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So, you’ve got a wedding shoot on the horizon. Fantastic! Now it falls on your shoulders to document one of, if not the biggest days in their lives. No pressure then!

Rest-assured, help is at hand. To relieve some of the stress leading up to the shoot and on the day itself, there are preparations you can make to ensure the wedding day runs smooth and hassle-free. Here’s a checklist.

Know The Details

Having spoken to the bride and groom, you should have a solid understanding of the details of their wedding. These should include:

  • Locations of the preparations, ceremony and reception.
  • Timings of the key events – preparations, arrival of the bride, ceremony, meal, speeches, first dance etc.
  • Any restrictions on flash or photography throughout all locations.
  • Any religious affiliations with guests or the venues.
  • Specific photography requests from the wedding couple regarding themselves, guests or family.

Preparing for a wedding photoshoot

Know Your Role

Compile a schedule of where you need to be, at what time, and what your role is at each stage. Keep this in your back pocket. This way, the day doesn’t become an overwhelming mountain of tasks and running around. With a quick glance, you can see exactly where you need to be and what aspect of the photography is coming up. Plus, it enables you to plan in food and toilet breaks and those all important ‘stepping off the gas’ moments in order to keep your momentum and concentration up for the whole day.

Know The Venues

Your preparations should also include scouting the venues prior to the big day in order to familiarise yourself with them. Use these visits to compile a list of possible photo locations and composition ideas so that you can just fly through them on the day. Try taking your camera along and firing off some test shots to see what works and what doesn’t. Fumbling around for ideas on the day will result in you looking unprepared and unprofessional.

While you’re at the venues, talk to the staff and enquire as to any restrictions on photography or the use of a flash. This gives you the chance to tackle any issues in advance.

Furthermore, always have a plan-B of photo ideas in the event it rains on the day. This will put the wedding party (and you) at ease knowing that you have all bases covered.


Know Your Equipment

Frequent fliers keep with them a checklist of everything they need to pack, including clothes, toiletries and documents. It’s a mean to efficiency and the system works. As a photographer, you should do the same. Have an equipment checklist to-hand for each type of photoshoot you do. Chances are you won’t need all of your gear with you all the time. The specific lenses and accessories you pick for each shoot will depend on the contents of your collection.

In addition…

  • Make sure you have plenty of freshly-formatted memory cards. Plus, fully-charge all camera and flash batteries, including spares.
  • Clean your equipment to ensure your camera optics are blemish free.
  • Test your camera, back-up camera and flash units the night before to ensure there are no sudden surprises on the day.
  • Set your camera and flash settings so that they’re ready to shoot straight out of the bag. Similarly, if you’re going to be shooting off-camera flash from the start, have this set up before you arrive.


Eventually you’ll soon adopt your own systems and checklists to best suit you. The purpose of such a system is to alleviate your stress leading in to the shoot, whilst ensuring your day runs without a hitch (no pun intended).

Watch our video editon of this article below.

Author – Oliver Pohlmann

Photography – Stuart Tree & Oliver Pohlmann


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