Team Planning Walk Through | Transcription

All right, so now it’s time to discuss the day of the wedding. We have our team planning walk through. What is this? Well, 30 minutes prior to our contract time we’re going to sit down with our team and we’re going to walk through the entire day. We want the team to know the information. They should have read the condensed itinerary, notes, and information. They should be intimately familiar with all of that before this meeting ever happens. We send that out to them at least several days prior if not a week prior to the shoot for them to review and familiarize themselves with. Set a policy that if they show up and they’re not prepared and not looked at that, that they need to be. Make sure that this is part of your company culture.

What we do with this is we set up an ideal meeting time to have this team planning walk through. For me personally, I like doing this 30 minutes prior to call time on the day of the wedding. I’ll tell you why in just a second, but you can also plan this team meeting the day before. Justin and Chris, my partners, sometimes they like doing it on the drive. If the drive is going to be a long drive up to a location, they’ll do it during the drive. That totally works as well. It’s completely up to you on when you set the time.

Now, I prefer 30 minutes prior to the call time because it ensures that everybody arrives early to the shoot, so your second, your third, you assistant, whoever you have is going to arrive early. Also, it ensures that they’re 100% present. I feel like when we do team planning meetings in the office or when we do them on the phone, sometimes it’s like a game of getting people’s attention, whereas if it’s 30 minutes prior to go-time, they’re all there in person, they’re all present in mind, they have thought through everything, they’ve thought through the notes and so forth, and we can really have a great, efficient conversation and hit the ground running. That’s when I like to do it.

What we do is we walk through the day. We spent that early amount of time discussing or going around that property and looking at and planning out our day based on the light and based on everything. Now we’re conveying all of that information through to our team. We’re discussing locations. We’re discussing plans and travel movements. For example, if one part of the day the groom leaves and the second shooter’s supposed to go with the groom, then I confirm, “You’re supposed to go with the groom. He’s going to give you a ride to that location. We’re going to go to this spot.” We confirm all of those arrangements, so that way we’re not stuck at different locations and someone’s waiting for a ride and someone’s trying to figure out how to get back to the ceremony site and so forth.

Also, we review assignments and responsibilities. What does that mean? Well, we want to walk through different pieces of the day and say, “All right, so, I’m expecting you, the second shooter, or you, the third shooter, to have this shot. Hey, you know what, Tony? When it comes down to the couple session, most likely I’m going to be doing that right during the time where the reception is going to be set up. Unless otherwise noted, you’ve got reception details. I’m not going to have a chance to go in there and shoot it, so you’re on your own there.” This is again where we’re discussing all the assignments that might be specific to that day. We discuss special notes and family situations so, once again, they can be aware in terms of the family situations, in terms of any types of secret performances or things that others don’t know, surprises and so forth.

Next, when we’ve gone through everything, we’ve talked through the day, we’ve gone through our walk through, everyone has all the information, we synchronize our cameras. What does that mean? We pull up our cameras and we basically flip to our clocks and everybody synchronizes their clocks. We press the go button at the same time, so now our clocks are all synchronized. Now when we take images in different locations, shooting different things, we’re doing the ceremony, we’re doing whatever, all of the images when we get them into post are going to synchronize based on capture time so we can see everything chronologically throughout the entire day. This is a tremendous time-saver when it comes to culling the images. It’s a huge post-production benefit.

Now, if you’ve followed our Lightroom Workshop Collection, you can do this in post, so if you forget to do it on the day of, it’s not game over. We do have tutorials on how to do that in post, but doing it here will take two minutes, if that. Doing it in post will take you 15, 20, 30 minutes to synchronize, and it’s just a great headache that you don’t want to really ever have to deal with. Synchronize your cameras before you start shooting. If one camera has already started shooting, I’d recommend synchronizing to that camera that’s already been shooting.

Now, at that point we start up our team communication. What we’re doing is we’re using group text. If everybody has iPhones, group text works great. Otherwise you can use an app, you can use whatever you’d like to use, but what we want to do is start up a group text with the team. Then we start a group text with the team plus our planner. We will mention once again to the bride and groom that, “Hey, if you guys see me using my phone at any point in time, I am either looking at our itinerary or I’m talking to our team to make sure that we’re planning and we’re in the right positions. I will not be texting or doing anything else on this, the day of your wedding.” They go, “Of course, Pye, I absolutely trust you,” but, once again, we’re communicating up front and even over-communicating to make sure that they understand they are our one and only priority.

With the group text with team and planner, and actually with both of these groups, I’ll frequently tell our team, I say, “Don’t put any inappropriate jokes or anything in the group text that you wouldn’t want the client or anybody else reading.” Why? Because sometimes when you’re doing group text, you might actually mis-text the wrong group. If somebody jokes around about something on the team, if somebody says something … First of all, love our clients. First of all, I don’t really tolerate that on any of our shoots, but if they do happen to do something like that and they accidentally do it in the group text with the planner, what do you think that planner’s going to think now about the photography team? What do you think they’re going to do when it comes to giving out future referrals? They are not going to want to work with you anymore. They’re going to think that you guys are a bunch of jokesters, that you don’t appreciate the bride and groom, you don’t appreciate the day, and so forth. Again, following the same principles of loving your client, never speaking or joking in any negative way and so forth, it falls and applies to all of our conversations, even via text.

Also, if you like, you can also use a walkie-talkie to communicate with your team. This is totally up to you. You can get a walkie-talkie with an earpiece. The only thing is that you shouldn’t really go out and buy standard Motorola walkie-talkies. You have to basically get models that are professional walkie-talkies, for example the Motorola CP200. These walkie-talkies are going to set you back a few hundred bucks apiece, but they can actually work. The standard Motorola walkie-talkies, the ones that you get in those two- and three-packs for $50 or $100 or whatever they cost, they don’t work to save your life. They’re designed for outdoor locations. They’re designed for family usage, going out to a desert and camping in open air. When you’re dealing with buildings and hotels and distances and things between you, literally they stop working within like 30 to 40 feet. They are not reliable. Don’t listen to whatever range they promote. The range that they promote on the package is clearly when they’re out in the middle of the desert and nothing is around them for miles, because I don’t know how they’d have that range otherwise. Those don’t work. You have to step up to something professional. It’s going to set you back a bit of money, but it’s a great tool for team communication instantaneously during the wedding day.

All right, so there’s tons of different apps, there’s tons of different ways that you guys can communicate, but this group-based team planning is absolutely essential, because we use this throughout the day to communicate locations. We communicate and coordinate the first look. We say, “Okay, second shooter, I need you to get the groom in place. Is the groom in place?” “Yeah, Pye, the groom’s in place.” “All right, I’m bringing the bride down now. All right, turn the groom around. Okay, the bride’s set. Let’s set up all of our cameras. Let’s do all that. Okay, great, perfect.”

Later on in the day when it comes to the coordinator: “Hey, coordinator, we are going to take the bride and groom out for a 30-minute session. When do you need them back by at the latest so we can make sure that we are there on time ready to go?” If she tells us, “Okay, at the latest I need them here by 7:00pm for the grand entrance … ” By the way, you want to make an amazing impression on your coordinator? Follow her guide. If she gives you a guidance as far as when she needs the bride and groom and when she needs this and when she needs that, follow it. The most obnoxious thing to a coordinator, the one thing that’s going to make them never refer anybody to you ever again, is you not following their timeline, you going off and doing your own thing, stealing the bride and groom without their permission, doing that kind of stuff that is straight disrespectful to them.

All right, so, again, the team planning walk through is a crucial, it’s an essential piece of our successful wedding day. If you don’t do it on the wedding day, find a time prior to have this talk through with your team or walk through. Again, one of the benefits of, by the way, doing this on-location is that you can actually show them pieces of the property during that thing.


The Initial Meeting

Prepping for the Engagement Talk Through

Engagement Shoot Prep & Communication

Prepping for the Wedding Day Talk Through

Wedding Day Preparation & Communication


Let SLR Lounge guide you in your photography journey with the best photography education and resources. Browse our complete, comprehensive solutions and take the next step in your photography.