Managing Mayhem: Survival Guide for a Wedding Shoot

Part II

Now that you’ve mastered the preparation process for a wedding shoot in part 1 of Managing Mayhem: Survival Guide for a Wedding Shoot, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of the special day. In part 2, we will discuss how to handle the challenges of wedding day chaos.

Here are some tips for taking every shot the couple has requested, making time for on-the-spot creativity and keeping your sanity:

1. Arrive early. The bride may be late, the groom may be late, you can’t be tardy. Be prompt and ready to start shooting.

2. Bring an assistant. Yes, it may cost you a few extra bucks, but you will need someone to keep a list handy of all the “must have” photos the couple wants, toss you fresh batteries in a pinch and even grab a bottle of water for you in the heat of a summer beach ceremony.

3. Get as many shots as possible prior to the ceremony. The guys are usually dressed way before the girls. Take the groom and his attendants aside and do some creative photos. Visit the bride as she is getting her makeup on and snap photos of the bridal party helping with her dress. A photo of the bride’s mother placing a necklace on her daughter or adjusting her veil is priceless.

4. Be alert for unexpected moments. Some of the best photos are those you don’t plan for ahead of time. Watch for those glances, smiles and little occurrences that will be priceless memories and snap away.

5. Work quietly during the ceremony as not to distract the guests. If you did your pre-planning, you already know where you will stand and when during the different segments of the ceremony.

6. Keep things moving. Work quickly when taking post-ceremony photos so the couple can get to their reception. This is when having family and wedding party members standing by ready to take photos is of utmost importance. There is nothing more rude than having guests wait for over an hour for a reception to begin because a couple and their wedding party are spending way too much time taking photos.

7. Shrink the party. When shooting the wedding party, start with everyone – the bride, groom and all the attendants. Reduce the party to just the couple and the bride’s attendants, then the couple with the groom’s guys. Work it down until you are left only with the bride and groom. This allows the crowd to clear out and leaves you with just the newlyweds to photograph while the attendants can relax, have a drink and wait for the festivities to begin.

8. Don’t forget the guests. Unposed shots of guests enjoying the festivities truly capture the day. The couple may be so caught up in the event, they won’t get to spend time with everyone who attends. Candids of guests and family members will be treasured by the newlyweds.

9. Keep your cool. Remember, emotions run high at weddings. Brides can be moody, arguments between family members can occur, and tempers may flare. Not to mention the flower girl who refused to walk down the aisle at the given time. Be patient, but direct when doing your job, and just get it done. All the nonsense will soon be over, but your photos will last forever. Your reputation is at stake. Smile, remain calm and stay focused on the task at hand.

Once the bouquet has been tossed and the wedding day is done, kick back and celebrate, knowing you have done a professional job and played an important part in creating memories that will last a lifetime.