There is a delicate balance between planning your event around the timing of your photos and planning the photography around the timeline of your event. First and foremost, my motto is “to document, not direct,” and I feel no need to manipulate or control the order of events of my client’s day. I’m sure many like-minded photographers feel the same. That said, we’d also probably agree that it’s disappointing when a scenario like the following takes place, which it has for all of us: the grounds of the venue are warmly lit by a vivid sunset. Great light, nice breeze, beautiful backdrop: a perfect opportunity to photograph our bride & groom outside the venue they’ve so carefully chosen. But dinner has just been served.
So how do you plan your day accordingly? After all, it’s not about the photography. It’s about having all of your friends and family together to celebrate love and life. That is the priority. That said, many of the pictures that prompted you to choose this venue were likely created on the best conditions, as in the above example. But if not planned properly, those photos simply cannot be taken by your photographer.
So how do we avoid or just lessen this type of scenario? I suggest you ask your planner and your photographer to collaborate before finalizing the timeline of events. The fact is, we all want to provide the best possible product and service for you. So working as a team instead of individually is in everyone’s best interest, especially yours. It’s important to remember that there are many elements being juggled by your planner. What may work best for the photographer may be difficult for the catering team, or vice-versa - and it’s your planner’s job as the middle-man to ensure efficiency and ease for all vendors, creating a positive experience for the whole team.
Liz Quill is owner of Elegant Aura, specializing in wedding & event planning in New England. Liz adds, “I wholeheartedly agree with Dana about collaborating with the photographer and the caterer to find the right balance of providing the best product and the best service for our couples. Our wedding day itineraries always include the sunset time. Although we don’t actually plan events around that time, we use it as a reminder to us that it might be the perfect photo opportunity.
The day is all about teamwork and communication. I think couples appreciate that their vendors try interrupting them as little as possible, and also recognize that formalities are necessary and need their attention. Our role is to make sure that all of the vendors have been collaborated with while keeping in mind the couple’s vision of their day. I always appreciate when the photographer asks if they can steal the couple away. If that means we push out the cake cutting time or toasts, it’s ok by us.
We in turn connect with the caterer, DJ/Band and videographer to let them know what’s happening and we make our adjustments. It doesn’t affect the guest’s experience, and in the end what matters most is the couple had an incredible day that was beautifully captured.”