Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue - and of course a cake, a happy (and slightly intoxicated) family and a photographer. A wedding shot is worth more than a thousands words because not only will you be part of one of the couples most important days, but these photos will hopefully pass on for generations - so you don’t want to mess up! We asked community member and portrait and wedding photographer Julie Weiss (weissphotography) if she could help us with her best tips on wedding photography. Julie is a member of the Professional photography Association as well as the Wedding and Portrait Photographers Association, who wants every single shot to be as unique as possible and create something original for her clients. Here are her Top 7 Wedding Photography Tips!

1. Schedule everything. The big day never goes as planned, but having a timeline is beneficial.  Ask your bride and groom for two hours of their time alone.  If you are lucky you'll get an hour. Arrive at least one hour an advance to set up your equipment and talk to the manager or owner of the venue.

If you haven’t been to the venue before or recently, plan a visit well before the wedding date to scope out the best places for pictures, always bearing in mind the timeline and anticipated issues with lighting. Allow adequate time to travel to the reception, as well as knowing the quickest route.

2. Don’t forget, you are part of their big day. Your personality is as important as your pictures. You are a big part of their day, so make your bride and groom comfortable with your presence. Be firm with your requests. Clear guidance and instruction instills confidence in your skills. We can't all be comedians, but a little sense of humor goes a long way. Encourage your clients to book a bridal and engagement session with you. This is wonderful time in which to get to know your clients and your clients get to know you. Of all the people at their wedding they'll be spending most of their time with you. Make it special!

3. Consultation prior their big day. Always schedule a consultation before the big day. This introduces them up your products and most importantly, you. If your potential client doesn't want to take the time for a consultation, they probably don't see photography as a worthwhile investment. Don't waste your time wooing an unwilling lead. For those willing clients, educate them! Show them samples of your work, packages, and products. Help them plan and prepare. This helps your clients understand just how much goes into documenting their big day. Keep it simple, show your clients just what they need so you won't overwhelm him. Clients that are confused or overwhelmed may not be likely to book.

When's the big day is done, make sure you deliver their images and products in a timely manner. After the big event, brides talk to their girlfriends who might be getting married too.  The last thing you want them telling other potential brides is that they don't have their book yet. Your bride and groom will remember you for years to come. Follow up with your brides regarding anniversaries and any special events that may be happening in their life for which they may need your services.

4. Details, details, details. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The little things can be very important to a bride. It has all been planned, paid for and ready to be documented. Don't miss a thing!

5. Get to know your venues and vendors. It's a small world and in a sense these are your coworkers. I’ve never felt a kickback is necessary, as a relationship with them is mutually beneficial. Donate samples books of weddings you shot at their venue for your venues to show their brides. They will be happy to show these books to their potential brides, because awesome photography showcases how fabulous the venue can look on their special day.

It is important to be social in person and online.  Choose a few different places to showcase your work. Avoid sharing the same photos and updates across all of the networks.  Why follow someone across several networks when they are all feeding you the same information and imagery?

6. Do you have everything with you? Have back up equipment for everything. Know the ins and outs of your equipment.  Do not make a wedding the time to experiment with a new gadget.  Always keep a back up drive with you.  As soon as you filled up a Sim card, back it up!  There are back up drives available that only require you to insert a Sim card. This is an efficient way to make sure nothing gets lost.

7. Be one with your camera. Know and understand the manual settings on your camera. Color cards and light meters are wonderful, but they can slow you down in a wedding. Learn to be your own light meter and understand your Kelvin scale and be able to adjust accordingly. If you're still at the learning stage, be someone's back up or assistant shooter before offering your skills as a primary photographer on someone's big day. Don't just educate your clients, educate yourself! Continuing education is important. There are many workshops available online and off. Technology is always changing and there is always something new to learn. Last but not least, try something new and different that keeps you fresh! Nothing kills a labor of love faster then complacency!

For more joyful and wonderful photos by Julie, visit her profile, website and Facebook.