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Five Things Wedding Photographers Look for in a Wedding Planner

As a wedding planner, I (Justine) am always looking for new vendor partners to fit my clients’ needs - particularly those that share my passion for nontraditional weddings! That's why I've partnered with the lovely Kathleen Telesco from Parenthesis Photography to write this guest blog post and share her perspective on what she looks for in an A++ wedding planner. Read on for tips & input from a rad documentary wedding photographer.



Ask ten photographers for the top five things that will make your photos better and I’m willing to bet “hire a planner” will be in there. Yes, most photographers will create a photo timeline for you and will help photo-related things run smoothly during the day. But you don’t want your photographer to have to do the job of both a photographer and planner–that’s going to take away from your photo experience, which is what you chose them for.

A good planner can make your wedding day run smoothly, help your other vendors, and let you be in the moment instead of coordinating things yourself. Believe me, you don’t want to finish walking down the aisle and realize you have no idea how people are going to know to go up to the barn for cocktail hour! The experience that you and your friends and family get to have at your wedding is overall the most important thing, and that’s what a good planner can help with.

That said, these are the things I think are most important when looking for a wedding planner!

1. Making sure they understand the best times for photos

It’s really important that enough time is allotted for photos, and that time is left open at the right parts of the day. For example: I usually like to leave about 20 minutes for family portraits and about 40 minutes total for couple portraits. If you’re doing a first look we can do 15 minutes or so of couple portraits after that, and then the rest sometime in the hour or hour and a half before sunset. If you’re not doing a first look, I suggest you leave 40 minutes free within the two hours before sunset. So having your planner keep time open at that point and not schedule toasts or dances during prime couple photo time is important! I always prefer to talk with your planner when they start making your full timeline so we can make sure things line up.

2. Details and such

The other thing a good planner can help with is helping with the logistics of detail photos. If you’re not doing a first look and we need to do family photos and/or portraits during cocktail hour, it’s great if details and table settings can be ready and set up before the ceremony so I can shoot them beforehand. If the only time I can shoot centerpieces is during cocktail hour, it’s best to have the area with tables closed off to guests for at least the first 15-20 minutes so I can shoot tables before guests start putting their purses, coats and drinks down. The mess is part of the fun but not so good for photos!

3. Family Photos

Your photographer will of course organize and group your family for family photos, but your planner will be a big help in finding missing family members and making sure everyone is rounded up and ready to go. You don’t want to have to be running around in your fancy garb tracking people down! Late or missing family members is one of the major things that can make your timeline run behind. As a result, the thing that usually suffers is your couple photos. To make sure we have enough time for those, we want to make sure family is in place and ready for photos at the time we planned!

4. Keeping me in the loop

Photographers adore planners who keep them apprised of changes in the schedule–things like toasts, dances, and the cake cutting. If a toast will be happening 30 minutes after it was originally supposed to, I’d love to take that time to shoot candid guest photos instead of waiting in place near the mic because I think a toast is about to start. Good planners let photographers know of these changes so we can adapt!

5. On the same page

Lastly–choosing a planner who understands what’s most important to you as a couple in terms of photos is really important! Some photographers focus more on posed photos, some focus more on candids, some are very focused on shooting details and décor. As long as your photographer and planner know what are most important to you, we can all work toward getting those photos that are most meaningful to you.

This story brought to you by:

Kathleen Telesco, Owner/Photographer Parenthesis Photography

With roots in art history, film, and documentary studies, I started my wedding photography studio in order to give an option to couples looking for something a little different from the norm. Candid, quirky photography that captures the atmosphere and personality of your wedding day. I live with my husband in Connecticut, in an apartment overrun with books, records, and boxes of tea. Some things I like to do when I'm not shooting: reading graphic novels and cookbooks, writing comedic prose, watching movies, and quoting Seinfeld. I plan most of my trips and travel around restaurants.

*All images are by Kathleen Telesco, Parenthesis Photography

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