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A Behind the Scenes Look From A Professional Wedding Photographer

Here is a fun article shared by a wedding photographer that gives you a peak into what they do behind the scenes as they get ready to shoot a wedding.

By Jonathan Griffiths

Behind the scenes look at a wedding photographer

What exactly goes on behind the scenes of each and every wedding we photograph & what our plan and mentality is for each key component of the day. So you have already answered the initial phone call or email a long time ago, met with the bride & groom in person, booked the wedding 8 months ago, and worked with them on the wedding day timeline and family portrait list; it’s time to get a move, the wedding is tomorrow!

Preparation is key

The night before the wedding is a very important one for me, all of the equipment I will be using must be working properly and correctly.  Batteries for the cameras and flashes need to be charged up, also making sure the memory cards are formatted in the cameras. We then pack up our gear and have them ready by the door so we can just grab the bag and cameras and head out early the next morning.

It is important to have a list of pre-planned events that have been selected and agreed by the couple months before the actual day. Having a list of what the couple want photographing is essential and you don’t want to miss out photographing key family members. Also, by having a list of times everything will happen it gives us time to prepare ready for what is about to happen, you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a toilet break when the bride is walking down the altar!

The ceremony- arriving early

Before everybody arrives at the venue, I like to be there around 30 minutes early in order to familiarise myself with the surrounding and potential places for a nice photo opp. Setting up the camera and equipment is also important, during the ceremony you don’t want to be shuffling around while the vows are taking place. I cannot stress how important preparation is to every photographer, as this allows you to take more high quality photos without having to look for specific things.

Through-out the ceremony

Once the ceremony gets going we make sure we are getting all the “must-have” shots but then it is also important to keep an eye on family members or bridal party members who might be crying, being emotional or laughing – these are great shots to mix in and shooting with a longer telephoto lens will allow you to secretly get these photos.

Right after the ceremony is by far the best time to get family portraits done, since everyone is in the same place – or at least should be! The reason we print out two copies of the family portrait list is so we can get the help of a trusted family member and give them a copy of the list to ensure that all the people on the list are actually there and ready to have their photo taken. Here is an example of our routine:

  1. Call out the name of the person we are after, which should be on the list.

  2. Help everybody pose which helps them and the photo look great!

  3. Of course, take the photo. Then shout whoever is next.

(It’s important to take more than one photo of each group, making sure everybody has their eyes open and the photo looks good.)

The reception

Once we have made it to the reception, it is usually a big breath of fresh air. After being on the go relentlessly for 5 to 7 hours, you finally have a chance to catch your breath. But not for long. Everyone’s reception schedule is different but most often the first big event is the bride and groom will have a “grand entrance” – sometimes after the entrance they will go directly into the first dance or first dances, so it’s important to be ready and confirm your timeline with the DJ’s timeline just to make sure you are all on the same page.

The key during reception is? Always be one step ahead and be ready for the next event, have the right lens & camera settings set and be in communication with the DJ and work together because the reception events will likely move up or back from the original scheduled time.  Also, when no events are happening, I don’t just stand off to the side, this is your chance to get candid images and dance floor photos but also to walk around the room and ask guests if they’d like their photos taken. Not only is it nice for the guests to have a photo but also nice for the bride and groom to see their guests having fun!


Once the whole event is finished, it is important that we go straight home and upload all of the images onto the computer and an external hardrive. This important as it gives me peace of mind that the images are safe and there is a very small chance of losing all of those special memories.

The next day, the editing of the photo’s begin. This usually takes around 4-5 hours to make all of the images look as unique and clear as possible. We offer different packages, so either we have all of the images on a HD disc. Or all of the photographs are in a tailor made album that is made in such away the whole day is pictured like a storybook fairy-tale.

And there we have it, how I usually approach a wedding and just what it takes to make each and every couple happy with the final result. As you can see there is so much more that goes into photographing a wedding than just showing up on the day of with a camera in hand.

Thank you for reading!

Jonathan Griffiths- Wedding photographer based in Buckinghamshire UK. At www.lisagillphotography.com

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