Worried about your wedding photographs? Here are a few tips that should help you out! If you want to know more, drop me a line!
BOOK AN EXPERIENCED WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Do your research. Social media is a great place to start. Look through the real weddings on social media sites and check out your favorite photographer’s websites. Check whether the wedding photos posted are from real wedding or from styled shoot. It is very easy to get good pictures during a styled wedding shoot. Because there is not restriction on timing, no stress, no lighting limitations etc. On the other hard, taking good pictures in real weddings are much tougher. That’s what separates profession wedding photographers from armatures.
HAVE AN ENGAGEMENT SHOOT
If your photographer offers an engagement shoot as part of the package then take it! They are a great way to not only practice in front of the camera but to get to know your photographer before the wedding day. They’ll also be able to find out how you photograph and you’ll get some cute shots of the two of you to display on your walls or at your wedding.
Of all the wedding photographers I know, one of their biggest gripes is when a client hands them a detailed shot by shot list of every single thing they want photographed – the dress hanging in front of the window, the shoes, bride getting into her dress, dad looking proud… you get the idea. Trust your photographer. They’ve been doing this for a long time and they will be well aware which shots to get.
Obviously if you have something particularly sentimental or unique that you’d like photographed (maybe a piece of jewellery passed down through your family or a DIY project that you spent days on) then be sure to let them know, but don’t hand them a blow by blow list of every single shot you want. Allow your photographer to do their job and to be creative. They’ll enjoy the day more which will result in better photographs.
THINK ABOUT THE LIGHT
This is another thing that couples tend to not consider (or not even know they have to consider) but be aware that the light changes throughout the day and different light will result in very different photographs.
For example, if you’re having a winter wedding it will likely start to get dark around 3.30/4pm, therefore you really need to have your ceremony early in the day to give your photographer a fighting chance to get some great portraits and your group shots done before the light starts to fade. Even better, they might offer you the chance to do a ‘first look’ (where you see each other before the ceremony and get your photos taken then). If you’re not superstitious about seeing each other beforehand, this is a great option too.
When looking at venues think about the light in each room. Is the bedroom you’re getting ready in small, pokey and cramped? Are the ceremony room walls covered in dark wood with small windows? Remember, photography is essentially painting with light and if there isn’t any, there’s only so much your photographer can do without using a flash.
THINK ABOUT THE CEREMONY
Your ceremony photographs will undoubtedly be some of the most important shots of the day. Most couples I speak to after their wedding say they were surprised just how much they cherished this part too. It also flies by in a nervous blur and you’ll likely not remember a whole lot about it, so these photos are doubly important. However a lot of vicars, priests and registrars won’t allow ceremony photography, or will insist that the photographer stands at the back of the room the whole time.
As a photographer this is gutting to hear the morning of the wedding so if you really value these images, make sure you speak to whoever is officiating your ceremony to find out if there are any limitations beforehand.
Another thing to consider is to politely ask your guests to not take photos during the ceremony (you can do so in the order of service). Guests holding up mobile phones as you walk down the aisle or flashes going off throughout the vows are only going to be distracting for you and other guests (and/or ruin the professional shots).
Your photographer is not just there to snap away aimlessly. Wedding photographers are a super creative bunch so be open to their ideas and again, trust them! For your portraits, listen to their ideas and don’t be afraid to walk off that beaten path a little bit. These often result in the most amazing photographs! Set aside as much time as possible for this part of the day. The more time the photographer has, the better the results will be.
LEAVE ENOUGH TIME
As I said, time is of the essence and the more time your photographer has the better. They are the experts so ask them how long they think each element should take. Group shots for example are notorious for taking longer than you expect. Having to round up a half-cut usher or a camera-shy aunt for the photos can take a while so make sure your photographer has a list of names and if possible delegate the task of helping round people up to a trustworthy usher or bridesmaid.
CONFIRM YOUR SHOOTER(S)
Larger studios may have more than one photographer on staff, and depending on your contract, the lead one may not be the one shooting your day. Since every professional has a different style, technique and personality, you need to make sure the photographer you interview and “click” with will be the same one who works your wedding. Also, consider adding a shooter. That way, one can take the formal photos while the other is capturing the cocktail hour. You’ll also get to see two unique angles of key moments, like your first kiss as a married couple or cake cutting.
SIGN A CONTRACT
Once you’ve chosen your photographer, sign a contract that has everything — from the date of the wedding and the hours they’ll cover to postproduction work and how you’ll receive the final product.
BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR SCHEDULE
On your wedding day, everything will take longer than you think, from getting your hair done to getting dressed. And mishaps will happen (trust us!) — from misplaced vows to terrible traffic — so set a strict day-of schedule that leaves extra time to deal with them without cutting into your photography session.
CONSIDER GETTING PICTURES OF FIRST LOOK
What’s a First Look? It’s when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, have a few moments alone, and get portraits done before-hand. There are several ways to do this, but a lot of the time, the groom will go away from the craziness and get set up in a certain location and the bride will then come to him and either tap on his shoulder or say his name for him to turn around, or they’ll close their eyes and face each other and do the big reveal together. You get the idea. Why do I recommend this? Because weddings go by SO fast, I feel like it’s the one time the couple can slow down and be alone together (photographers should be very photojournalistic during this time, and let the couple have their moment before insisting on any poses or anything like that). It’s such a special moment—I’ve seen couples pray together, say their vows or affirm each other, exchange gifts.. It’s awesome! Doing a First Look really frees you up and allows you to relax during cocktail hour or mingle with your guests. If you’re having a lot of friends and family coming in from out of state, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider. Most importantly, you want to feel like you are married. You don’t want a photographer or a coordinator rushing you along in order to keep you on time. You want your day to be enjoyable and smooth and for that, getting as much done before hand is ALWAYS helpful. Most importantly, this private moment alone really sets the tone for the rest of the day, calms nerves, and gives the couple a chance to connect before the moment they are standing at the altar together. I totally get the tradition of waiting until the bride walks down the aisle. But if you’re prone to stress or anxiety especially, the First Look can be a calming and tone-setting alternative.
THINK ABOUT THE SMALL THINGS
Help your photographer out by trying your best to be mindful of the setting of your photos. A good photographer and videographer can make any space look beautiful, but help them out by removing as many obstacles as possible. Here are three really easy ways to do that:
1) When getting ready, have your bridesmaids put all their stuff in a condensed corner of the room—I call it a “crap corner” 😉 This way there aren’t neon bras and Mcdonalds wrappers in the background of your beautiful photos.
2) Bring a non-plastic hanger for your dress shot.
3) When you and your bridesmaids walk down the aisle, keep the bouquet around your belly button. I know it can be nerve-wracking to have all eyes on you, but don’t block your pretty faces with your bouquet.
DON’T FORGET TO EAT AND DRINK
When we’re stressed and/or busy, we forget to eat. Make sure your bridesmaids are bringing you water and checking in on you to make sure you are at least snacking all day, or else it’ll catch up to you. If you’re worried about missing out on special moments or not getting the chance to see everyone, keep in mind, that you’ll be fed first, and that when you’re done eating, the guests will still be sitting at their table and you and your husband can visit each table and greet all of your guests. Don’t rush! Enjoy your meal!
HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL
You want to look like the best version of yourself on your wedding day! It breaks my heart when my brides don’t feel drop dead gorgeous and confident. Make sure to schedule a consultation with your hair and makeup artist before your wedding and work out the kinks to make sure you look exactly how you want. Keep in mind that even if the makeup feels heavy and more dramatic than the way you usually wear it, it will photograph well.
ENJOY THE DAY
Try not to sweat the small stuff, like a relocation of your portrait shoot because of rain or your flower girl melting down during the family shots. And allow your photographer to keep you on schedule, to frame the shots and to know what will look best — remember, that’s why you hired them. If you’re always looking for the camera, it won’t capture you quietly chatting with your new spouse or laughing with your friends. Your photographer should be the one worrying about
Still have questions about locations? Drop me a line here and let’s discuss more!
If you recently got engaged and are looking for an experienced, professional and licensed wedding photographer to capture natural expressions, candid moments, laughter, joy and elegance of your wedding day; I’d love to photograph you in Alberta or anywhere in the world (Yes! I absolutely love to travel across Canada and destinations to photograph wonderful wedding stories.)! If you aren’t looking for an Edmonton Wedding Photographer or an Alberta Wedding Photographer, I also photograph families, lifestyle session and boudoirs! Want to discuss/know more? Drop me a line and let’s chat!