5 Aspects to Consider When you Hire a Film Photographer


March 10, 2022

You’ve been browsing pinterest and instagram gathering inspiration for your wedding and you find yourself continually gravitating towards a specific type of image.  These images have a painterly quality and skin tones that can’t be matched.  You love how bright, clean, and classy they look as they are close to true color in real life and don’t look washed out.  This is the magic of film!  I have been shooting film now for over 5 years and I’m still not sick of the results I achieve.  So now that you decided you can’t go any other route but a film photographer, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to achieve those dream like photos that you love.  Let me preface by saying that each wedding is unique and certain aspects you can’t control on a wedding day, but today I’m sharing my top 5 aspects to consider when you hire a film photographer to achieve the photos you dream of.

  1. Prepare your meaningful details in advance

Let your photographer know where your dress and shoes can be found so they can get detail shots of those special pieces.  Remove your dress from the garment bag, and if you have specific hanger you are welcome to use it, otherwise I have a pretty antique one I like to use.  Put all your other small details in a bag or box and present it to your photographer when they arrive.  They will want to take pictures of these details before you put them on if possible.  In your small bag or box, you should include:

-paper goods-program, escort card, menu, full invitation suite with extra envelopes and any other details like a spool of string or ribbon, stamps, etc.  A lot of times I will bring the embellishments myself.  Another thing you can do is ask the florist for extra blooms that they didn’t use.

-Jewelry- earrings, necklace etc.

-Rings (his and her wedding bands, as well as your engagement ring)

-Any other sentimental details that you might want to include.  This could include heirloom hair pieces, or a love note written in calligraphy.

Be sure to give your photographer ample time in your timeline ( I would recommend at least 30 minutes) to spend time styling and photographing your meaningful details in a beautiful, naturally bright location. Sometimes if you have a planner or a stylist they can have the styling all done and then I can come in and photograph them much quicker.  

2. Plan to get ready in a bright room, free of clutter, and full of ample window light.  (if this isn’t an option it is worth it to finish getting your dress on in a private location like a patio)

Look for as much natural light as possible as this will allow your photographer to shoot in film while you are getting ready. Look for large windows where natural light can shine through.  Don’t have any fluorescent or artificial lights on. If there is not a good space available that fits this criteria I would highly suggest staging the last bit of your getting ready shots. We do this by finding a private area in an outside shaded area where you can have your mother or bridesmaids help you stage getting into your dress and putting your shoes on. If you have any accessories with special meaning be sure to mention it to your photographer so they can photograph you putting them on.

3. Opt for a bright ceremony if possible:

The ceremony can be one of the most challenging times to shoot because we cannot control the light or the position in which the couple is getting married! Especially if you choose to get married in a dark church or building. While deciding on your ceremony location, keep these tips in mind:

For Church Ceremonies:

-How is the lighting? Is it dark? Are there any windows that would provide natural light?

-What does the light look like at the specific time of your ceremony?

We recommend churches or chapels that have as much window light as possible.

For Outdoor Ceremonies:

-How is the lighting? Is it under the shade of trees? Or in direct sunlight?

-What does the light look like at the specific time of your ceremony?

-Is there surrounding space where your photographer can freely move around to get different shots?

4. Have all your portraits done outside:

If you are getting married in a church, you will want to move all your bridal party and family outside after the ceremony for portraits. I usually suggest couples hold their ceremony about 2 hours before sunset. That way you have time to finish any portraits that you weren’t able to complete before the ceremony. A good photographer will scout the location before your wedding date and look for all the best areas for shots based off of lighting. Always, prioritize lighting over location. You could have a stellar location but if you are placed in direct sun, you aren’t going to be that happy with your squinty eyes in the photos.

5. Plan to have an outdoor Cocktail:

Communicate with your photographer about any special details that you will have during your cocktail hour-guest book, escort cards wedding favors, specialty foods or cocktails. These details will most likely be photographed during your cocktail hour or before. We like to photograph the details in context! For example, some brides have specific bartenders flown in with imported wines. This can get very costly, you will want it photographed ;).

Servers holding delectable h’or dervs, a tower of champagne glasses spilling over with drink, all of which can be photographed beautiful on film and tell the story of your day.

I hope you found some nuggets you can use when planning your wedding day. Good communication with your vendor team is the best way to get the images that you have always dreamed of!



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