Sometimes photographers get the most amazing photos at your wedding- not only of you but of the children and guests. A great photographer will always be looking around for those special moments to capture. A bad vendor will be standing in the corner on break eating or talking on their phone while your wedding is flashing before their eyes. I have seen both types at the weddings I have covered for magazines. Philippe Cheng though is one of the greats. I’m in love with this photo he took of the redheaded boys with all the graphic sea blue striped chairs. When looking for wedding photographers make sure to look at comments people have shared online or ask your planner and friends for specific recommendations of photographers they have actually worked with as well as viewing their portfolio.
Consider hiring two or more photographers, or a photographer and an assistant of theirs. Why? Because the photographer will mainly follow the bride and so many great moments of the groom, groomsmen and his family before the wedding are not captured. (don’t forget the groom!) Also when the wedding party is getting photos, usually that’s when your guests are enjoying cocktails, mingling and getting to know one another. This a wonderful time to get photos of your guests instead of sitting at a table eating dinner. A second photographer can also take photos of the details you spent months agonizing over. If you aren’t specific with a photographer of what shots you want, they may only photograph the usual events of a wedding i.e.: portrait, first dance, bouquet toss etc. (they can’t read your mind, don’t forget). Philippe sometimes works as a team with two other photographers, John Dolan and Holger Thoss– FYI- which is like the ‘dream team’ of wedding photography. (below is a shot taken by photographer Liz Banfield of John Dolan, Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings, Holger Thoss and Philippe Cheng)
Make a list of specific photos you want your photographer to take on your wedding day, especially if you don’t want formal photos of your aunts, uncles and friends with the wedding party. On that list consider including the details of your wedding. (you also might want to send some of your printed materials to your photographer beforehand or even afterwards so that they may photograph them in their studio, especially if there’s only one photographer at the wedding)
Here’s a list of details that might help:
close-up of bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, overall ceremony location, ceremony flowers, aisle decor, groom and groomsmen’s boutonnieres, the rings/ring pillow (usually cute with the ring bearer holding the pillow), flower girls with their flowers or baskets, the program, parents reaction to watching the ceremony or their special flowers, guest book, pulled back shot of the cocktail and reception settings, hors d’oeuvres presentation, bar station or special drink with printed napkins, centerpieces, seating card display, a placesetting, menu card, the cake, favors, special decoration for bride & groom chairs and even the invitation wardrobe.
Photographs below by John Dolan. Examples of special shots of the groom and his family and detail shots like a photo booth and cocktails.