A few days ago, I had a great conversation with a wedding planner in Los Angeles. What I thought was an interview to see if I was good fit for her potential clients turned into a genuine opportunity for my to express my opinions. Here's why: She asked me how I work best with coordinators. She flipped the switch on me and provided the opportunity to be heard.
I sat dumbfounded for a second, then thanked her for opportunity to hopefully work together for the benefit of a bride. Here are few ways a photographer and wedding coordinator can work together to ensure everything flows smoothly...
1. A timely timeline
I understand solidifying a wedding timeline is difficult, especially far in advance to the actual day, but a perfect scenario would be for the wedding photographer to see a loose breakdown three weeks in advance. Yes, I know this may seem crazy, but when a photographer is asked for her opinion, we can work together as a team to give realistic approximations as how long pictures will take and how much time I need to capture details, family portraits, and bridal party photos. Sometimes just a brief conversation can radically improve the layout of a wedding day and getting a sneak peek helps a ton!
2. Day-of timeline
Occasionally I have the pleasure of working with a wedding planner who prints 2.5x3.5 cards of the timeline for the creative team. Of course, she sends the detailed timeline a few days in advance (including the floral load-in, guest count, contact info, etc), but when the actual day arrives, the abbreviated timeline on the small card keeps everyone on the same page and where we need to be...I LOVE it!
3. Assisting family portraits
The best coordinators surround themselves with a powerhouse team. I believe this is the key to a stress-free and awesome day. One of the benefits of working with a team is the luxury of the main coordinator leaving an assistant to help manage family portraits. This is, of course, not expected from a photographer's viewpoint, but by the time family pictures happen on the wedding day, the planner's team has interacted with the family in a greater capacity (the planning process, the rehearsal dinner, etc). This often allows the assistant to personalize the process as well as help expedite it.
(An added bonus is that the sooner the photographer completes family photos, the more opportunity he/she has to document the reception and cocktail hour details, which helps showcase a wedding planner's hard work)
4. Connecting the creative team
I love when a wedding coordinator will send a list of the entire creative team in advance to the wedding. It helps knowing who's involved with the wedding day as well as provide a great resource for listing the contributors when blogging the wedding at a later point in time.
When I first started in wedding photography, I didn't know how to voice what I needed from a creative team. Now that the business has matured, I hope this offers insight on how to leverage the opportunity working with a wedding planner and making the experience beneficial for everyone involved and ensuring the bride is happy.
And because every post is better with a picture, here's a sneak peek of an engagement session I photographed this week...