You dont need me to tell you that wedding days can be busy affairs with lost happening at once. A lot of this is beyond your control as a photographer. People and ceremonies can run late, the weather can be changeable (it is Ireland after all) and with a group of often 150 people in one place it can be unpredictable. This we cannot control, simple. However, there are steps we can take in other areas of our business that can mean that our role on the day can go as smoothly as possible and in our own lead up to wedding and the weeks that follow, we dont run our business in this constant state of unpredictability and uncertainty. If repeatedly say to couples that if we put a good plan in place ahead of the day, it means that they as a couple can just switch off and enjoy the day, as everything is being looked after for them. Because we have a plan, they aren’t left wondering “what happens next?” Spoiling their flow of the day. Now, this is not to say that we run the day with military like precision, what is the fun in that!! But it does mean that we know that everything is possible in the time I am with my couple and their expectations are met.
Pre-Wedding Planning and Workflow
About one month out from the wedding I send my couples a Pre-Wedding Questionnaire. In this, I get from my couples all of the start times, locations and distances between everything. I look for when they would like to photograph their couples portraits and group photographs and then offer my advice based on their wishes. Using all of their information I then work on a timeline for my couples, so that they know what is possible and how long everything will take on the day. I then tell them to forget about it and leave it to me. As a photographer, you will often end up becoming the planner/coordinator on the day, guiding everyone to what should happen next. So plan well, ahead of time and you will be confident in this on the day, even if you are new to weddings!
All of my contact with m couples is done through 17Hats. It is such a tremendous aid to my workflow. I used to keep together a couples questionnaires, invoices and contracts and I even use the notes facility to note down anything they might mention in conversation or at their engagement session, that I might need to remember later. For example that after the wedding they are moving to a new city, so remember to check before I send on the USB! This also shows to your couples that you have listened to them and taken a interest in their lives. The templates facility in 17 Hats is very valuable again meaning that you dont need to type from scratch emails that you often send or items that you quote for again and again, like wedding albums or frames.
Post Wedding Workflow
It is really after a wedding that a lot of the work starts for real. As soon as I return from a wedding I like to upload my images to the computer. I carry a hard drive with me at a wedding and upload to that during the day, so by the time I am back at my desk I have 3 copies of the wedding or shoot that I have been on. Once I upload all of the raw files, I then make a copy straight away to 2 hard drives – so I now have 5 separate copies of the wedding. from here I cull the images down to the amount that I would like to edit and make copies of these again to separate hard drives. Then the editing begins and once I export the final edited images from Lightroom, I again make copies, one going to the USB I will send to the couple and another to Pixieset where I store all of my online galleries. My couples then receive their images about 1 month to 5 weeks after their wedding and at this time I send them on their USB and the other elements included in their package except for the album. I usually wait for couples to come back to me with their image selection for their album but I do send them gentle reminders as it is always a good idea to try and complete this as soon as possible and know that everything has been completed for the couple as they would like it.
So there you have it, this is my workflow for each and every wedding I photograph it. It is almost like a habit now as I am so well versed in what I should be doing at each stage. I have also recently added Trello to my workflow and I am going to look at that with you in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned for that!