film + digital photography

7 Tips for Photographers to photograph a wedding day

Hello Humans!

Happy Monday! For me, honestly it’s been a crazy * hell * of  day! So many errands, so much to do because wedding season officially started this last Saturday! It was a great day, check it out here, and the days leading up to it made me wonder, hm how can I help other photographers or just curious cats by explaining how I prep for a wedding during the final week!

So here we go! My step by step guide to get you to the big day for Photographers + Brides alike!


1 – Layflats

What I mean by a layflat is to take all the gear and lay it flat on either a rug, or a designated spot where you can easily view everything. The reason I do this is because I am able to see everything and can easily spot if something is missing.

So If I have my camera bodies and count and only have 2 / 3 I know to go grab it out of the office!

Now with gear I am far from a gear minimalist so that statement might not apply equally… See photo above, I am still leaving out some gear that I take to some weddings and not others.


For Brides I recommend the same thing:

Invites, shoes, makeup, emergency kit, rings, cuff links ext!

For my brain I need visuals so Lay flats are my go to!


2 – Timelines 

The Huge timeline hack came from my girl in the industry, Kaely Pillars of Eleanor Kathryn Photography, check her out here!

She is the true, OG, Wedding mastermind! I would pick her brain and she’d let me second shoot weddings for her, I promise you I learned a lot of these tricks from this girl! She is the real deal! Also! She is the one that sparked my lightbulb when it comes to shooting the details at weddings! So I added bringing a special hanger (just incase the bride only has the white plastic one) and really going out of the “norm” with ring shots and bringing extra details with you! Seriously, Love miss Kaely!

Kaely is the reason I use a clipboard instead of running around and pressing the timeline against Mark’s back, I mean something as simple as a clipboard and yet it’s life changing (haha I’m dead serious)!


So the actual timeline, which we Jamie + Mark, write for all of our brides so they should have their own copy, + the questionnaire which is our cheat sheet to your family names, numbers, and addresses and clipped to the board with a pen just incase I need last minute notes or to check off things as we photograph them.

I am very type- A OCD when it comes to photographing a wedding, I have a must have list for myself that I will do everything in my will power to capture for our couples and knowing I can check it off a list once I get it is sickly satisfying!


To help our brides when we build their timeline we usually just need the biggest piece of information: Ceremony Time
Otherwise we can build the entire day off of that and save you some stress because we know how long things take to photograph and how long it takes to get from Ceremony to Reception.

Print more than one timeline and give it to you bridesmaids + family so they know what is happening and what is important to you, because it’s your day, not theirs.


3 – Final Gear Check

For my photographers: 

-Batteries Charged
-Camera settings to your own normal
-Lenses cleaned and ready
-Back up battery
-Back up camera body
-Back up SD / CF cards
-Gear in the car
-Say the list outloud prior to leaving the house
-Take your phone off the charger and put in car 😉


For our couples

That would be – make sure your dress + tux is clean, and ready and either at the location or ready to be transported in the morning.
-Marriage license ready + in hand or already mailed in if already signed.
-Check with family + bridal party that they know what time you request them for appointments with hair or breakfast!


4 – Read through the Timeline

For my photographers: 
Read through the day so you have a mental preparedness for when and what, it’s like the outline before giving a speech and the more you run through the less likely your anxiety is going to kick in!

For my couples:
Mostly applies to everyone but the bride + groom, because you two usually know exactly what is happening but those things can get lost in a game of telephone to your friends and family attending or in your wedding!


5 – Remember your style of photography

For my photographers:
What I mostly mean is are you hired as a journalist, lifestyle, mix of posed + lifestyle. I like to think our style is a mix of Posed + lifestyle, we want to get those moments that are so true and raw of emotion but we also pose you and make sure we can see your smiling face! That being said all of our couples are different and they have one major priority that they want from their wedding day. For example:
Bride A: I really want great photos of me and my friends
Bride B: I really want timeless photos of my and my groom
Bride C: All my family is coming from all over, it’s really important to me.

To me that translates as Bride A, she wants those great reception shots, and groupings and really focusing on the bridal party photos. Bride B, she really wants the most time of her and the groom to make sure we get those, and Bride C make sure we give her ample of Family time so that we have enough time to grab every member of her family.

Make sure you set the expectations for your couples and then really hit home on the things they tell you that they want! Least I try really hard to do this and really make every experience as personal as possible and for me that means reading over my notes I’ve made and building the relationship with the couple prior to the big day!


For the bride + groom:
Relax! Call me! Let’s grab coffee (Or a beer hehe) this final week and really go over the final thoughts and the final list for who is coming to the wedding, who isn’t, and what really, reaaaaally is most important to you! Remember, I got you!


6 – Location Scout 

For my photographers:
If possible, I like to go to the Venue or scout for spots around the venue on Friday (or day before depending on day of wedding) to make sure I know what to expect, I also go at the time I plan on taking certain photos so I can get a better idea of the lighting and bring my camera to practice shots.

This really eases my mind if I have never been somewhere and so I can plan ahead (again I am type-A OCD with weddings because they are such a huge event for two people that really trust me)


For my couples:
Come with me! Quads know I would give you extra images if it works out!
Or check it out on your own as well to know if its Muddy, or which spots I am thinking so you can have a mental picture as well too!


7 – Show up Early!

So this actually applies to the wedding day, mostly, maybe the rehearsal too!
But this goes to everyone! SHOW UP EARLY! It is always better to get there early incase something goes wrong, something runs late, or something get’s forgotten!
Always error on the side of caution on a day that can not be redone!



Well that is mostly what goes through my head the final week of wedding prep, comment below, did I miss something that you always do? Let’s chat!





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We help quirky and untraditional couples find joy and adventure on their special days by providing passionate and wild photography that captures the big moments of love… and all the little candid ones in between.


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