Article thanks to Sue Featherstone Bride Online Columnist

The Photographer's Wedding Process: A Step By Step Guide

The area in which brides are most likely to splash out is on their photographer.  Sure, buying the $15,000 dress of your dreams can be very tempting, but most opt to spend where they’ll be able to see their money for years to come- hanging on their walls. One of our most frequent questions sent in by brides, however, is ‘why why why do photographers cost so damn much?’. So, in answer to this, we’ve outlined the process- and every single detail that entails- to give you a better understanding of what the photographer is going through, and how you can help make their arduous task ahead as easy as possible. We have a look at the wedding photographer’s schedule, from meeting the client to delivering the complete album.

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First Contact

- This generally begins with you contacting your potential photographer, often to request further information.

- Your photographer will confirm the wedding date, time and venue to make sure there are no clashes.

- They will organise to meet with you face-to-face, or use a video conference if you live far away.

First Consultation

- It’s important to see whether you and your photographer have some kind of emotional common ground, or rapport. Try to get a good sense of your photographer’s personality, that they similarly ‘get’ you, and ensure they understand what you’d like for your photographs.

- Your photographer will then showcase their portfolio and highlight their favourite photos.

- They’ll then outline the entire process and discuss with you/ decide on a timeline – from the booking to the delivery of the finished album.

- Then, they’ll set expectations beforehand, such as how long they’ll be to staying for and if they’ll need accommodation.

-  Next, they’ll explain precisely what they can deliver, including: number of photos, wedding DVD, types of photos and an album.

-  Then they’ll discuss costs and agree on the price, amount to be deposited and when final payments will be made.

- They’ll next cover contingencies and what happens if they’re sick, if it rains or if the wedding is cancelled.

- After that, they’ll go through the contract together, so you can sort out any problems at the time.

- Then, they’ll let you take the contract home if they’d like, to discuss it with their partner before making a decision.

- A decent photographer will never put pressure on a potential client to hire you.


- You’ve decided that you love the photographer’s work and have hired the photographer.

- Make sure you have a signed copy of the contract.

- Check that the deposit has been paid.

- Your photographer should ensure that they have added your wedding date to their calendar and check that they have all your details and contact numbers.

- Often, if your photographer’s especially nice, they’ll send you a little welcome note.

Enagagement Photos

- Photographers are often asked to take engagement photos and it’s the ideal way to see how you work together.

- It also gives your photographer a chance to figure out who the important people will be at the wedding.

- They’ll then sort and edit the pictures and send a few to the couple.

- Your photographer will then post the images on your blog or website.

- When your photographer has processed and uploaded all the photos, they’ll send the link to your client.

Scout Out The Venue

- A week or two before the big day, your photographer will go and investigate the venue.

- They’ll then find great locations for different shoots and keep an eye out for a rain backup plan.

- They’ll take into account lighting conditions in the ceremony and reception venues, and see where it’s best for you to stand

- Generally, they’ll plan your visit for the same time of day as the actual wedding, so the lighting conditions will be the same.

- They’ll then make a list of the equipment and accessories they’ll need for that specific venue.

Pre-Wedding Meeting

- Before the wedding, your photographer will want to meet with you to discuss the wedding schedule.

- They’ll ask for a photo request list.

- They’ll then ask for the contact details for all the important people, including the wedding coordinator, maid of honour and best man.

- They’ll make sure that they’ve been paid in full, if that’s the agreement you made with them. You don’t want to have that conversation on the wedding day.

Day Before The Wedding

- They’ll organise their gear: clean lenses, charge batteries, format memory cards and pack all their equipment including spare cameras, tripods, filters and a portable hard drive.

- They’ll  check that they have the right directions and that they know what time they’re expected to arrive

- They’ll pack their cheat sheet with the couple’s must-have photos

Wedding Day

- Your photographer should arrive early and make sure theyre appropriately dressed

- They’ll bring their assistant and a second shooter if necessary

- They’ll follow the wedding schedule and make sure that they’re aware of the time, so that they don’t make anyone late.

- They’ll spend some time taking candid photos that aren’t on the prescribed list, as these are usually the more relaxed images that the couple will love.

- They’ll  direct the photo shoot session

- If you’ve found yourself a great photographer, they should go out of your way to be friendly and sociable, and try to put everyone at ease, particularly you as a (usually) nervous couple.

- They’ll be proactive and adaptive for when things go wrong.

- In total, they’ll try to be as discreet as possible.

After The Wedding

- They’ll back up all the photos on DVD, their computer and online – you can never be too careful!

-  Then, they’ll cull all the badly exposed, cropped and out-of-focus images

- They’ll sort and edit the remaining photos by removing red eyes, cropping, rotating and adding in their personal touch through post-processing.

- They’ll then select some of their favourite images and send them to the newlyweds.

- In all likelihood, they’ll post a few pictures onto your blog, website or Facebook page

- Once all the editing is complete, they’ll often burn the photos onto a DVD

- It’s common for photographers to upload all the photos onto their website and then to send a password to their client, so they can view all the images online.

- Depending what the arrangement is between photographer and client, they can either supply you with a DVD of all the wedding pics, or ask them to order the images they want via your website.

Post-Wedding Meeting

- They’ll hold a photo viewing session with you to make sure they’re happy with the final results.

- Then they’ll discuss what photos they want to blow up and print

- If you’ve requested an album, they’ll often use this session to discuss what images you want to use.

Design And Printing

- They’ll use a high-quality printer for the wedding images as this will highlight their good work.

- They’ll design the layout of the album, print the selected images and create the album.


- Your photos are perfect, so they should be presented in an appropriate way, such as using a gift box.

- When your photographer delivers your prints, DVD or wedding album, they may send a gift and thank you card (though of course, this isn’t a given).

- They should follow up to ensure you and your partner are happy.

- Because their business comes from referrals, they may ask for a review.

A photographers purpose is to take photos, and to get the best out of their clients, they have to make the couple feel relaxed and at ease, as well as go the extra mile to showcase their fantastic services. They’ll be providing a service that is near priceless- capturing the surprise and the tears, the anticipation and the nervous laughter, the joy and the love. For the newlyweds, the experience that photographers give them is just as important as the pictures.

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