We’re back with another Friday Chatter post this week, and I really think this one will be so helpful for my photog friends! We are now officially in the swing of crazy wedding season! While it DOES feel so good to be back in the groove, I have to say, wedding season comes with a bit of anxiety. Can anyone relate?!
When you are running from wedding to wedding each weekend… managing and creating content throughout the week… working your way through thousands of images to edit… coaching your clients through their wedding experience as you help them plan and prep for the photography aspect of their day… sometimes your brain can start to feel like it is on overload ALL the time!
You can do it, I promise! But, sometimes it can feel like a lot, right? If you aren’t careful, when you get to the wedding day, you can run the risk of letting the stress and tension from all of the tasks you are managing throughout the week get to your head. Truthfully though, I’ve found that the EASIEST way to compartmentalize between your weekly and weekend duties as a wedding photographer is by prepping well for the wedding day ahead of time!
Today, we are diving into three things that you can do BEFORE a wedding day to help reduce stress ON the big day! Each item takes a little bit of work from you AND from your couple, but I promise, this work ahead of time really will pay off in the long run!
I know you’re busy, so we’re going to dive right on in!
Photo Friendly Timeline
Creating a timeline or encouraging your clients to create a photo-friendly timeline starts WAY before you arrive on their wedding day! I actually start this process with ALL of my clients right after they book with me (in their bridal guide/welcome kit!!), and I’ll officially begin timeline conversations with them about 5 months before their wedding day. I know that sounds insanely early, but I would rather suggest timeline timeframes (or make the entire timeline for their day myself!!) than follow up to the couple after they send me the timeline draft they worked hard to create to let them know that it won’t work. That may make them feel frustrated, and I would much rather them feel like I am working with them than against them! SO… have the timeline conversation early so the day-of isn’t a stressful time crunch!
A good photo-friendly & stress reducing wedding day timeline includes enough time for you to serve your couple well, accounts for any crazy delays that may happen throughout the day, and indicates who is needed for each time block. (Ex. Do you need the full wedding party and the mother of the bride dressed and ready for her to step into her gown? If the answer is yes, make sure it is on the timeline!)
If you are wondering how in the world you do that, here are a few of my favorite timeline resources that I think you may find extremely helpful!
(This is more geared towards a client/wedding planning audience!)
Printed Family Portrait List
I have talked about this quite a few times before too, but preparing WELL for family portraits is one HUGE thing that you can do to majorly reduce stress on a wedding day. Not only does preparing well for this time reduce stress for YOU, but it also reduces stress for everyone else involved, making you the hero that got the family to the party earlier than they expected. (That’s a win, win, win if you ask me!)
I’ll start creating a client’s family portrait list two months before the wedding day based on the information that they send me in their pre-wedding questionnaire (more on that in a minute!). Before their wedding day, we’ll work to create a more comprehensive list that lists each combo they want, in the order that they should be photographed, with the names of everyone involved. From there, I’ll print the list and pack away at least 3 copies in my wedding day bag!
Why is this so important? Well… aside from keeping you organized and working in a way that makes sense when you have a crowd of 17 hungry and thirsty family members looking at you, you are able to check off combos as you go. (Ensuring that you know what shots have and have not been done!) Additionally, your clients can let you know exactly what they want. This greatly reduces your liability for missing a shot that they wanted because you aren’t creating combinations off the cuff. While you CAN overserve your couples by taking a few additional combos and images that are not on the list, you won’t be creating the list totally and completely off the top of your head. This gives your client a chance to let you know what is very important to them ahead of time!
To sum everything up, a good family portrait list includes: the names of EVERYONE involved, is organized in a way that allows you to dismiss people as they are finished in front of the camera and is printed and physically present for the wedding day!
I promise… I’m just sharing more thing that REALLY helps reduce stress before the wedding day before I let you go! One amazing way to help reduce stress BEFORE the wedding day?! The pre-wedding questionnaire! I create all of my questionnaires in my CRM, Honeybook (click here to save 50% on your first year!!) and send out the pre-wedding questionnaire 8 weeks before the wedding! In the questionnaire, I basically compile or confirm all of the information that I may need to know for a couple’s wedding day!
My questionnaire helps to confirm the addresses, event locations & other very important logistical details that I’ll need to properly execute the day… I’ll familiarize myself with family dynamics and sensitive situations to reduce any awkward moments during family interactions… I’ll learn about (and potentially connect with) my couples’ vendors before the wedding day… I’ll collect wedding day hashtags & important contacts, photo requests, dress codes, honeymoon dates, and any last name changes. I know you may be reading this and thinking: Wow that must be one long questionnaire, and truthfully, it is!
However, could you imagine going into a wedding day NOT knowing all of this information?! Talk about stressful! Before the wedding day, I send the questionnaire to my second photographer so she can get to know the wedding day too. I’ll also print a copy to keep in my wedding day bag, just in case I need it for reference throughout the day!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: