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What to Expect from a Wedding Photographer on Your Wedding Day

Since there will be so much happening on the day of, we wanted to dive in on what to expect from a wedding photographer on your wedding day. This will help you prepare as you begin to think through how to best collaborate with the creative professionals who will be part of your wedding team.

During the wedding planning process, you will likely have a few opportunities to touch base with your photographer(s) and other creative professionals who will be supporting your big day. If it’s the right fit, you will feel comfortable and confident in their skillsets by the time you get to the wedding. The actual wedding day will go by in (what feels like) the blink of an eye, and there will be a lot of ‘new’ surrounding you. If you prepare in advance for what to expect, this will help you feel more comfortable.

5 Tips for What to Expect from a Wedding Photographer on Your Wedding Day

Here’s what to expect from a wedding photographer on your wedding day:

5 Tips for What to Expect from a Wedding Photographer on Your Wedding Day

1. Your photographer should be working off a timeline and shot list that you’ve already discussed and agreed upon. Because of this pre-planning, you can be confident in their time blocking and that they’ll make sure to get the shots that you discussed. (While all companies have different planning processes, if you partner with Joy Photo and Video then this is foundational to help make sure the big day is set up for success. Check out a sample shot list here.)

2. Don’t be surprised if your initial greeting feels rushed. As soon as they arrive at the location(s), the photographer(s) will need to quickly evaluate the surroundings. From finding the best spot for lighting, or thinking through different backdrops, they will need some time to get acquainted with the space. Keep in mind that this might be a new location to them (especially the ‘Getting Ready’ shots, if taken somewhere like a house or hotel room.) This initial prep time will help the rest of the time go more smoothly and impact the quality of the photographs.

Joy Photo and Video: Tips for What to Expect from Your Wedding Photographer

3. They will be appreciative of any help that is provided by you or members of your wedding party. For example, prepare the items for your details shot in advance by putting them all together in a small container. Having them organized and contained will help to get the shots more quickly.

4. They will be kind and supportive of the fact that it’s a day of celebration but don’t be surprised if they come across as assertive or direct in key moments. For example, when capturing photos of a large group, they may need to be very brief in their instruction (while still balancing being thorough) to be able to get the shot. All the while---a camera will be in front of them! In this scenario, they might not say things like “please” or engage in chitchat. Don’t take offense to this, and just know that it’s so they can get the best outcome for you.

5. Your photographer will just keep clicking! And there might even feel like there are times when it’s ‘intrusive.’ The value of having digital cameras is that the photographer won’t run out of film. And it’s often that the candid moments (like a laugh between a wedding party pose, or a stolen kiss in the middle of dinner) can be some of the most special photos. The more comfortable that you are, without feeling like you must pose a certain way, the better off you will all be.

Advice on How to Communicate Effectively with Your Wedding Photographer

Advice on how to communicate effectively with your wedding photographer
  • Leading up to the big day, be clear about your expectations. While you’re partnering with professionals, they can’t read your mind. Visual examples saved from tools like Pinterest can be incredibly helpful to communicate what you’re hoping to see.

(This is where aligning on the shot list and expectations for the day are important. Read this article from The Knot for inspiration.)

  • If you're aware of anything unique about your venue, make sure to tell them in advance. For example, is there a strange parking scenario, or is the space darker than other buildings? These details can be gems in helping to set them up for success.

  • If there are specific relationship dynamics which are important for them to understand, like certain people who should not be posing together in a photo, then please share this ahead of time so that it can be a drama-free day.

  • Make sure to introduce them to someone who can be a point of contact on the day of the wedding, like a wedding coordinator or Maid of Honor. Having a go-to who is separate from you and your significant other can be helpful if questions come up.

Joy Photo and Video: How to Communicate with Your Wedding Photographer
  • Trust that they know what’s best. If you choose to partner with a professional, it’s likely that they have experience. Be flexible when unknown things arise, and lean into the connection that you have with them as an individual.

We hope you enjoyed learning about what to expect from a wedding photographer on your wedding day. If you’re looking for a photographer, we have team members located across the United States who are gearing up to help support incredible Joy couples.

We have an exciting couple of months planned to end 2023 right, and a calendar that’s already filling up for 2024 weddings! Browse our portfolio and then check availability here.

[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Julianne and Matt in Seattle, Washington.]

Choose joy,

The Joy Team


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