When speaking with brides and grooms-to-be, one of their biggest pre-wedding fears is how they’re going to look in their wedding photographs. For the majority, your wedding day is the first time you will have worked with a professional photographer and obviously you want to get it right. Read on or download a PDF copy of my top 10 tips below to ensure you get the very best results possible.
1. Book A Professional Photographer
Choosing the right photographer for your wedding can be a minefield. How do you know who’s good and who’s not? How much should you spend? Will your uncle who’s great at taking photos of landscapes be good at shooting your wedding? (I think you know the answer to this one already).
When carrying out your research, wedding blogs are the perfect place to start. Take a look at real weddings and make a shortlist. The pricing of photographers can fluctuate greatly depending on the photographer’s location, their experience and the kind of coverage they offer, so make sure you take all of these factors into consideration.
Once you’ve shortlisted your photographers, drop them a message and ask for access to at least 2 or 3 full online wedding albums. Photographers will generally only post their strongest work on their website and blogs, so it’s important that you see a complete wedding to ensure that the quality of their photography is consistent from start to end.
Next, book a consultation with them. Do you ‘click’ (excuse the pun!) with them? You will effectively be spending all day with them at your side so you need to make sure that you get on, can share a laugh, and feel comfortable with them. Make sure you have a list of questions to ask such as:
A) Are you available on our wedding date?
B) How long have you been in business?
C) How many weddings have you shot?
D) What type of equipment do you use?
E) Do you shoot all photos in colour?
F) What information do you need from us before the wedding day?
G) Are you the photographer that will shoot my wedding on the day?
H) Is it ok if others take photos whilst you’re taking photos?
I) What time do you arrive and how long will you shoot for?
J) How long after the wedding will we receive our online proofs and albums?
K) Do you have public liability insurance?
2. Have A Pre-Wedding Shoot
If your photographer offers a pre-wedding shoot as part of the package, then make sure you take it. It’s a great way to get practice being in front of the camera and to get to know your photographer before your wedding day. Your photographer will learn a lot about you as a couple and will know what shots work for you and what you are comfortable with.
3. Trust In Their Experience
As much as you want your wedding photos to be perfect, try to avoid building a detailed list of every single thing you want photographed (the dress hanging by the window, shoes, bouquet, getting into the dress etc.). Trust in the experience of your photographer. However, if you have anything sentimental (jewellery passed down through family) or creations made by yourself that will be used on the day, then just be sure to let them know.
4. Consider The Light
One thing that couples do not always consider is that the light will change throughout the day which will result in very different photographs.
For example, if you are having a winter wedding, then it will start getting dark around 15:30/16:00, therefore it would be advisable to have your ceremony earlier on in the day to give your photographer a fighting chance to get your portrait and family shots before the light begins to fade.
5. Think About Your Ceremony
The photographs of your ceremony are some of the most important shots of the day. However, some priests, vicars and registrars won’t allow ceremony photography, or will insist the photographer stays at the back of the room at all times. This can be a little gutting to hear on the morning of the wedding, so make sure you speak to whoever is officiating to find out if there are any limitations beforehand.
Another thing to consider is to politely ask your guests not to take photos during the ceremony. Your guests holding up mobile phones as you walk down the aisle or flashes going off through vows are not only going to be distracting, but can also ruin the professional shots.
6. Book A Makeup Artist
You will want to look your best on your wedding day and a professional makeup artist will help you do that. Plus it’s your wedding day so why not be pampered! Make sure your bridesmaid carries your powder and lipstick in their bag for little touch-ups throughout the day.
7. Get Creative
Your photographer is not there just to snap away endlessly. Wedding photographers are very creative so be open to their ideas and again, trust them. For your portrait shots, listen to their ideas and relax, safe in the knowledge that they know what works and what does not.
8. Give Yourself Enough Time
The more time your photographer has, the better! They are the experts so ask them how long they think each part should take. Group shots are notorious for taking longer than you would expect. Having to send out search parties for your camera-shy auntie that has wandered off can take a while, so make sure your photographer has a list of names to call out. You will often find that a photographer will rope in the best-man/woman in order to help with rounding people up and keeping them nearby.
Getting Ready: Your photographer will need to leave you after your bridal preparations to be at your venue at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. This is so he can speak with the officiant, get shots of your guests arriving, as well as shots of the rings and other finer details.
Group Shots: You will need to allow for at least 5 minutes per group shot. Whilst taking the shot doesn’t take that long, you will be surprised at how people can vanish for ages, even if they know that they will be needed for the photos.
Portrait Shots: I like to have at least 30 minutes with the bride and groom. Usually there is a small bit of downtime between the evening reception, which is ideal for going back out to get some extra photos as the sun starts to set.
Don’t forget that it is a very long day for your photographer and that they also need food. Your photographer will usually ask to eat at the same time as you do (no-one needs photographs of themselves stuffing their faces). The wedding staff are often fed last, but if you ask for them to be fed at the same time as the wedding party they’ll be done and ready to photograph your speeches directly after the meal.
10. Enjoy Yourselves
Your wedding day will feel like it went by in a flash. So make sure you enjoy every single part of it, creating many cherished memories. Don’t fret about your day. Your photographer will liaise with whoever they need to ensure that you day goes as smoothly as possible.
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