12 Wedding Day Tips From Your Photographer
12 Amazing Tips To Help You Get The ABSOLUTE Best Wedding Day…
from a Wedding Photographers Advice
Okay, so you’re planning your dream wedding. One huge rad party, a private intimate wedding, a fun elopement, a ballroom wedding, they all come down to this: its YOUR day. Putting extensive thought and effort into every minor detail is important. After all, it’s going to be a day to remember for the rest of your life. But years after the wedding, all that remains are the emotions and memories captured by your photographer.
As a full time wedding photographer, I have been with so many amazing couples dream weddings. There are a few tips that make any day amazing and I wanted to share them.
EMBRACE THE UNEXPECTED
My biggest tip to couples, is to enjoy the day with all its fun surprises. Allow your wedding day to simply be what it is, a special day. Whether that means unexpected inclement weather, (Mother Nature can surprise- but don’t forget, its GOOD LUCK to rain on a wedding day) forgetting that special necklace you wanted to wear, or events running way off schedule. Keeping an open mind will allow spontaneity, enjoying all of the unexpected moments and allowing the magic to surprise you. Make your wedding uniquely yours and enjoy the day with your soon to be spouse. Every event that happens is your unique moment on your wedding day, to remember forever.
Communication is just as important as #1. You will find me reaching out a month before your wedding were we will finalize the timeline. During this time, I may make small adjustments, that will benefit the flow of your day, allowing more photographs. Being a full time wedding photographer, photographing over 100 weddings, I have experience with which timelines work best and will be able to give you guidance on creating the best timeline. You also always want other vendors to have this timeline as well such as the Videographer team, the DJ and the bridal party (so they know what is going on too!)
3. HAIR & MAKEUP - TIME BUFFER
As a wedding photographer, the one thing that always seems to run late like clock work is the bridal hair and makeup. It happens, but at least by reading this you are ahead of the game and can avoid this! As you’re planning your wedding-day timeline, ask your hair/makeup artist for an estimated time on how long this process will take, and then add AT LEAST a 45 minute as a buffer.
4. LARGE & CLEAN ROOM
This one may sound silly because its not something to think of, but for your bridal / groom prep rooms, choose a large room which will allow the photographers ease of photographing the moments without being on top of you. Its super hard to keep a room looking clear, especially with a huge bridal party bringing all their stuff in but it’s good to leave the room looking clear. You do not want to see a pile of clothes on the hotel bed, beer bottles, or water bottles scattered in the background. Photographers can avoid a cluttered room- but sometimes not all can be avoided. Pick a bridal party member to be the “room clearer” and have them make sure to organize and clear up the room BEFORE the photographer shows up for prep.
5. SNACKS & HYDRATION
Its SO hard during the fast paced day to forget to snack or drink water during the beginning of the day. Remember, you won’t be sitting down and actually eating until dinner time. YIKES- thats a LONG time during a super fast paced day to go without eating. I ALWAYS encourage my couples to have a few light snacks during the day (to keep their energy up especially during countless photo sessions) and keep drinking water- especially if they plan on drinking a lot during the party! Hey, I realize your wedding day is a huge party, but another tip along this note is don’t start drinking alcohol too early- it can affect your photographs including bridal party members if you are tipsy in the photo session times. I always keep snacks and water bottles on me during a wedding to give to my couples or bridal party members- so I will take care of you if you forget this step! ;)
6. FAMILY PHOTOS
I always recommend doing immediate family only right after the ceremony in the beginning of cocktail hour (parents, siblings, grandparents, wedding party). If you have bigger groups, do them at the reception right after the cake cutting. Having multiple groups shots can add a lot of time and eat away at the Bride and Groom Portrait session (which you do not want to happen!) Because most weddings are on a time crunch, make sure that you keep your family shots to a minimum and save extended family during the reception. (aunts, uncles, large family shots) Just have the DJ make an announcement for the large family gathering for the shot.
7. LIGHTING… IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Generally, the best time for an outdoor ceremony (or any photos outside in general) is 2-2.5 hours before sunset. This is AKA the golden hour. The lighting in later times of the day ensures the sunlight falls more evenly on the skin tones (no harsh shadows), and is consistent for both the bride and groom (so you don’t have one person in the light, and the other in shadow). This is a photographers dream lighting. The dreamy and creamy lighting during the final few hours creates AMAZING photographs. The last 2 hours of the day may be the BEST type of lighting, where as the worst time is between 12 PM - 2 PM. When creating your timeline please keep that in mind and avoid the harsh lighting hours. Besides really harsh lighting, anyone outside will boil in the direct sunlight during summer or warmer months.
8. INCLUDE A NIGHT SHOT
Every couple loves a creative night shot- and so do I! The beauty of twinkling stars and night skies with beautiful lighting makes for a unique wedding photo you will cherish. The “Sneak Away” session lasts no more than 20 minutes tops and is typically scheduled during your reception once the dance floor opens, and there are no important moments the couple is needed. I always have my spots pre picked by scoping out the venue earlier in the day, and will have everything set up and will just bring you out for the quick shot. IT IS ALWASY WORTH IT. The night sky adds a touch of romance and gives the opportunity for dramatic images with beautiful lighting.
9. UNPLUGGED CEREMONY
For those of you who have not heard of an unplugged ceremony: it’s where couples asks their guests to be fully present with them during their wedding and leave their cell phones/cameras turned off for the duration of the wedding ceremony. As a photographer I am hired to capture the moments of the wedding and I have been shocked at how many times guests have literally stepped out into the aisle to get a photograph (on their cellphone mind you) blocking my ability to capture that photograph for the couple. I understand your guests' excitement to capture that moment to post to Facebook, but couples typically invest a significant amount of money and trust their wedding photographer to capture those moments for them- and not have them blocked by someone wanting a unprofessional photo.
Reasons why you may want a unplugged ceremony:
You have invested a significant amount in hiring your wedding photographer and you don't guests stepping in front of their camera or blocking an important photograph for their unprofessional photos.
You have found it distracting when attending other weddings when guests spend the entire ceremony taking photos and moving around to get a better angle (with their cellphones)
You want the first photos of your wedding ceremony on facebook to be the professional photographs that your paid wedding photographer has taken for you.
It's important to you that your guests be fully present with you while you say your vows to each other and are paying attention to your moment, not living behind the camera screen.
Want your guests to enjoy the moment and put trust in the photographer to capture the moments.
10. CREATIVE PORTRAITS
One of the most important parts of your wedding day is taking the time to get those creative portraits of the two of you (think, the photos that make you go WOW and want to hang on the wall) Make sure to carve out 45 minutes to an hour for this. I will help you through everything with creating these portraits but it’s important to remember these portraits require patience and time.
11. FIRST LOOK
One of the most important moments of a wedding day is when the couple see’s each other for the first time. Suddenly all the nerves and anticipation fades away and just the two get the chance to enjoy this remarkable moment, in privacy. The FIRST LOOK makes for some of the most heartfelt photos, and beautifully planned photographs, a tradition you can’t forget on your wedding day.
12. THE SMALL THINGS
Small things that make photos even better include thinking of the small things. Always make sure the groom does not have a wallet, car keys or cellphone in pants pockets, as they can create unflattering bulges. If the makeup artist offers it, keep your lipstick, so you can freshen up at any point- especially before photos. Do a makeup artist trial before your wedding, so you know you have the perfect artist for your big day. Do a trial dress try on a few weeks out- so if you get any surprises about your size last minute, you can get it hemmed or changed before your big day. Take your engagement / wedding rings to get cleaned before your big day! That was that bling is shining a million miles away and photographs BEAUTIFULLY!
Check out some other posts with helpful tips for couples!
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