What do you do when a wedding day goes completely off schedule? How do you recover?
- Not enough time.
Hello Not Enough Time,
The fact is, most weddings go off schedule. They just do. Period. So it is important to plan for this before you head to the event. Wedding days are full of moments you can't anticipate. It is our job as a photographer not to control the situation, but to capture it as it happens.
Still, that being said, we are also hired to produce the magical images the client has in their head... this is where it becomes a balance of going with the flow, and working the situation to give you what you need.
What do I mean/ How do I do this?
Well to start, it is important you talk with the client about "must have photos." It is also important that you explain to them that if they have 20 pages of "must have photos" you won't be free to simply capture the day. It is best to have a small handful of photos they truly desire (aka, Dad kissing the bride on the cheek, Mom putting Bride into wedding dress...etc.).
Once they have nailed down some "must have photos" you know exactly what you have to "control" on the wedding day to make it happen.
Second, you must have a conversation with the client to set expectations of what you deliver. I always explain to my clients that I'm one person. If I'm in one place, I can't be in another. If I have a second shooter on a wedding day we typically split up so we can be capturing different things, but still, we are only 2 people. If the bride and groom are each doing something cool in separate locations, and uncle Bob is dancing with the flower girl, one thing has to be missed so the other two can be captured. By explaining this, the Bride and Groom are then on the same page as you that your goal is to capture the day how it happens, not 100% staged moments.
Lastly, I always tell my clients "Weddings never go as planned, be flexible for things to change." After telling them that I ask "what on the timeline we have created, can be deleted if it has to be?" This way you have wiggle room. If something takes longer on the wedding day, you know what you can cut to keep everything else.
As a wedding photographer I also explain to my clients that I will come "take them away" at moments we pre-plan for photos. I've had a Bride and Groom resist once or twice on their wedding day and I always let them do what they want. Later, when we don't have the planned photos I can say "well I came to get you, and you didn't want to do the photos, so we don't have them." Typically, since I explained to them before the wedding that this is how I approach their big day, they are very understanding.
Open communication is key Not Enough Time... talk to your clients BEFORE so they are okay after.
Happy photographing =)