There are many different factors / tactics in regards to planning for wedding photographers. There is definitely a lot of detail and systems to put in place for wedding photographers to carry out their job. Those systems and procedures change based on the experience level of the photographer, style of capture, and overall efficiency. What sparked this topic, on the way to photograph an out of state wedding, my assistant was baffled that I did not have the day completely mapped out, with every detail in mind. She’s used to a completely different style and approach of working and capture, so I felt this would be an interesting topic. For two or three people maybe. LOL.
I think every wedding photographer agrees that it’s important to keep equipment in top working order and cover your bases. Also, of course to know where you’re going, and have access to a timeline. That’s where the similarities end. This particular wedding was not hard to understand, and didn’t have the most formal timeline, but it was all I needed to do my job. My assistant of the day was amazed that I was ok with going forward with the basics. Like her, many wedding photographers have to have things planned down to the minute. Which works for them, if they orchestrate as they go.
Being documentary style, if I know the location(s) and basic timeline info, I can work with that alone. It’s inherent for me to follow the event, which makes any piece of paper irrelevant when things don’t go as planned. (which is out of my hands if it happens) But I still have a wedding day to document. If I’m referring to a list, I’m missing the genuine moments that happen, and human interaction. Because I don’t orchestrate, but rather document, I am used to going with the flow, which has helped me a lot for events when things change or go wrong. Even with the best of planners, they can only orchestrate the event with cooperation from the couple and family, which oddly doesn’t always happen. Rather than scramble at a paper that doesn’t apply at that point, I remain ready to follow the event. As far as planning for wedding photographers, or lack of, It’s a different mindset. One that doesn’t advocate being unprepared, just alert and adaptable.