Preparing for Wedding Portrait Photography
The formal portraits of the bride, the groom, their wedding party, and their families are without a doubt the most hectic part of a wedding day. Navigating the formal portraits requires the ability to stick to an organized plan, think quickly, and keep calm in the midst of chaos. The following tips can help you stay organized when preparing for a wedding’s formal portraits:
Set realistic time expectations. Before the wedding day, tell the couple about how long each grouping of pictures will take. They can use that time frame when planning the schedule of the wedding day.
Get a schedule and a list of names. Ask the couple in advance for a schedule of the day’s events and a list of names of people to be included in the formal portraits.
Bring an assistant. Having someone with you to manage the list and stage the groups while you’re shooting can be invaluable. This assistance keeps the process flowing and well organized. If you don’t have an assistant, you can appoint a wrangler, someone who the couple recommends to help organize the portraits who isn’t in the wedding party.
Stay flexible. Even if you’re 100 percent prepared, most likely something won’t go according to plan. And that’s okay! Accept the things that are beyond your control and move forward; don’t let the unexpected induce a blowing into a paper bag type of panic.
Use your outside voice. For most of the wedding, the photographer is the quiet observer; however, the formal portraits are the exception. During this segment of the day, you’ll need to assume a commanding presence and take charge of the situation. To get the attention of a large group of people, use a loud voice (but don’t scream) and say things like, Can I get everyone’s attention, please? or I need the Smith family front and center! After you have the group’s attention and begin to give directions, continue speaking loudly enough that everyone can hear you clearly.