How to Plan Your Wedding Day for Film Photography – the film series

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August 25, 2017

You’ve got dreamy, glowing wedding images pinned all over Pinterest (common…admit it), and that’s what you are envisioning for your wedding day photos. Soft light, romantic images, and glamorous shots are filling your head!

Well…the good news is you could have those images, but you have to plan out your timeline well. When planning your wedding day timeline with a film photographer, the first key to remember is that it’s all about that natural light!

So what are the proper steps you need to take to make sure you get those vivid glowing fine art images you’ve been dreaming of?

01. Getting Ready

When picking your getting ready room, try to find a space that has as much natural light as possible. The rooms with large windows where natural light can fill the space are the absolute best! This way your photographer can capture your getting ready moments (those sweet ones with mom buttoning up the back of your dress) in film!

If your getting ready room is in a church basement with dim lighting, don’t fret! You will still have getting ready photos, but they may have to be staged. That’s right…staged! You would be surprised how many ‘getting ready’ photographs are staged. You can take your dress to a room with better lighting (or outside) and do a few getting ready photos in film. Allow yourself to be a little creative with this process and trust your photographer. They do this all the time!

02. The Details

Prepare any details you’d like to have photographed in advance. This helps your photographer out a tremendous amount. You can read more about how to organize your wedding details well here.

03. The Ceremony

The ceremony is the part of the day that the photographer has the least amount of control. That’s okay, we just have to be a little more creative to make sure you get all the images you need and deserve!

So there are a few things to ask yourself:

What is the lighting like in my ceremony space? Is my ceremony outside? Is it under a tree or covering? Is it in direct sunlight? Or are you getting married in a church? If so, what is the natural lighting like inside the church?

If you’re getting married in a dark church without lots of light, film images won’t be possible. Film just doesn’t do well in dark situations, BUT it is possible to get beautiful digital images that can match the look of film pretty well (so no worries!). You’ll still get wonderful images of your ceremony, but they just won’t be in film.

Maybe you’re getting married outside! If so, think about what the lighting is like. Is your ceremony under lots of trees or is it in direct light? Do you know what the light looks like in the ceremony space during the time of your ceremony? What kind of space will the photographer have to get different shots of the ceremony?

If the light is particularly good at a certain time of day for your ceremony site then think about that! Maybe you should plan your ceremony during those beautiful light times.

If it’s not possible, then no worries! Your photographer will make it work no matter what the lighting situation is like.

04. Family Portraits

Try and have all your family portraits taken outdoors. By taking your family portraits outside this will ensure all your portraits (family + bride and groom) all have the same style and lighting. All your portraits could then flow together filled with beautiful lighting! You want family portraits that you can display proudly, and taking them in natural light will ensure you’ll get those dreamy images.

05. Bride and Groom Portraits

If I could plan every wedding, I would plan them all around bride and groom portraits. In order to get those dreamy images you’re thinking of, it’s best to take them 1.5 – 2 hours before sunset. So if sunset is at 8pm, we should schedule our bride and groom portraits for around 6pm.

If possible, I would plan your ceremony with these portraits in mind. I would schedule your ceremony right before portrait time so you can leave the ceremony and go directly to portraits.

06. Reception

Think about what your reception space looks like.

What is the lighting situation like? Is your reception outdoors or indoors? If your reception is indoors is the space filled with lots of natural windows or is it in a dark ballroom? Is there light hitting the reception space from all directions?

Again….we’re back to talking about that natural light! The ideal situation for capturing your reception on film is to host it outside. I would recommend underneath some big trees or underneath some big beautiful white tents or even out in the open (depending on the time of year).

07. Exit

Usually actual exits happen late in the evening at the very end of the night. If you’d like your exit to be captured in film consider planing a ‘fake exit’. You can schedule your fake exit during the beginning of the reception while there is still daylight, and get beautiful exit photos. Sometimes fake exits are nice for a few reasons:

  1. You can get beautiful exit images in film.
  2. They give your older guests a natural time to leave before it gets too late.
  3. If you don’t have a ton of time booked with your photographer, this allows you to maximize your photographer’s time and get that exit shot. For example, if you have your photographer booked for 10 hours, but you know your reception will go beyond the 10 hours you have booked; a fake exit will be perfect! It will allow you to get those exit images without extending your photographer’s time.

Do you have any questions on how to plan your wedding timeline? Leave your questions below! I’d love to hear them.

You can read more about the film series here and here!

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