Getting your head around this simple maths problem can save you a lot of anguish on the day. If a couple has allocated 2 hours for photographs, that actually means 1 hour. Weddings are always behind schedule and the smallest of things can upset the rhythm of the day. Wedding co-ordinators will be eager to get the couple in at least 30 mins before they are scheduled to sit down for food. So just bear that in mind when planning your time with the couple.
I volunteered my time at an event called Help Portrait last year that has photographers, make up artists and organizers giving their time to create portraits for people that otherwise couldn’t afford a professional one. They ended up sending most of the families to me, initially because I had the biggest area to do the group photo and later because the other photographers said I was the best with the kids. To see some of my photos from that event go to Help Portrait, Edmonton 2012.
Initially, professional studio photographers might bring a lot of bulky equipment, thus limiting their ability to record the entire event. Even "candid" photos were more often staged after the ceremony. In the 1970s, the more modern approach to recording the entire wedding event started evolving into the practice as we know it today, including a more "Documentary photography" style of photography.
My husband and I were just talking about how we haven’t done a family portrait since our youngest child was born; that was five years ago! I like your tip about how a good family photographer will know how to help cheer up the crabby child. We may need to look into getting this done soon. I’ve always enjoyed looking at people’s family pictures hanging on their walls.
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.