Planning a wedding can be completely overwhelming. There are a million details and so many things to worry about. However when the day is over, the one thing you are left with are your wedding photos. You want them to be amazing, right? Today, I am sharing 10 things a wedding photographer wants you to know to ensure your photos are the best ever.
1 | It is important you like your photographer’s work AND personality : Brides, you are likely going to spend more time with your photographer than you will your new husband on your wedding day. Make sure you like him or her. Ask yourself if you would want to hang out with him or her outside of your wedding. I’m happy to say many of my brides became friends throughout the process, and it made documenting their wedding day extra special!
2 | Timelines are crucial for ensuring you get all the photos you want : Your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. Talk to your photographer months before your wedding to ensure you are aligned on a schedule for the day. Your photographer will be able to help you understand how much time is needed to get great getting ready photos and how many locations for bride and groom photos are realistic given the timeline.
3 | Get ready in a bright room and try to keep it clean : Getting ready can be stressful especially when you have a ton of people in the space with you. Shoes get tossed around the room. Empty champagne glasses and water bottles cover the tables. Snacks are everywhere. Ask your wedding party to keep one area of your getting ready location as clean as possible. Ideally, this area would be the room with the most natural light to ensure clean, beautiful getting ready images. This goes for the guys too!
4 | Your photographer is limited by the ceremony restrictions : If your ceremony location restricts photographers from standing in the center aisle or going up on the balcony, then your photographer might not be able to get that beautiful photo of you walking down the aisle with your dad from above or get the straight-on photo of your first kiss. Is flash not allowed AND it is really dark inside your church / hotel? It is likely your photos will be really grainy, so your photographer can abide by the rules. Your photographer has to work with what they are given, so understand the rules of your ceremony location and if possible, see if any are flexible. Your photographer will thank you and your photos will too!
5 | Your dress is probably going to get dirty : In a dream world, white dresses would not show an ounce of dirt. But, this is nearly impossible because white shows everything. Sigh. If you go into the day knowing your dress is going to get a little dirty, it will save you from stressing about it all day. You know all those gorgeous photos in open fields, inside old barns and wandering through the city? Well those images are not created without a little dirt getting on your beautiful dress. So if you are dreaming of these images, be open to the fact that your dress might get dirty (but it will be worth it!).
6 | Consider an unplugged wedding ceremony : Ask your guests to put away their iPads, phones and cameras for the ceremony (and maybe even the reception). You will allow your guests to simply be present and enjoy the wedding while your photographer can do the job you hired him / her for. Your photographer will be thrilled that they do not have to worry about one of your guests jumping in the aisle with their iPad during your first kiss or fight against Uncle Bob’s flash during your first dance. Trust me, I have seen it happen, and you do not want one of your guests ruining that priceless moment for you when you have spent so much money hiring a professional.
7 | Light is EVERYTHING : Light determines everything in photography, so good light can make or break your photos. Late afternoon light (about an hour from sunset) is best for your wedding photos as the light is warm, soft and beautiful … basically a photographer’s dream scenario. The light during the middle of the day is generally harsh and does not photograph as nicely and may mean your photographer cannot photograph the landmarks you want in your photos because he / she is fighting against harsh shadows and unflattering light.
If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, keep the sun in mind as well. Overcast days help afternoon light as they soften harsh shadows, however ceremonies later in the day tend to have better lighting. It is also important to think of how the light will be during your ceremony. Will you and your bridesmaids be standing in the sun while the guys are in the shade? Will you walk down the aisle from shade into sunlight? If so, both will be tricky scenarios for your photographer to manage.
8 | Good photos take time : Beautiful bride and groom photos do not happen in 10 minutes. Instead, your photographer needs time to create gorgeous images. This may mean having a first look to allocate a whole hour before the wedding for photos of just the two of you or it may mean sneaking out of your reception to soak up the last few minutes of golden light before sunset. Either way, know that the more time you allocate for your bride and groom photos, the more variety you will have when the day is over.
9 | Have your caterer feed your photographer when your guests are eating : Caterers usually feed your vendors after all your guests. However, most photographers will not be shooting while people are eating (no one likes their photo taken with a mouthful of food). Instead, have your photographer eat when the head table does to maximize the time they are taking photos of things that are important to you like your first dance, toasts, cake cutting, or your flower girls on the dance floor.
10 | Enjoy your day! : A happy bride is the prettiest bride. Simple, but true. While some brides spend months / years planning their best day ever, things will go wrong. Don’t sweat the details. Instead, take time to make little memories. Smile. Laugh. Slow down. Cherish every minute of the day celebrating with friends, family, and your love. When you are enjoying the day, your photographer will be there documenting authentic, happy moments. And trust me, those photos will mean the most to you.