- Verify all times and locations. Be sure nothing has changed or been updated without your knowledge.
- Verify the "dress code" for the event. For us, it is always dark suit, tie, white shirt, dress shoes. If the event is "black tie", then dust off the tux and get you assistants in black suits and a bow tie in lieu of renting a tux. Female assistants are always in black dresses or black suits.
- Be sure your assistants are scheduled and know the dress code. Have them plan to meet with you at your home/studio about 45 minutes before you leave for the event to review the day's agenda, shoot routine, names, and the team's responsibilities.
- Walk through the day with the client discussing when you will be arriving on site and the images you will taking of the girls and of the guys. Also discuss the images you plan to capture as they head for the church, the guests' arrivals, candids of the activity before the ceremony and unobtrusive ceremony images (all without flash). Assure the bride that the length of the group pictures after the ceremony - if they are not done before - will only be 30 minutes (or less if she requests it.) 30 minutes is our upper limit for these shots. Let the client know that you will have great coverage of the ballroom well documented with several overall views and several detail shots as well. If it's a smaller wedding, you can still capture the details and special touches that make it special for the client. Make it look better than it was! Lastly, let the client know you will capture all the fun, excitement, action, and spontaneity of the party. Keep all events well documented. We personally never leave till the end of the party. This conversation with the bride instills in them a level of confidence in your expertise, experience, and professionalism. It also builds the expectation that everything will be covered thoroughly and beautifully on her wedding day.
- Review with the client your "image review" policies and procedures so there are not any misunderstandings or miscommunication about them. We have the wedding images on-line about 30 days after the event, let them select their favorites, and fine tune the selection at a meeting in our studio about a week later.
- Follow up with wedding consultant/hotel staff/family coordinator for final review. Get all the "bases" covered. They will feel more comfortable with you having made the effort to be thorough and you will be more confident in knowing you are fulling informed from all sides.
- Double check rules and regulations at the church/synagogue if you have not worked there. Sometimes a phone call to the priest, minister, or rabbi to check on policy can be helpful. If you do this, you will probably be the only photographer in your local ever to make such an effort and the priest, minister, or rabbi will remember and appreciate your effort and professionalism.
- Be sure to talk, phone, or even meet the groom if you have not before the wedding. This avoids the "jerk groom" syndrome. You show up for the pictures, the groom has never met you, takes a little "attitude" with you because you've got to do your job and get the pictures, and starts acting like a jerk. Hey, it's your fault. Start building your relationship with the groom before hand. That way when you arrive on the scene, he respects and likes you and the whole session goes much more smoothly.
- Lastly, remember it's the couples day on their wedding day! This is not your opportunity to make it a picture fest for yourself and the bride and groom are your models for the day.
We cover all of this in phones calls to all the contacts listed here. If a client is coming in from out of town and wants a personal visit - no problem. We are always available to our clients by phone or in person to assure a smooth flowing day for their event. Thanks to Rob Jones, one of my DigitalProTalk readers, for suggesting this topic for discussion.