As a bride, you’ve likely spent a lot of time pouring over lists and obsessing over details. At some point, though, you need to know when to step back and let the pros work their magic. After all, it’s your wedding – but it’s their profession.
That being said, I frequently get questions from brides about what they should include in their wedding photo checklist. Tennessee wedding photographer and owner of Finch Photography, Ben Finch, graciously gave me his expert commentary on the matter. The answer to the age-old question of what to include in your wedding photo checklist is simple: don’t include one at all. Read on for his reasons why a wedding photo checklist isn’t the best option for your day – and then keep reading to find out what you should give your wedding photographer instead.
Fact #1: If you’ve hired a professional wedding photographer, they already have a good idea of what photos you need.
You’ve interviewed photographers and booked the perfect one. You’ve seen complete wedding albums and fallen in love with the way your photographer can tell a story through his or her pictures. Do you really think those images were scripted by a detailed checklist? Did the photographer have to be told to capture the first kiss or get a photo of the cake? Not likely.
“If you feel like you have to tell your photographer everything you want a picture of at the wedding,” Ben details, “you might not have hired a pro. We’ve done this numerous times, and we know what to anticipate.”
While professional wedding photographers are experienced and very knowledgeable about getting the perfect shots, he or she should never take a cookie-cutter approach to your wedding. Finch Photography makes sure they get to know you and can give you exactly what you’re looking for long before the big day. Ben describes that this is why you should make sure your photographer is a good fit for you both stylistically and personality-wise – and vice versa.
“Be very familiar with a photographer’s work before you book,” he advises. This not only helps you know what to anticipate, but it also ensures that you’ve hired a pro who can give you exactly what you’re looking for on the big day.
Fact #2: If your photographer is worried about the list all night, he or she might miss something beautiful that happens spontaneously.
A full-on wedding photo checklist can hurt more than it helps. After all, they can force a rigorous, unnatural schedule to your day and can prevent beautiful moments from unfolding – or from being captured.
“Photographers are creative people,” Ben adds. “We produce art. Unless we’re talking about actual portraits, checklists can strip away the freedom to capture the emotion and unique details of your day. We use that to tell your story.”
What you should give your photographer is so much more than a wedding photo checklist.
So, without further ado, here’s a real list of things your photographer needs from you to capture every part of your day flawlessly:
1. Provide your photographer with a list of important people and must-have formal shots.
When it comes to checklists, one area they’re generally okay is for formal portraits on wedding day. Do more than have a list ready of important people for your photographer to capture, though.
“As your photographer, we’ve likely never met your family!” Ben laughs. “Remove the ambiguity and stress by appointing someone [who knows your family] to organize family formals so they’re quick and painless.”
That’s not all Ben suggests, though. He’s seen great success when brides designate a space at the reception for photos so everyone is captured easily throughout the evening. Keep it organized by telling people a time and place to get the photos taken.
2. Your photographer needs your wedding day timeline.
As the one wedding pro who will likely be by your side throughout the day, make sure you keep your wedding photographer in the loop about your wedding day timeline. You’ll be glad you did this later!
Ben states that Finch Photography sends out a pre-wedding questionnaire to their brides, asking when and where different details are happening throughout the day. This covers everything from hair and makeup appointments to addresses and phone numbers for special contacts.
3. Tell your photographer about important details you or someone close to you worked hard to plan or create for the day.
From DIY details you worked on with your bridesmaids to the sweet sign your grandfather carved especially for your wedding day, be sure to point out the particulars that are important to you. This lets your photographer give a little extra attention to those details.
4. Be clear about your expectations from the beginning.
What’s your style? What exactly are you looking for? What kind of work do you enjoy? Assuming you already love your photographer’s style, it’s important to note that spotting a bunch of photos on Pinterest and saying you want the same poses and looks won’t work for most professional photographers.
“Pinterest boards are nice to see someone’s style, but we focus on creating custom looks with our photography,” Ben states. Mimicking someone else’s work often is not part of a professional photographer’s repertoire – nor should you want it to be. Bring up all your expectations from the beginning so you and your photographer can hash out the details long before the big day.
5. Great communication is always key.
A professional wedding photographer boasts the experience needed to capture your day without a checklist, but he or she still needs to hear from you to ensure everyone’s on the right page. Keep an open line of communication with your photographer throughout the planning process. Don’t wait until the last minute to let him or her know of changes or big issues that have come up. Both you and your photographer can manage expectations and stifle stress or doubt long before the big day by having great communication throughout the process.
While skipping the wedding photo checklist may make you nervous, I encourage you to relax your fears a little.
After all, if you can’t trust your wedding photographer to work his or her creative magic without a detailed checklist…you likely chose the wrong wedding photographer!
Finch Photography offers classic, timeless wedding photography with expertise in a variety of photographic styles. They focus on capturing emotions and personalities throughout your day to tell your story.
As owner and lead photographer, Ben has a vast background with various talents and professional degrees and certifications. He boasts a rich work history with several fun claims to fame, including authoring a book, but he decided to follow his love for the creative art of photography full-time in 2009. When not spending time with his wife and three children, he travels world-wide to photograph weddings, families, and editorial features.
To learn more about Finch Photography, give them a call at (901) 569-8031, and be sure to visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Tell Ben that The Pink Bride sent you!
Images courtesy of Ben Finch with Finch Photography.