Wedding Photography Tips for Brides
Wedding photography tips for brides
Your wedding day is going to be a whirlwind and when it’s all said and done the photos are going to be the only tangible thing you will have to remember the day. When it comes to photographers, you get what you pay for and choosing the right professional is the most critical step to get the best wedding photos on your big day! With all the planning and preparation that is going to go into this day, you owe it to yourself (and future generations) to make sure you have beautifully captured memories to look back on for years to come. Here are a few wedding photography tips for brides!
1. Do your homework and choose the best pro that you can afford
Start searching early for photographers whose style you connect with and whose work that you love. Look at their portfolios and make a short list of favorites. Narrow it down to about 3 choices and reach out to inquire for more. You want to make sure they have a wide range of skills and are able to capture an entire wedding day from beginning to end. You will want to make sure that you ask to see full galleries of entire weddings, and not just the best photos that they chose to put on their site. You may come to find out later that they may not work well under certain conditions, and you don’t want to find out the hard way. You don’t want your wedding to be your photographer’s first rodeo…or second, or third. If you want to ensure the best wedding photos possible, you want to know that your photographer has mastered their craft with at least 50 weddings under their belt.
Once you are confident in a photographers ability to capture your entire day, you will want to interview them to see how your personalities mesh. Your photographer is the one person you are going to spend the majority of the day with so you want to feel comfortable with this person by your side.
BONUS GUIDE: QUESTIONS TO ASK A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Availability- Will you be the actual designated photographer for my day? Who will be the second photographer or assistant? Is it someone you work with regularly? How many other weddings will you photograph that weekend?
Background check- How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?
Style- How would you describe your working style? Do you prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments, or do you like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images?
Logistics- What is the contract process and deposit/cancellation policy? How much of a deposit do you require? Do you have liability insurance? Does it cover your assistants, as well? Do you carry backup equipment? What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason? How will you and your assistants be dressed?
Post Wedding- When will we receive our wedding photos? What types of edits do you include? Will you be posting to blogs or social media? Will we receive the digital files? How will the images be delivered? Can we use them to print as we like or buy prints/products off of you?
2. Schedule an Engagement Session
Scheduling an engagement session is high on the list for wedding photography tips for brides. An engagement session is the perfect opportunity to feel out the way your photographer works and is great practice for wedding day photos. You will be that much more comfortable with each other when he/she shows up on your wedding day having already hung out with your new friend. An engagement session provides you the opportunity to work through any on camera nerves before the wedding photos come around. Then, you can discuss with your photographer what you do and don’t like and give feedback on the photos you prefer of yourself after getting the photos back. Finally, an engagement session gives you the opportunity to see samples of their work and work out all the kinks before paying the final deposit.
BONUS GUIDE: HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION
3. Create A Photo Timeline
Putting in the work ahead of time to create a well -planned out photo timeline will allow you and your photographer to devote the time that you need to creating the best wedding photos possible and set you up for success! Your photographer will want to set the plan for the most important photos to happen around the best lighting of the day and pick out the best spots for photos at your venue. Preparation for laying out exactly how the day is going to flow photo- wise will not only maximize your time for photos but will help to keep you calm.
This includes telling your family where and when to be for family pictures and picking a bridesmaid or a groomsman to round up the stragglers that went off to grab a drink or a bite during cocktail hour. Keeping family combinations limited and not wasting precious photo time trying to get every last combo of parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles will help you maximize time for other photos. When creating a photo timeline you and your photographer can also discuss if a first look might be a good fit for you.
Create a “hard stop time” for hair and makeup and add this into your timeline as well- 98% of the time, the wedding day runs late because of the hair and makeup going over schedule. The wedding photography tip for brides is to always share your timeline with your hair and makeup artist.
When sending these notes, you may even want to include a few photos of yourself that you love from your engagement session or otherwise so your photographer can understand how you like to see yourself in photos. A general rule of thumb is that over-communication is the best policy. Tell your photographer what parts of the day are meaningful to you – but do NOT give them a shot list. You’ve hired this photographer for a reason and should feel confident in his/her judgement!
4. Be Prepared & Delegate
Make sure your hair & makeup are perfect. Do a trial before your wedding day so you can assure that you are going to look and feel amazing. Have a “Wedding Day Emergency Kit” filled with all the stuff you need to touch up your makeup, get a stain out of your dress, secure loose hairs, etc. Designate a bridesmaid to help to keep you stress- free and looking your best for photos. Perhaps choose one bridesmaid and one groomsman to be the designated point person for any questions or texts from vendors or guests during your wedding day. Don’t let yourself be distracted- you should be able to be present, relax and enjoy your wedding day and especially the photos!
5. Consider an “Unplugged” Ceremony
Photographers love unplugged ceremonies and your ceremony photos will too. Choosing an unplugged ceremony will completely eradicate the chance that a guest could ruin your photos by stepping into the aisle with their ipad right as the bride is walking down the aisle. Yes, this happens and more often than you think. So many meaningful ceremony moments are ruined by guests and their mobile devices. Consider if it will irritate you to walk down the aisle to see a slew of iphones in the air. Choosing an unplugged ceremony will give guests the opportunity to remain present and in the moment and will give your photographer the uninhibited freedom to do their job without competing with guests. You hired a pro. So let them do their job while your everyone else enjoys making real, in -the -moment- memories. While considering an unplugged ceremony, you may also want to consider implementing a social media ban- at least for any photos that are taken pre- ceremony.
6. Relax, have fun, and trust the photographer you’ve chosen
If busting out the bubbly will help you to relax and feel loose for your wedding portraits, bring that bottle of Veuve Clicquot along! After all the planning, discussing and practice, the most important thing is to now relax, have fun, trust your photographer and just be in love with your partner on your wedding day! Your photographer will direct you and lead you but no matter how your photographer poses you, add movement by swaying, touching each other, interacting together and just being naturally in love. You will get the most natural poses when you can incorporate a little movement when you’re together. Enjoy the moment and the time pulled away during photos to be alone during the wedding day and take it all in. The most important thing to remember is HAVE FUN.
Brides, wear that long veil- photographers love to get creative composing those dream veil shots. Toss EVERYTHING- petals, confetti, champagne! Plan for a sparkler exit or a sunset session- both are dreamy ways to wrap up with ending photos of the night. You put in all the pre-planning and work, now let loose and have a blast with the photos! The only thing you’ll have left to do is wait for that gallery to drop, darling!