The Wedding Photographer + Planner Experience

© Jasmine Star. This post cannot be republished without permission. Stealing makes me sad.
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...

Happy Friday!
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Karen Julia - An ace insight Jasmine! What you said about connecting the creative team I think is really important, even if there wasn't a specific wedding planner, this could be useful. I love the idea about the timeline on postcards too! Thanks for the post!  07.04.12 - 1:51pm
Wedding Photography - Yep, great tips Jasmine! keep it up! we are big fans of your and thanx  06.15.12 - 4:58am
liverepool Photography - Great creativity and informative post. Thanks for sharing  05.30.12 - 5:49am
christine williams - such a resourceful post, thank you for this, jasmine, you rock!  05.28.12 - 2:59pm
Wedding Photography - Oh Wao! the beach shot and beautiful couple make for each other really it gives a impact to whole outstanding shot.  05.18.12 - 2:17am
Fiona Campbell - Thanks for this post Jasmine. Working with a planner involves lots of collaboration, which I really enjoy, but there are pitfalls. I had one planner who told me the ceremony started 30 minutes later than it was supposed to. Nightmare. That said I am a huge fan of using wedding planners as I think it makes the event go so much more smoothly and allows the bride and groom to relax.   05.17.12 - 1:10am
Schaffer Photography - Great advice Jasmine! I love getting to collaborate with other wedding professionals on things we both love and are passionate about :)  05.14.12 - 6:14pm
Andrew Cresswell - Great advice and approach to wedding photography. Photographers that simply turn up on the day Are sooooo wrong!  05.14.12 - 2:02am
Haley Johnston - Great points! Thanks! <3  05.13.12 - 2:53pm
Andrew Cheal - Great tips Jasmine, it would be sooo nice to work with a planner ahead of the day.  05.13.12 - 12:23am
Bowerbird Photography - Great idea, Jasmine. Having good communication with the planner is key - and we love getting timelines in advance. We also like getting the chance to meet the creative team before the wedding. This way we get to meet each other and figure out how to best work together on the big day to provide extraordinary service for the bride and groom.  05.12.12 - 12:53pm
Ashley Goodwin - Smart! xo  05.12.12 - 11:29am
Lilia - I appreciate all of your input for business advancement. I look forward for a future second round of THE FIX where you can touch on details like this of the photography business. Thanks ;]   05.11.12 - 10:27pm
April Cenora - Jasmine! I love your thoughts on this topic. I truly believe that a planner and photog should work together on a timeline. Thanks for solidifying this for me :) Have a wonderful weekend.  05.11.12 - 5:17pm
Kristin Nicole - Love this!  05.11.12 - 2:26pm
Ashley B - Great advice! Thanks  05.11.12 - 1:55pm
MELRISH PHOTOGRAPHY - We have not really worked with wedding coordinators/planners a lot but these are good notes and we'll definitely keep these in mind for our future shoots. Thanks J!  05.11.12 - 12:48pm
Claudia Lewis - You can always spot a great photographer by looking at the expressions of the people being photographed. Great work Jasmine. Also, I really enjoyed reading your Exposed magazine. Highly recommend it.  05.11.12 - 12:04pm
Jessica Vidmar Photography - LOVE that shot and would also love to know the specs on it...  05.11.12 - 10:59am
celissa - I love when the photographer and I can work together. In my opinion, how well we work together can make or break an event.   05.11.12 - 9:44am
Kitrin Jeffrey - Great post J*. I look forward to my first opportunity to work with a wedding coordinator. Hope you're having a blast in Cancun!  05.11.12 - 9:36am
Faith Cherisse - Thank you Jasmine! Great read! :)  05.11.12 - 9:28am
Stephanie Stewart - Love this post, so helpful! Especially concerning seeing the timeline in advance so that any potential snafus can be avoided! So important! And I cannot wait to see more of this engagement session!!!  05.11.12 - 9:27am
Jasmine - This Moment Events - This is a great post -when incredible photographers and great planners work together, it really does create a kind of magic that works in the couple's favor! Thanks for sharing this - us planners love to know what our photographers need from us and how to make their lives easier for the big day- it's a team effort!  05.11.12 - 9:12am
Odalys Mendez - These tips are so valuable Jasmine. Thank you for sharing your extensive experience.  05.11.12 - 9:11am
Callandra - Jasmine, Thank you so much for sharing this! I couldn't agree more that the client's experience is greatly improved when the creative teams works as... A team! I love the idea of the 3x5 timeline, and providing the photographer with a list of vendors. I so appreciate when photographers take time to provide me with images, it would be nice to offer them some help with blogging!  05.11.12 - 9:10am
Jamie - great tips, Jasmine, thank you!  05.11.12 - 9:05am
Pj Geonzon - what lens did you use and @ what aperture did you use?  05.11.12 - 7:33am