Timeline Walk Through | Part 1 | Transcription

When talking through the actual timeline, we want to cover the entire day and we want to cover all the details, incorporating their vision, their ideas, their mood board as we are discussing the timeline. This is going to be what I would call the linchpin of our planning for the condensed itinerary and for all the information that we’re putting together. The linchpin is this condensed itinerary, this itinerary that’s going to have all of the information from start to finish as to what we need to be shooting, where we need to be, and so forth. All the other notes and everything else is going to be built around that.

What we want to do is we want to cover things from start to finish, so before we go ahead and walk to Dane and Jessica, there’s certain things that I want you all to realize that these are very simple things that get overlooked all the time that can end up in disasters. One of them is to confirm times and locations. This means that you confirm your start time, your end time, and your location. I know that sounds so stupidly simple. This is what I see all the time. Preparation, and it starts at 8:00am and up top it says “Wedding at St. Regis,” and it says, “preparation starting at this,” and it says this and this and this and this. Without confirming, it comes down to the day of, and you find out all of a sudden that prep is actually at the bride’s home and then they’re going to St. Regis. It’s such a simple thing to make sure you say, all you say is, “Great guys. I see on that itinerary that we’re starting out at 8:00am, and we’re going to be at St. Regis. Correct?” “Yes, correct.” Confirm that starting time, location first.

Also, confirm the start and end times. The reason there is because you want to make sure that’s in line with the contract hours they booked. If you notice that they say photography starts at this time, at 8:00am and it ends at 12am, and that is a 16-hour day … 8am-12am, yeah, 16. I got my math all right. Happy. That was the pat on my back, but it was on my neck instead. That’s okay. If they have scheduled you for a 16-hour day, yet your contract only has 12, what do you think’s going happen if you show up on the day of the wedding and then you tell them on the day of that, “You guys booked me for only 12. You guys have me for 16, and there’s going to be another 4 hours of coverage.” What do you think’s going to happen after the fact if you just send them a bill for an additional 4 hours without ever talking to them? They’re going to be upset.

Once again, their expectations are different. They might have forgotten the amount of hours that they booked you for, so know the amount of contract hours, and bring that up. State that based on your itinerary, based on the time that you want me to start and stop, we need to add 4 hours of additional time. “If you’d like, we can add that time now,” and what our studio manager does is she will actually allow the clients to add it prior to. If they add overtime on the day of the shoot, it’s actually a little bit more. It’s an overtime rate, but we let clients know that we’re never going to leave without first checking in, without first making sure that you don’t need anything else. You can always add additional time on the day of the wedding, but if you know you’re going to need that time, help us to prepare, help us to know by booking it in advance. It makes our lives easier. It makes our jobs easier, and so forth.

Next things that we want to make sure we confirm during this timeline walk through is first shooter and second shooter assignments. We specifically mentioned where the first shooter and the second shooter is going to be throughout the entire day. We ask questions like, “When we go and travel from the venue to the ceremony site, would you like one of our shooters to be in the limo? If so, who do you want in the limo? Can we have a second shooter or would you like me to be there with you in the limo?” We also talk about who is shooting the details.

I tell my bride and groom that I love shooting the details. If at all possible, I want to do it myself because I can guarantee we’re going to knock it out. We’re going to shoot amazing details that they’re going to love. It’s going to get published, and we’re going to get featured and so forth. It’s awesome, but if the timeline doesn’t allow for it, I let them know those things, so they have a clear understanding of who’s going to be where and who’s going to be doing what during the day so that they’re not at all surprised on the day of when the second shooter might be taking over for certain parts that I go and do something else. They can let us know exactly what assignments they want, if they want anything different.

We identified potential time concerns. Again, without a first look, is there adequate time pre- and post-ceremony for couples, family, and wedding party photos? We want to make sure that we have enough time for everything. If there’s not enough time, hopefully, we had the opportunity to address those things beforehand, so any major changes we made beforehand, but if they didn’t make those changes, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to tell them, “This is a pretty compact time period. Once again, I need you guys to make sure that you stay on time. We only have 60 minutes to do your couples session, your wedding party photos, and your family formals. If you’re running 30 minutes late, that means we have 30 minutes to do all those things. Normally, we are asking for 3 hours. Now, I can do it in 30 minutes, but we’re just going to get the basic photographs and move on.” The other thing I want you to do is tell me which images are the most important to you because obviously we don’t have the time to do it all, so I need to know exactly which formals you want, exactly what wedding party shots you want, and so forth.”

The less time I have, the more detail that I need for them to explain in terms of what their exact wants and needs are. The more I’m conveying to them that these are areas of the timeline that I find problematic, so that way when a problem does arise, when they don’t get all the shots that they actually wanted and we literally have no time and they say … This is what happens, on the day of, they go, “Pye, it’s all right. We got to go on. We got to move on,” and I go, “Okay, are you sure, guys?,” and they go, “Yeah, yeah. We just got to go on to the next thing.” I don’t want them ever coming back afterwards because this has happened in the past where it’s completely not our fault. The clients come back later on and be like, “You should’ve made time. We should’ve done that.”

We want to cover our butts. We want to cover that liability and make sure that we have explained multiple times, so when something does happen, they are clearly and consciously making the decision, and they know that. Since we’ve been doing this, we’ve never had issues in this regard. When we clearly and always up-front, define expectations, we don’t have issues.

Identify potential for traffic and transportation issues. Once again, these are areas where people underestimate the amount of time necessary, so recommend padding, if possible, at that point. Give them tips on the day. Like we talked about earlier with the ideal timeline, we want to give them tips when they’re coming down the aisle to do this, when they’re in the recessional, do this, during the first dance, do this. Review that ideal timeline. Study your own ideas. Study your own needs and wants and give them tips throughout the day to help them to get better photos, run more efficiently, and so forth.

One of the tips that I like to give them is to tell the family and wedding party to be ready 30 minutes before they actually need to be ready. Sounds kind of mean, but you know what? Wedding party and families are often times late. You have a brother that goes down to the bar rather than coming straight to the photos and he’s 20 minutes late. If you tell him to be there 30 minutes before they actually need to be there, then you’re going to start things on time, and it’s not that big of a deal to have them waiting around so long as they’re not waiting in an area that’s like 200 degrees and you have someone pass out. Never had that happen. There’s always shade. Make sure they’re waiting in a nice comfortable spot. That’s just a heads up.

Plan out specific images. Throughout the day, which locations throughout the day are going to be used to achieve their mood board vision? Like I said, if on their mood board they have the staircase photos, then, I want to make sure that we’re incorporating those at the right times of day, so I might say, “Do you guys want to do your first look there or would you like to do some couple session photos there and let me choose a location for the first look?” Let them help plan out what their vision is. Essentially, we’re allowing them to be a creative director. Now, a director is … On film set or a commercial set, when we’ve done advertisements and so forth, I’ve directed advertisements for Nissan and [inaudible 00:08:48], the director is the one that’s running the shoot. They are controlling what’s going on. On those shoots, we’ll have creative directors who explain their vision and their ideas. They give input, and the creative director goes and executes and puts together that entire piece. Allow them to be your creative director so that you’re incorporating their vision into your final product.

Also, the last thing I like to go through on that timeline is I’ll ask them, “Are there any surprise events?,” and I say this right afterwards, “Surprise events that your guests don’t know, you guys can tell me together right now. Surprise events that you don’t want each other to know, let’s talk about separately, but let me know. Are there surprise events? Because oftentimes they’ll have confetti cannons that are going to go off at a certain time during the first dance. They might have a special surprise performance. We had a wedding where they had a surprise performance where John Legend came and performed for the first dance and did a whole set during the wedding. These were all surprises. They’re communicating that beforehand, and they’re letting us know these are surprises that nobody can know about. We want everybody to know about it, but we want to be prepared from the photography side so we have the right lighting gear, we have the right positioning, we have the right lenses, the right everything ready to go for those moments.

Again, we’re setting ourselves up. We are guiding our photojournalism to set ourselves up for success. Those are the pieces that we try and make sure to cover during this timeline walkthrough.


The Initial Meeting

Prepping for the Engagement Talk Through

Engagement Shoot Prep & Communication

Prepping for the Wedding Day Talk Through

Wedding Day Preparation & Communication


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