantee that every image on your must-have list gets captured, there are lots of insurance plans and safety nets in place to prevent anything unfortunate from happening on the big day. Believe it or not, most wedding photographers truly care deeply about their couples and don't take the responsibility of capturing this amazing day lightly! Go with your gut - ask your photographer how they will get your must-have shots and if your images will be protected. If they are well prepared, fairly priced, and feel trust worthy, then you're probably in good hands, and a little bit of trust goes a long way! Happy wedding planning!

XO Angela

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