It’s the #1 question brides ask: What can I do to get the most amazing photos on my wedding day?
Having been through the in’s and out’s of many, many weddings all over the world (we just shot #275 last month !?!), I have LOTS of tips to share.
Of course, getting beautiful wedding photos begins with your photographer, and nothing will replace their ability to create stunning works of art. BUT after you’ve hired someone you totally love, what can you do help?
Let’s get right to it…here are 8 things you can actively do to get the most amazing photos possible on your wedding day!
1. Pick A Venue You Truly Love
From getting ready location to reception, do your research. Do you prefer elegance over urban flair? Do you envision an outdoor garden reception draped in market lights or an indoor ballroom reception lit by candles and chandeliers?
Whatever your tastes may be, there is a venue out there that fits your personality and that you will fall in love with!
Visit locations and keep an eye out for the photographic potential of the venue. Search online for examples of weddings that have been photographed at different venues to find one that provides the look and feel you’re desiring.
Then communicate with your photographer what you love most about your venue. Is it the greenery in the gardens? The modern architecture? The classic ballroom? The natural rustic feel of the meadows?
The more you communicate with your photographer, the better.
2. Have Details Ready to Go
We always begin your story by photographing all of the little details while you’re getting ready.
The shoes, the dress, the jewelry, the garter, gifts to your wedding party, mementos from generations passed, and (don’t forget!) the invitation… collect all of these little details and have them set aside in the room where you are getting ready. We’ll set them up so they look perfect while everyone is finishing hair and make up.
The cherry on top is a silk, wooden, or personalized hanger for your dress.
3. Prepare for the Unexpected
I love the saying “Spontaneity is the reward of preparation.”
So prepare for the unexpected during your wedding and include valuable cushion time in your schedule for the day. You’re thinking it will take 30 minutes to get from the hotel to the ceremony site? Add a 15 minute cushion to account for getting into the cars, unforseen traffic, and people running late (or slow).
There will always be something that will come up – late bridal party members, lost family members, someone forgetting something, etc. These can all cause the schedule to come to a pause, so you’ll be in a much happier place if you create buffer times in your schedule.
Looking for the perfect wedding day schedule? We’ve created the wedding day timeline of your dreams! Just ask and we’ll happily email it over to you.
4. Hire Awesome Hair and Make Up
Your wedding is going to be a long day and you want your face and hair to look fresh in your photographs from morning until night. Nobody wants their hair flying about by the time they get to the reception.
Find professionals who are experienced and equipped with the tools to not only create a beautiful look, but also one that can withstand the demands of a full wedding day. We are always happy to provide the names of vendors we love. In fact we have a Vendor Referral Guide if you would like some help narrowing down the field of choices.
Schedule a trial-run with your chosen hair stylists and makeup artists and be open about your vision. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if you aren’t feeling the look! Regrets over not speaking up about what you really wanted is the last thing you should be feeling when you look at your photographs years from now.
5. Golden Hour Light
That hour right before sunset is known as the Magic Hour for photographers – and for good reason.
This warm, soft light is a photographer’s best friend, so you definitely want to take advantage of it by scheduling your couple portraits during this time.
Typically the best time to schedule this is between the ceremony and reception, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for it, consider taking 5-10 minutes to step away from the reception with your groom to be bathed in some golden light.
6. Communicate with your Photographer
It’s so important to communicate with your photographer about your vision for the wedding day. Let them know what moments you are most excited about, if there are any guests or family members that you definitely want photos with, or any details that you don’t want missed.
Also, let them know what you love about your body – do you love your smile? Your hair? Your arms? If you don’t tell your photographer, then they won’t know how to pose you in a way that you will love.
And it’s ok if there’s something you’re less than excited about – maybe you don’t love yourself in a certain angle or you have a scar you want to hide. Don’t be afraid to be honest with them so they can help you look and feel as beautiful as possible!
But remember – it’s really important to focus on the positive when it comes to body image. The more you tell your photographer what you LOVE versus what you DON’T LOVE, the more confident you both will be to capture it.
I’ll let you in on a secret – as a photographer, it’s much easier to bring out your most beautiful features than it is to hide things! So help them focus on your best features, and you’ll be a happy subject!
7. Trust Your Photographer!
So now that you’ve chosen the perfect photographer to document your day and communicated with them your likes and dislikes: trust them 100%.
I don’t mean trust them kind-of-sort-of or hand them a large list of images from Pinterest to recreate.
I mean really trust them.
A wedding is the ultimate documentary assignment. Nothing can be recreated, but everything has it’s own importance in the story of your wedding day, and you’re hiring them for their eye and how they interpret the story.
Let them tell your story.
By relinquishing control, you’re telling your photographer that you have full confidence in their storytelling abilities. What a gift!
8. Have Fun!
I just can’t sign off until I say this: Joy is contagious!
On your wedding day, surround yourself with people who bring out the BEST in you – those who you can be yourself around and who make you smile.
Stress and tight schedules can easily turn your dream wedding day into a less-than-perfect experience, so this is when turning to your soon-to-be husband, best friend, mom, or your goofy little nephew can help remind you of the true purpose of the day: Celebrating your legacy with the love of your life!
Smile through some of the stressful moments, even if it feels unnatural, and it will become completely genuine! Your joy is your most beautiful feature!