First off, let me say that I have known and been a fan of “Mr. and Mrs. Lyons” of The Photo Makery for more than half of my life! From being a student in Cathy’s art and photography classes in elementary school to capturing my family reunion to my wedding and then my son’s baby photos, you could say we have some history! Their warmth and talent (can I just insert that they’re Pulitzer prize winning right here?) all come together so beautifully: at the end of their special day, clients have a collection of beautifully captured memories as well as new, dear souls they can call friends!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is to empathize with how much of a stretch it is for my clients to hire a photographer. And I appreciate it so much because it is such an important life event. You want the photographer(s) to be reputable, personable, professional and to capture your vision of the day. So this blog post is an encapsulated version of what it might be like for you to have a behind the scenes look from the photographers’ perspectives. My hope is that these tips might lead you to better photos. I’d like to reassure that the process is so much easier than you might think.
I always enjoy getting to know a couple before we dig into the nitty gritty. My favorite is when a couple tells me their story—how they met, shared trips or hobbies, etc. It opens a window for me to see what truly matters to them. In the same way, I love sharing my initial photo story thoughts and ideas. Our first meeting is usually a time where get to know each other. I find that when a relationship exists, future conversations are more casual. So, begin with that initial meet and greet – whether over coffee or on FaceTime – and feel free to share as much or as little as you want.
I appreciate having the opportunity to flesh out a shot list, then create a schedule that leaves breathing room for everyone early in the process. My best recommendation is: First, choose a point person who will act as a liaison between the families and the photographer. This can be a favorite aunt or even the wedding planner. Someone who is calm under pressure. Second, the earlier the photo schedule is done in the process of planning for the big day, the easier it is for us to refine any last minute details. In my experience, 30 minute increments for pre- and post ceremony photos work best. Even with the best planning, that will require flexibility and therefore, a shift in the schedule. It is likely you will go through many photo schedule revisions until you iron out a final agenda.
There are instances where I have had to move pictures to an indoor space due to inclement weather and believe me, things went much smoother when the couple had already chosen a “Plan B” space, props or even rental furniture. Just as you would outdoors, you will need to think of specific locations indoors that will make for the best pictures. Think lots of natural light (ie., windows) and spaces that allow for a natural anchor (ie., a fireplace). Indoor photos can be absolutely stunning when thought and preparation has gone into using the venue. Discuss with your photographer what your “Plan B” will look like. Perhaps schedule a time to meet on site.
Cathy Lyons, co-owner of The Photo Makery. Cathy is a Mom of two and wife to photographer husband, Mark. She loves being out in God’s creation with the flowers or in the garden and that’s why she enjoys partnering with the Lily Crew.