Wedding Day Advice from a Photographer's Perspective
Tips & Advice from Wedding Photographers:
How to Ensure You Get Awesome Wedding Photos
We've been around the block a few times, and we've learned some things and seen some patterns over the years on how wedding days tend to unfold. It is our hope that this advice will help our engaged couples best plan their wedding day to get the most of out of our time together.
Not every piece of advice may apply to you, but we strongly believe in educating our clients so they can make informed decisions about how they want their day to go. Of course, your wedding is your day and you should plan to do things the way YOU want to do them. These are just our suggestions from the experiences we have had over the years to help things go smoothly.
- Be sure to let your photographer know if there is anything they should be aware of on the wedding day. Surprises? Gifts? For example, will there be a “first look” with parents? Will guests be invited to the dance floor during the first dance? Always better to know that stuff in advance so we can be ready!
- Plan to get ready in a room with windows so we can use that beautiful, soft light during some portraits. Try to keep the window area free of clutter, too.
If possible, try to have all details together before the photographer arrives.
Bride: Dress, jewelry, shoes, bouquet, garter, veil, heirlooms, etc. Anything you plan on wearing throughout the wedding day.
Groom: Suit jacket, shirt, boutonniere, cufflinks, watch, flask, cigar, sunglasses, socks, shoes, etc.
Allow more time than you think you’ll need to get ready. Better safe than to feel rushed! We know you’ve probably chosen someone fabulous for hair and makeup, and that they will do an amazing job. A lot of things can happen during the preps and over the years we have noticed that for whatever reason, this portion of the day tends to run late at nearly every wedding. We recommend building in an extra hour of time for hair and make-up, extra time to run back to the house to get the earrings, or the marriage license, just in case. When that portion of the day runs long, the only place to cut out time to compensate for the delay is from portraits. Building in the extra cushion of time is a great way to make sure you get the amazing photos you’re excited about!
For example, if you plan to get in your dress at 1pm to do a first look at 1:30pm, consider planning to get dressed at 12pm instead. Best case scenario is we get extra time to take beautiful portraits of you and the girls! Worst case, hair and make-up takes longer than expected, but you still get into the dress by 1pm.
If you really value the portrait time for you and the your partner, you can even think outside the box and have your hair and makeup done before the other girls. Then we could head out and do a private first look and focus on portraits of just the two of you when everything looks fresh! The traditional scheduling usually has the bride go second-to-last. After the first look we launch right into group photos. By the time we get to the portraits of just the two of you, at least 1-2 hours have passed since the finishing touches were done to hair and makeup.
If you’re doing a First Look, we recommend scheduling it 3 hours before the ceremony so we have plenty of time for portraits and family formals, and plenty of time to get you hidden away before guests start arriving. This also allows time for traveling if you plan on going somewhere else for the formal photos.
If you’re not doing a First Look, and the ceremony is not where the reception will be, we recommend leaving a 2-3 hour gap between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour. This will give us plenty of time to go somewhere fun for portraits before heading to your venue!
If you're not doing a First Look and the ceremony and reception are at the same place, we recommend skipping a receiving line after the ceremony so we can get right into doing portraits of you two and get you back into your cocktail hour. We’d also love to be able to pull you out during the reception for 20 minutes or so to get a few more photos of just the two of you if you would like.
Family formals do not have to take more than 20 minutes. However, this is only possible if we are organized beforehand! Please email us a list of ten different groupings for family photos. Be sure to include names so that we can call family members by their first name as we organize the portraits. For example:
1. Bride and Groom with parents (Kevin & Brenda, Mike & Carol)
2. Bride and Groom with grandparents (Philip & Anne, Bernie & Susan)
3. Bride and Groom with siblings (Bobby, Jennifer, Rose)
Please specify if there are step-parents and step-siblings involved in portraits, and if there are any sticky family situations we should be aware of. Also, please let us know in the unfortunate instance that a family member has passed away. We don’t want to stand up there calling for them.
If you have a very large family and want more than 10 group photos, we suggest saving some of the extended family shots until the reception so that family portrait time will not interfere with the time we want to spend taking artistic portraits of you guys! It’s very easy to have the DJ call groups out to the dance floor after the toasts, so this is the time for those big family groups, group photos with college friends, etc.
If you have a Pinterest board feel free to send us a link to that as well. This always gives us a good idea as to what you're seeing in your head when it comes to the portraits you want. A picture is worth a thousand words. ;-) If you can add pins from the blogs we have posted, even better! No one knows our own work better than we do, and how to recreate those images you love.
- This isn't exactly photography related, but remember to eat! Schedule time for your whole wedding party to have lunch. Many hotels will provide sandwiches, and if not? Order pizza! Just be sure you all eat before you get dressed. In fact, assign one person in your wedding party the job of making sure you eat. It doesn't have to be a lot, but every hour or two have some kind of small snack so you don't pass out during the ceremony.
Oh, and on your wedding day, try to relax and have fun! By then the train is moving, and you’re just along for the ride. Things won't go as planned and there will be small mishaps. If you can just throw your hands in the air and laugh, and go, "well, that's a wedding for you!" you'll have a much better time than if you let the little things get to you.
If you'd like to get in touch with us to learn more about the wedding photography packages we offer, click the big button below!