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Once Wedding season begins, we get flooded with the same question over and over again…. “How do you have time for SO many portraits on a wedding day?!”. It’s taken me a few years to really grasp how we run our business and our wedding days differently from other photographers that allows us to accomplish this. When photographers would ask us how we were able to accomplish so much in such a little amount of time, my first response was “I guess I just shoot really fast!”. Ha! That’s not a helpful answer… and it’s not the full truth. There are several other contributing factors!!

I truly believe that ANYONE can accomplish a ton of gorgeous portraits on a wedding day! It’s true that my couples continually have a TON of portrait options. The “Bride and Groom” folder on their PASS galleries is always the second largest folder (the reception normally has more images!).  So how do we do it? How do we get so much portrait time and then accomplish so much in the portrait time that we do have? Well, I could literally write about this for days… but I’m going to leave you with 6 steps for now that will help you start making progress!!

  1. EDUCATE : You have to realize that you’re in charge of educating your clients. What you SHOW is what you’re going to SHOOT! Have you ever noticed what the focus of my wedding blog posts are? They aren’t family portraits. I love doing family portraits for my couples but I have trained my couples to fall in love with Bride and Groom portraits because I excel in that area and so I highlight those shots when I blog and share on social media!
  2. Use EVERY moment of the day. If you’re walking to a second location, don’t walk and talk with them…. do that during the engagement session. Let them walk ahead of you and hold hands. Tell them to stop for a split and share a soft kiss… and then ask the bride to smile over the shoulder while the groom goes in for a nuzzle…. then keep walking. BAM. You have 1. A walking shot from behind, 2. A kiss, 3. Bride smiling and groom nuzzling shots instantly. That’s an album spread. USE your TRANSITIONS!
  3. Use The Posing Evolution! I’ll be offering more on this topic soon but it’s basically our approach to posing. My goal is to do a TON of different poses, use ALL of my favorite lenses, rotate through different EMOTIONS and shoot numerous compositions and ANGLES all in one spot… without ever moving the couple’s feet. You don’t need 5 different portrait locations on a wedding day to have a bazillion gorgeous portraits… you need two… three if you’re lucky. :)
  4. If you find great light, STAY THERE!! Max out that one location and don’t move until you have done EVERYTHING you can think of! It would be a SHAME to leave great light and then move to a second location where the light isn’t ideal and then all of a sudden you’re out of time and the bridal party is waiting on you!!
  5. Encourage First Looks! Do my couples have to do them? Nope! Not at all. But I make sure there is a VERY clear understanding about how not doing a first look will affect the amount of images they would receive. I don’t want ANYONE to be disappointed. Bride’s can’t expect a massive gallery of gorgeous bride and groom portraits when they give me one hour after the ceremony for Family formals, bridal party, AND bride and groom shots…. oh, AND I’m supposed to shoot the reception decor and travel to the reception location? Ah! You have to make sure you set expectations. If they aren’t doing a first look, you’ll need more than an hour between the ceremony and introductions. Educated is essential!!
  6. Be present and available to help with the timeline. I’m normally the one that helps my bride with her timeline. This is because we get our Bride and Groom questionnaires out several months before the wedding and we are the ones initiating that conversation. You can’t be annoyed that you have NO portrait time when you didn’t offer ANY advice for creation of the timeline! Most brides have never done this before… so help a sista’ out!

Ok I could go on and on! But I’m going to have to cut it off here because I’m leaving for an out of town wedding today… and my sister is getting married in 7 days… AH! And I’m serving in many MANY different roles which means there is a lot to get done! :) So enjoy your weekend everyone!! And happy shooting!!

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xoxo, Katelyn
14 Comments Ask Anything, Education
  1. Kathryn Grace reply

    Thanks for the reminders, Katelyn! I’m off to shoot a wedding tomorrow so it’s great to get a pep talk beforehand. :-)

  2. Wayfaring Wanderer reply

    Great tips! I can’t wait to read more about #3 Posing Evolution! I’m definitely going to keep these things in mind for my first wedding of 2014 this weekend! :-)

  3. Maria reply

    Great points, I love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. elizabeth reply

    Thank you SO much, Katelyn – your FAQ posts are always so helpful to me. =) Blessings!

  5. Rosa reply

    I’ve always wondered about portraits time. I’ve always admired the amount of portraits you take and show. You are a PERFECT example of time well used, thanks for the tips!! :)

  6. Rachael reply

    Since attending your workshop, I’ve tried the posing evolution and have adapted it to how I shoot and it totally works! A couple weddings ago we only had about 15 minutes (ceremony ran WAY over) and only have one location in which the light was great and their portraits still turned out wonderfully!

  7. Cynthi reply

    This is a great list! Thank you!

  8. Amy Demos reply

    AMEN, sista! This is stellar advice. Love it!

  9. BOB & JAN MONTGOMERY reply

    DEAR KATELYN, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE PICTURES THAT WERE TAKEN AT ASHLEY AND ROBERT’S WEDDING RECEPTION. HOW DO I FIND THESE ON THE WEB? I FOUND THE ENTIRE WEDDING DAY PICTURES AND THEY ARE FABULOUS! THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR FINE TALENT IN PRODUCING THESE WONDERFUL MEMORIES FOR ALL OF US.
    SINCERELY, JANET MONTGOMERY
    ASHLEY’S GRANDMA (MARKS’ MOTHER)

  10. Megan reply

    I loved this! Education is the biggest key!

  11. shiv reply

    Better picture of better movement thanks to searing

  12. shiv reply

    Wonderful wedding movement picture

  13. Miguel reply

    Thank you for sharing. Love the idea to not cheat chat so much and instead take photos with every opportunity you get even if your just walking. Do you by chance have a posing guide? Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  14. Jen reply

    Love your work! Would love to recieve tips and tricks!

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