Because nothing (and we mean: nothing!) is worse than rubbish wedding photos.
When it comes to wedding day regrets, a heartbreaking amount of couples have admitted they weren’t thrilled with their wedding day photography. It's so sad. Why? 'Cos preserving those precious memories of your big day is important, especially since so much of the experience is fleeting (and double-especially since every bride deserves to post them all over Instagram).
Once the cake is eaten, the toasts are done and the band has stopped playing Ed Sheeran covers, you’ll have little left from your wedding, aside from your garter, a forever smile and those gorgeous photos.
Because of this, you owe it to yourself (and bae) to wake up the day after your honeymoon and see the most beautiful and authentic photographs in your email inbox. Thankfully, this isn’t as difficult as it might sound. And in that spirit, here are 16 secrets to getting great wedding photographs.
1. Create A Mood Board
Knowing your style is key in finding the perfect photographer. There are several styles of wedding photography to consider, including traditional, artistic, and photojournalistic. Once you’ve decided on a vision, you can search for photographers with the same style. However, even if you know what you want, it can be difficult to put that vision into words. Creating a mood board of images you like, from Pinterest, magazines, and other sources will help you to communicate your style.
2. Look At Various Photographers
Many factors will influence the photographer you choose. While style is important, location and budget are too. Even if you find a photographer you like, these factors might make them unavailable to you. Having a wedding in Spain, for example, means you couldn’t hire an Italian photographer, like Vittore Buzzi Photographer, despite loving their portfolio. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, research various photographers and learn what each can offer you.
3. Schedule The Day Well
Regardless of what photographer you choose, you must have a realistic wedding day schedule. A wedding planner would usually help you organize this, but if you’re planning solo, you’ll have to do so yourself. Make sure you create a timeline for your wedding day, leaving enough time for makeup, hair, and reception setup. Within this timeline, you should include every photo session. Everything takes longer than you expect with weddings, so allow a time cushion for every task.
4. Hire Quality Wedding Vendors
Wedding vendors will influence the flow of the big day. That is why you must select the right vendors for your wedding. Having a hairstylist or makeup artist make a mistake or show up late would cut into shooting time. These disasters will also cause stress, which you might see in the wedding photos later. With many vendor options to choose between, determining the right companies is difficult. However, checking testimonials from past customers will certainly help.
5. Book An Engagement Session
After hiring a wedding photographer, arranging an engagement photoshoot is never a bad idea. This is a brilliant opportunity to get to know your photographer, as well as get comfortable being in front of a lens. What’s more, this shoot will provide you will some beautiful wedding website and save-the-date photographs. An engagement shoot also allows you to give feedback on what poses, cues, and photos you like and don’t, so the photographer is prepared for the wedding day.
6. Work On Body Language
The best wedding photos are those that appear natural. Because of this, you shouldn’t overthink how you look too much, especially during posed shots. Before the big day, make sure you practice good posture by arching your back, even when sitting down. This will help you to feel confident, which will make you look confident too. Smiling is also undeniably important during photo shoots. If you’re having trouble smiling, a fake laugh will usually bring out a genuine one.
7. Trust The Photographer’s Opinion
Don’t assume your photographer only knows about wedding photography. Photographers are experts at making things look beautiful. That means you can ask for their advice on other aspects of the wedding, from the bridal gown to venue decor. They want the shots to look amazing, so trust them when they give their opinion. Allowing your photographer to express their creativity will enable them to produce their best work, which will benefit you in the long-run.
8. Share A Shooting List
All couples have an idea of certain photographs they want taking. However, you shouldn’t waste time snapping every possible picture you can. Having every combination of siblings, cousins, and grandparents isn’t important. Eventually, these photos will begin to look and feel repetitive. Stick to magical shots, whatever that might mean to you. Once you know what these shots are, including any decor details you want capturing, write a list of them to send to your photographer.
9. Minimize Photo Shoot Locations
Driving to many different locations throughout the day isn’t ideal. After all, you have very few hours to enjoy your wedding. If most of that time is spent travelling, you’ll find it difficult to relax or have fun. This travel time will also eat into your photo sessions, leaving you with fewer pictures. A great photographer can make any location work. For this reason, you should have your entire wedding in one place. The photographer will snap beautiful images, regardless of the backdrop.
10. Keep Shooting Spaces Tidy
Your first wedding photographs will be taken while you’re getting ready. The issue is, prep areas can quickly become incredibly untidy. With a bride, a mother, and several bridesmaids in one room, the location will quickly be cluttered with clothes, makeup, and more. This can take the focus off you and onto the mess. When possible, you should keep any clutter out of the way. If the photographer feels that something should be moved, make sure you move it out of the shot.
11. Ask About Photography Restrictions
Wedding photographers rarely have many limitations, especially when working in hotels and similar venues. However, church weddings a little different. Because a church is a religious place, photographers are usually limited in where they can go. Some churches also don’t allow flash photography, which can cause issues in dimly lit churches. If there are any restrictions, you must pass this information along to your photographer so that they can make any preparations.
12. Have An Unplugged Ceremony
Even with a professional photographer by your side, many wedding guests take their own photos. Although they might feel like they’re helping, phones are incredibly distracting to photographers. Having several phones in the air will also take away from the wedding pictures. For this reason, you should consider having an unplugged ceremony. Hang signs asking guests to put their phones away and have the officiant relay this message again before the ceremony.
13. Pack Bridal Emergency Supplies
Hugs, tears, and more mean that your hair and makeup won’t stay in place all night. Rather than accept that, you should pack bridal emergency supplies. These will include lipstick, eye shadow, and eyeliner, among other makeup items, as well as blotting paper, q-tips, and hairspray. Having these close by means that you can touch up your makeup or hair whenever you need to. Rather than carrying these supplies around yourself, ask your maid of honour to keep hold of them.
14. Carry Comfortable Shoes Around
High heels are wonderful and a typical shoe choice for brides. However, they will pose a challenge if you plan on having photographs taken on mountains or in forests. Rather than struggle or go barefoot, you should carry a pair of comfortable shoes to change into. Many brides do this for dancing anyway. If you’d rather not take pictures in those shoes, then bring your heels along. You can always change back into those shoes once you’ve reached the shot location.
15. Prepare An Extra Meal
Most people working eight to twelve-hour shifts expect a break at some point. The trouble is, photographers often aren’t given this time. Because great shots can come out of nowhere, many photographers can’t relax, as they worry they might miss something. Preparing an extra meal for your photographer shows that you’re happy with them taking a break. This boost will also play a crucial role in helping the photographer get through the day and take amazing photographs.
16. Anticipate Wedding Party Issues
While it might feel as though you’ve known your photographer for years, you haven’t. This means that they won’t know about any family tension that might be present on your big day. A result of this could be them asking two family members that hate each other to pose together. To avoid this problem, you should appoint someone to help. This person would then keep the wedding photographer from causing a huge family bust-up. Just make sure that this person isn’t you.
Wedding photos are one aspect of your big day that you can cherish forever. Unlike flowers or cake, they won’t go bad after a few days. However, that means you have to ensure that they’re good beforehand. Having bad wedding photos taken will put a damper on the entire experience. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep this from happening. Hopefully, with the advice above, you can make sure that you shoot wedding photographs you love.