Planning for Wedding Photography


Client responsibilities

A wedding is a complex, fast moving event. It can be difficult to pull off, as you can imagine without a dedicated Wedding Planner.

Recommended Philadelphia-area Wedding Planners:

If you don’t have a Wedding Planner, please read this entire page carefully, as you assume the responsibilities listed below. It also contains tips that I have gathered over the years than can help you avoid some of the most common pitfalls of a self-planned wedding.




There are 2 major photo opportunities that you must schedule adequate time, arrange transportation, and choose general locations. Please do not leave this for the day of the wedding.

  • Read more about planning your timeline Here.

  • It is very likely your dress will get dirty when taking photos outside. If we are careful typically just the underside gets a little dirty, and it is not very noticeable the rest of the day. If this a concern for you there is an excellent article on Here with more information about keeping your dress clean.

  • If we will be shooting outside on non-paved surfaces buy a set of Heel Savers (Flat bottomed plastic slip-ons that prevent the heel of your shoe from sinking in soft surfaces) for the ladies that are wearing high heel shoes.




Photographing on private property always requires permission, but there are many public places that require a permit. It is important to look into this matter as soon as possible. Many locations are first-come, first-served, so you want to make sure that no one else claims your date, time and location.

Permits are generally not necessary for engagement shoots.

Read more about my recommended locations Here. This is not an all-inclusive list. It is your responsibility to fully research the requirements of each location.

Second Bank of the United States, Independence National Historical Park



  • If any of the locations that you select for photos are outside, you will need to plan for a backup location that is indoors or is covered.

  • If you are willing to brave the rain, I recommend purchasing matching umbrellas (see example), or generic white wedding umbrellas and we can attempt to proceed as planned outdoors. This isn’t always possible if your dress is long, or if the rain is heavy/driving.

  • High winds can also disrupt an outside Photo Shoot. Updo hairstyles with no bangs or dangling hairs will fare better when it is windy. In extreme circumstances we may have to move to an indoor location to get acceptable results.

Color coordinated umbrellas

Color coordinated umbrellas




  • If you are getting ready in a hotel, email or text me your room numbers when you check in.

  • The size and quality of a hotel room can have a significant impact on prep photos (see example). Splurge a bit on the bridal suite if you can fit it in your budget!

  • Have your makeup artist set up near a large window. Natural light is much better for photography.

  • In my experience, the Bride's hair and makeup often takes longer than expected. This can cause a time crunch, which results in missed opportunities for shots like the Bride's Individual Portraits. It is wise to add extra time in your itinerary in case of a delay.

  • I typically like to take a few shots of the bride and bridesmaids before they get dressed, so if possible make sure no one is dressed before I arrive.

  • If possible have both wedding bands available at the Brides prep location when I arrive.

  • Have your dress, shoes, jewelry and anything sentimental ready and unpacked at least 30 minutes before my arrival time.

  • Buy or bring along a better-looking hanger than the one supplied with your dress.

  • Have one of your invitations available.

  • Keeping the room clean and clutter-free helps to keep your images free from distraction. An easy way to accomplish this is to assign that task to one of your Bridesmaids!

  • Have the flowers delivered at least 1 hour before getting dressed at the Bride and Groom's prep locations. Please do not have the flowers delivered directly to the Church or the Venue unless no getting ready photos are wanted.

  • Have someone experienced with boutonniere pinning available to help the guys attach their flowers. You can watch a helpful video here.

Recommended Vendors:



  • Consider having an unplugged ceremony. Have an announcement made asking everyone to enjoy the ceremony without taking photos. This will reduce the chance of any disruptions with the professional coverage.

  • Ask your Officiant/Priest/Minister to move out of the way just before they announce the first kiss. They can look very awkward hovering over you.

  • Pennsylvania offers a self-uniting marriage option. It is non-denominational, and allows you to be married without the presence of a third-party officiant.

  • One way to streamline your day, and to save time for photos, is to avoid a receiving line.

Recommended Vendors:



  • Have the caterer or venue arrange for the photographers to eat at the same time that you do, not after all the guests have been served. This will ensure that no important moments are missed.

  • Ask the DJ to avoid any (or any excessive) laser lighting effects on the dance floor (see example).

Recommended Reception Vendors:



  • The camera is very sensitive to color variations, so I recommend that couples consider a teeth whitening treatment just before the wedding.

  • Any concerns with complexion should be handled with makeup (men & women). It can be much more expensive to fix afterwards.

  • Avoid tanning! While the effect of a tan may look pleasing in person, it often leaves the skin looking unnatural in photographs, especially when it is overdone.

Other resources:

An Insider’s Guide to Looking Good in Wedding Photos




  • For optimal candid photos, it is best for you, your bridal party and family, as well, to ignore the photographers.

  • If there is a possibility of chilly temperatures on your day, I recommend having a fur shawl or matching sweaters ready for portraits. They can make outdoor portrait sessions significantly more comfortable.