Having served in the Army, there is an adage that is used throughout the service; the 5 'P's' - Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. I think this is especially true when photographing a wedding. During the day, the events go so quick, and in order to do the day justice, the photographer needs to know what is happening, where to be, at the right time and in the right place.
Fortunately the last wedding I shot, the couple where very much on the same wavelength. The couple, Kev and Sarah, realised the importance of what good photography meant to them and wanted to make sure that there was time available and was well planned. They had shots and ideas that they had seen and locations they had thought would be photogenic. I met up with them twice before the wedding to discuss the photography, and the second visit proved to be a really valuable recce. The couple are both very outdoorsy, and wanted some shots of the peak district in the background, where the wedding was taking place. Just a few minutes drive from the fantastic venue, The Maynard in Grindleford, was an open moor, with a variety of locations that was easy to access and get around in a short space of time. If the weather would hold out, it would prove to be a beautiful shoot. The venue, which we also had a good look around for possible locations, had plenty of scope for a wet weather plan.
To be able to take the couple away straight after the ceremony is also important. I always ask couples to have about half an hour for the couple shots on their own. It is about the only time they have during the day on their own, and it is nice to be able to do before the group shots, as that is one thing that always takes longer than expected. Once on their own, they can reflect on the day so far, before being greeted by all their friends and family.
The day on the whole proved to be a great success. The weather was beautiful, and enabled us to get onto the moors along with their two dogs that did an awesome job of posing for the cameras. It was a fantastic wedding, with pictures that I am really proud of, and having had that prior preparation really helped, as well as a couple that really saw the importance of getting good imagery of their wedding.