Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wedding Photography Schedules: No. 5, Paige Hiller Photography

Paige Hiller for Paige Hiller Photography gives great advice on Formal photographs. Check out some of her work below or you can visit her website: Paige Hiller Photography

The dreaded formal photograph...

Formal photographs are traditionally thoses images that capture the bride and groom with immediate family and the wedding party. As a photographer, I like to start with the formal more traditional photograph and then see how far I can push the envelope and create some fun, out of the box images that are not what are traditionally expected from the formal photo session. Such as how high can the groom really jump, or the laughter between to best friends or look of joy on the nana's face. There is so much you can do with a formal photograph. The skies the limit!

Who is typically included in formal photos?

I traditionally will include the bride and groom, their direct family members and the wedding party in formal photographs. That being said there are no set rules to who should be included. Sometimes there maybe no siblings but a very dear friend who is considered a family member or a parent may have passed away and the aunt/uncle has become a surrogate father or mother to the bride or groom and it is important to include them as well. When scheduling the formal photographs, I ask the bride and groom to think about their family members and who they would like to include in the session. I feel that it is important that the bride and groom make the final decision to who included in the formal photos.

How much time do you allot for the bride and groom/parents/bridal party/others?

I break it down into three photo shoots. One half hour for the groom, groomsmen and his family, forty five minutes to an hour for the bride, bridesmaids, her family and details/getting ready photographs and forty five minutes for the combined families, extended families, entire wedding party and bride and groom.

Where do you usually go to take photos? Who goes? Feelings about off-site photos?

I will typically shoot in three or four different locations. The locations are determined by the bride and groom and the distance between homes/hotels, the church/ceremony site and the reception. The off-site location maybe a special spot that means something to the bride and groom or just a beautiful location that lends itself to the photographs.

Who goes?

Bride, grooms, family and wedding party.

Feelings about off-site photos?

I love shooting off-site. However, the photographer and bride and groom have to make sure that they schedule in enough time either before or after the ceremony to travel to the site, shoot and return to the reception in a timely fashion, so as to not take time from enjoying your day and the family and friends who have come to celebrate with you.

What are your thoughts about having all formals before the ceremony?

My goal as a photographer is to shoot as much as I can before the ceremony. Since it is easier for the men to get ready, I like to shoot the groom, his family and groomsmen first. Then they are free to go to the church/ceremony site to greet the guests. Then shoot the bride, her family and bridesmaids. That also gives me the opportunity to photograph her heading off to and arriving at the church.

Do you ever suggest this and how do the bride/groom react?

I think that it is important to set up a schedule that is realistic to work with in the layout of the day. Most brides and grooms are thrilled to get most of the photographs out of the way before the ceremony, leaving more time after for them to actually go to the cocktail hour and mingle with family and friends. However, I do strongly recommend that we leave the formal bride and groom shots until after the ceremony.

I prefer not to photograph the bride and groom until after the service. In my experience of shooting weddings over the last ten years, I have observed a distinct difference in the bride and grooms reaction to seeing each other for the first time when walking down the aisle as opposed to seeing each other after they have just finished their formal shots. There is also a difference in the way they interact with each other in the photographs from before the ceremony to after. It is an intimacy that I am very blessed to witness and capture on film.

Classmates/College photos?

Get them done as soon as possible. The longer you wait after the service and into the cocktail hour/reception the harder it is to find everyone. You also want to get a fun photo of the group so that everyone can put it in a frames and look at it with great memories, not an image of everyone standing around the table looking as if you were just transported back to your prom!

It is so important to work with your photographer to create a schedule that will work for you. A schedule that helps create a stress-free timeline and helps you tell your family, wedding party and friends where they need to be for that all important photograph.

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