Michelle Walker made it easy on us for this episode - she came with a detailed outline of what she wanted to talk about. A top 10. Yay! Here are her most important tips for your wedding planning:
Top 10 Things Wedding Photographers Want to Say to Clients (but usually don’t…)
1) Have a long cocktail hour. 75-90 minutes. So you have time to mingle with your friends and family, and it allows for GREAT candids of the guests. Photographers would much rather shoot candids during this time rather than going to each table during dinner. Who wants pictures of half eaten food in their photos? Also - if you have a lot of family portraits to take after the ceremony, you won’t be able to join cocktail hour AT ALL if you have a short cocktail hour. Why miss out on that fun time with your guests?
2) First Looks (REVEALS) are awesome. More private, and you’re more in control. (Or your photographer is) And you both look more relaxed during the ceremony. Plus, it can be a really special memory, and some of the only time on the wedding day that you are sort of alone with your partner!
3) Allow at least 2 hours for the photographers to hang out and take photos during Hair and Makeup - the Getting Ready portion of the day. Hair and Makeup artists like to work with amazing light...so often times, these can be the most flattering photos of the day. It’s ideal if you can arrange to have a photographer shooting the Getting Ready portion of the day with both partners (typically this means 2 photographers, 2 rooms).
4) Skip the garter and bouquet toss. Or if you decide to do it, embrace the retro vibe! This may be a trend that is coming back...we’ll see
5) HIRE A PLANNER. I mean, do we even have to explain this one? We agree, obvi.
6) Hire a professional hair and makeup stylist...it’s not that much more expensive and it makes for better photographs. This is a photographer, people! She knows what it’s like to retouch shiny faces. Heed her warning!
7) If you can, have your rehearsal dinner 2 nights before your wedding, not the night before. You want to drink, stay up late, catch up with friends...you can’t really party with your friends when you know you have to get up at 6am for hair and makeup. I mean, you can, but it’s not ideal.
8) Plan a private 10-15 minutes with your photographer...maybe sunset, maybe right after dinner. It’s a time to reflect with each other, and it’s a time for the photographer to get amazing, intimate photos of you before you go back in and party and it all goes by so fast. You don’t even know you want this time until you are actually in the moment.
9) Unplug, y’all! Somewhere along the lines, tell your guests to put their phones away. And to let the photographers do their job. It’s a way of reminding everyone how important a wedding day is - and how much you want to just be present with them and enjoy. This is especially important for the ceremony.
10) Buy an album. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. Michelle talks about the power of print. We totally agree with her. It’s an heirloom - invest!
Michelle Walker also offers her advice for hiring your wedding photographer. Tips: get referrals from your planner or venue, narrow it down to 3-5, meet with your options...make sure that you LIKE the photographer you choose. Make sure you trust them and be happy to just let them do their job.
When should you hire a wedding photographer? Michelle Walker recommends 9-12 months out.
Why is wedding photography SO DAMN EXPENSIVE? Experience costs. Wedding photography is a very specific skill...it’s an emotional day. It can’t be redone.The photographer should have expensive gear. Also, self employed business people have a ton of additional costs to take on. Keep in mind that every wedding takes around 40 hours in post production, according to Michelle. Basically, there are a lot of costs to doing business. Sometimes, you get what you pay for. Keep that in mind when looking for the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding.
Getting all the vital information to the photographer is extremely important. Full timeline. Full list of VIPs, wedding party, family members, all your wedding vendors, your formal portrait shot-list, your special wedding details, and let your photographer know if there is some drama that might come up. If you have a great wedding planner - they’ll let the photographer know all of this. PS- make sure you leave a little time in the wedding day for the photographer to eat. The best time is usually when all the guests are eating.
“Having a planner was worth every single penny. My husband and I were guests at our wedding, and that’s the way it should be.” - Michelle Walker, wedding photographer
“These are all the things we have always wanted to say to you guys, so thank you for giving me the chance!” - Michelle Walker, wedding photographer
“The two of you need to go on a sunset walk with me.” - Michelle Walker, wedding photographer, on the merits of taking a moment on your wedding day
“Do an album, they’re amazing. Ours are made in Italy, they’re so sexy.” - Michelle Walker
“9 times out of 10, you’ll have no idea that I’m taking your picture and that’s how I like it. Relax and have fun, that’s when you’re at your best.” - Michelle Walker
“My job is to create photographs that make you laugh, cry and remember everything when you look at them. Your job is to have the best day of your life.” - Michelle Walker - her mission statement, from the heart
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Let us know if you have any questions you need answered on the show or if you want to share your own wedding planning experiences!