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  • Writer's pictureLaura

How does this work? Scheduling your Wedding Photographer

For most weddings, photography is a must have. Two people crazy in love enough to say yes to forever is a BIG DEAL. Whether the event is intimate or a raucous party, a good photographer can see the couple's unique love story and tell it through the images they produce.

But how does all this professional wedding photography stuff work? Different photographers have various ways of scheduling coverage for weddings, but a common way, and the approach Padre Ryan uses, is to schedule by the hours the photographers will be needed on site. Looking at the rough outline of the event is a good way to start to determine how many hours of coverage you will need and which package best suits your event. If there is something you don't see in a package, most photographers will allow you to add coverage hours or additional sessions if desired.

Bride's gown (photograph taken at Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi, Tx)

When thinking about wedding photography services, many couples have to find the sweet spot between their budget with their priorities. Over the years I've encountered some sweethearts that don't even know what all even happens at a wedding. They turn to me to help them understand what are some of the most common things that wedding photographers cover and some ways to make the most of out of my time during their special day.

What is important at wedding is a matter of personal preference. I do like to discuss some of the specifics of the wedding day to offer some helpful insight into how I feel each couple can get the best set of images based on the time they schedule photography coverage. Commonly, coverage runs from "getting ready" to "send off". For readers that don't know what "getting ready" means, that is simply the time before the wedding that girls get their hair and makeup in place and guys don their suits and ties. Ideally, my preference is also to use this time to photography pretty wedding day details like wedding gowns, jewelry, shoes, ties, watches, flowers and invitations. Photographing that portion of the day really pays service to all the planning and energy that went into getting to this point. Some of my favorite photos capture the emotion when a mom zips a bride into her wedding dress or a sister gently puts a veil into place.

Bride slips on her garter at the Ceaser Kleburg Wildlife Center in Kingsville, Tx

How much time do I need for Getting Ready photos? It's not a one size fits all. Logistics can play a crucial part in the decision making process. A common scenario is that a bride plans to get ready at a home or hotel which is 30 minutes from the church. She needs to be at the church 30 minutes before the ceremony. This means she will have to be ready to leave an hour before the service begins. If she wants getting ready photos at the hotel, photography coverage will have to be scheduled at least 2 hours before the ceremony to make use of that time. Another option would be schedule coverage to start at the church and use the 3o minutes before the ceremony begins. In real life many church rooms are crowded, odd colored and make uninspiring back drops. As photographers we can make an ugly room look better, but it's of course always the best option to make a gorgeous room look even more gorgeous-ier. This is one example of figuring out what is most important to you and how you want to schedule your wedding day coverage.

A couple kisses at the end of their "mock send off" at the Art Center of Corpus Christi.

The "send off" is the other part of the wedding day that is often a topic of discussion with couples. Some couples decide to do a "mock sendoff". This basically means that you do the sparkler, bubble or glow stick send off and then instead of leaving, everyone goes back inside the venue to continue to party. This way you don't have to schedule the photography to leave when you actually leave into the wee hours of the morning. Personally, I find that mock send offs work really well in lots of situations. I feel like the couple can really cut loose and let their hair down after the send off is over. The photos for the day are done, and the bride no longer has to worry about keeping her hair and makeup in place, Pushing the send off up in the night's timeline also means that more people can participate! Many guests are not going to stay at weddings after a certain hour, but everyone loves to leave feel like they the full experience of the event. In contrast there are some couples and some families where it totally makes sense for the couple to actually leave to the sparkler send off. The limo is all lined up and they drive away into the night. The right choice is the one that works to support the balance between budget, preferences and the timeline of day.

A groom scoops his bride into his arms during a sparkler send off at the

Henrietta Memorial Museum in Kingsville, Tx.

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