Hi there, I'm Manali! A wedding photographer & educator serving Charlottesville VA & DC. Click through for all my favorites from recent sessions, adventures and travels, as well as tips & tricks for clients! Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and feel free to connect with me elsewhere as well! Cheers to you!

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My Wedding Photography Prep Workflow

February 4, 2020

Morgan & Zach’s wedding at Harbour View this past weekend awesome! There are so many parts that makeup creating a great client experience as a wedding photographer! Today I’m diving into everything that goes into prepping for photographing each wedding well.


Yay, they booked! Now what?

I start off the process after my clients have signed the dotted line by getting to know them a little bit better! I send over a “booked questionnaire” to get more details on their love story (how they met/how he proposed/special details to them/what they love about each other), their vision for the wedding day (color palette/any overall vision theme/special details they’re thinking of including) and to start planning out their engagement session.

I send over their booked gift which includes my bridal guide and some goodies for them. I also will send them a draft timeline of their wedding day based on what we talked about during their consult and answers within my booked questionnaire! Also, a lot of my couples are still looking for other vendors by the time they book me so I send over my guide of preferred vendors that are great to work with.

This helps show that I’m organized and super excited to start working with them and serving them in the best way that I possibly can.

Engagement Session

For the engagement session,  I send along their engagement session guide online which helps them pick out a location, decide outfits and prep for having their pictures taken. I let them know that I’m more than happy to help them pick out outfits and promise them that they don’t need to worry about posing and to leave it all up to me! After their engagement session is complete and they’ve received their gallery and print release I let them know that the next step will be to lookout for an email from about 3 months out from their wedding.

Wedding Information Prep

Three months out from their wedding day, I’ll reach back out to confirm their day of wedding photography timeline. If they have a coordinator, I’ll work with them to finalize a timeline that includes plenty of buffer time and enough time to capture each portion of the wedding day well.

Two months out I’ll send over a wedding day detail questionnaire which asks for ALL of the details that I need to photograph their day well. This includes things like getting ready, ceremony and venue addresses, names of everyone in their bridal party, extra contact phone numbers for the day of the wedding, confirming coverage timing & the timeline again, their list of family formals, any uncomfortable surprises or special details I should be aware of on their wedding day.

A month out from their wedding I’ll schedule a video call with them for the week of their wedding to go over all the final details to make sure nothing was missed or changed from their wedding questionnaire. I ask for things like parking, hotel room numbers, and give them reminders like keeping all their details in a box, keeping the aisle clear of guests and letting their family know where to be for family formals, etc.

The Week of the Wedding

From this, I make a sort of “cheat sheet” of information for me and my second shooter to carry on the wedding day that has all of this information in a condensed format! I’ll coordinate with my second shooter on the Monday before the wedding so they’re up to speed and know where to be when and what the general game plan for the day is.

I make sure to put the entire wedding day timeline and locations into Google Calendar so it syncs with my apple watch. I scout out locations via google maps for doing any first looks & deciding on portrait spot options that I can evaluate on the wedding day. I’ll even scout out food nearby to grab if the wedding is really far away!

From the digital side of things, I’ll go ahead and create a folder to store all the RAW images (separated for me and my second shooter), a folder for all the CULLED images and create their Lightroom catalog so I have one less step when processing their images!

I’ll prep my gear a couple of days early so that in case anything needs to be replaced, I have enough time using Amazon Prime! I have a gear checklist that I go through each time to make sure I never miss packing a lens or any equipment. On this checklist I also make notes to pack an extra pair of clothes and some snacks for the day!

I also go ahead and draft my emails to the clients and vendors sharing sneak peek images from their wedding day and get the gallery in PASS created. In the vendor’s email I include everyone’s Instagram handles and I make sure to get website information as well so I can include it in the blog post!


If you’re wondering what the inside of a successful & streamlined photography business looks like the Resources Vault is for you! It includes everything from email templates, client questionnaires, workflows for portraits & questionnaires, a breakdown of a profitable marketing strategy & how to streamline and organize each and every part of your business. More of a visual learner? Be sure to watch the totally-free masterclass!

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More Great Business Tips – The MP Education Series

Part I: Why You Should Invest in Photography Education

Part II: 3 Lessons I’ve Learned in 3 Years as a Wedding Photographer

Part III: Website Essentials & Tips for Wedding & Portrait Photographers

Part IV: Wedding Photography Preparation Workflow

Part V: Creating a Marketing Strategy & Workflow for Your Business

Part VI: 5 Tips for Crafting a Stellar Client Experience

Part VII: Introducing One-On-One Mentoring Sessions

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