I can’t believe we haven’t shared this one yet?! We’ve been doing this for YEARS! If you aren’t sure what a same day slideshow is – allow me to be the first to explain 🙂
A same day slideshow during a wedding is when we quickly choose and edit a few images (anywhere from 5-12) to present during the reception to the couple & their guests. We LOVE doing this because the couple usually doesn’t expect it and they’re so excited and surprised, but also because after all the hustle of the day – they get a moment to SEE the beauty in all of the chaos! We’ve had brides cry, their parents cry, their grandparents cry…we’ve had so many people huddled around going “ahhh!! awwww! OHHH!!” and it’s just the biggest joy on the wedding day for us to be able to provide this little sneak peek to them!
A couple of questions to answer FIRST before getting into the how!:
Do we always do them? We ALWAYS try to for full weddings (days where we shoot 6 or more hours) – but we can’t always get them done. As long as we have a full scheduled break in (which is required in our contract…we eat when the dinner STARTS, and I eat while I select and edit the images) then I can pull it off! If our break is cut short or we’re getting our break pushed back, I may not be able to make it happen. Another instance when we aren’t able to pull it off is when we have an extremely limited amount of portrait time and therefore didn’t get a lot of portraits to show in a slideshow!
When do we do them? During our dinner break as mentioned above! We are SO THANKFUL for the wise vendors, planners and venues who know photographers need to eat first to get back to work ASAP. If it weren’t for them – we probably couldn’t pull it off! We then run the slideshow normally for about an hour on either a dessert or guestbook signing table.
Do I have to do one? No! You really don’t have to do this just because you’re shooting weddings! It’s just a way we elevate our client experience and serve them well on their wedding day. It makes us so happy to do it!
What do you use to show the slideshow? I bring my laptop with my and it’s a MacBook Pro Retina Display.
So how do we pull this off from start to finish? Here we go!
1) First things first, we ALWAYS get a break during the reception! I tried looking it up online because I was pretty sure there was a law about it via the U.S. Department of Labor, but I didn’t see that it was an actual requirement…BUT, as your OWN advocate and business owner and CEO of your company, you need to put this in your contract or make it clear via communication that a meal break will occur. I have a thirty minute meal break while the wedding party and guests eat in my contract and this is the PERFECT time to sit down and get my slideshow started!
SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT forget to communicate with the DJ/band/wedding planner/your couple that you are stepping away for a minute! This way, you don’t miss a surprise dance or event that needs to be photographed while you’re eating/doing the slideshow. ALWAYS make sure the people who prompt these moments (DJ and planner most likely) are aware that you are on break.
2) Next, I get my laptop and my card reader out of my ThinkTank rolling bag. I sit down somewhere with a table or chair (or sometimes on the floor, lol) and get out the memory card from my ShootSac that I know the portraits are on. Mike goes to get our food and drinks while I’m setting this up, and then I open Photo Mechanic (software for culling) so I can look through QUICKLY versus the slowness of Lightroom. My Lightroom isn’t even slow – but it’s nowhere near as fast as PM is!
3) By this time, Mike is back and I have the portraits right in front of me opened in Photo Mechanic for me to start choosing the images for the slideshow. When Mike gets back with our food, I start calling the file number of the image to him and he starts typing them all in a text message to me as I go through. He literally just lists them out and then when I’m done, he sends it to me and I open those file numbers in Lightroom OR he reads them to me if I’m too lazy to read them myself, LOL.
4. I upload the slideshow images into Lightroom and then quickly edit them using my own preset I made if it’s in my typical golden hour situation and if not, I just manually edit them accordingly! I think this is the part that stresses people out the most. If you take a LONG time to edit, it would be tricky to pull this off but because we shoot consistently with the same settings and style and mostly in the same kind of light for portraits, it’s easy to edit them fast.
5. We then do a repeating slideshow in Lightroom…take it to the bride and groom and show them and voila, we’re done! Then as the night goes on it’s so sweet to see the guests be happy and excited over the images for the bride and groom and just get to experience this unexpected moment. We usually put the laptop away after about an hour.