Want great wedding photos? Follow these simple tips to ensure your wedding day photography goes smoothly
A lot of investment, both financial & time, is put into your wedding photography. You spend hours scrolling through photos of brides & grooms on Instagram, browsing wedding images on Facebook, looking at photographers websites & flicking though albums at wedding fairs before choosing who you want to photograph your special day.
Then there’s the coffee or glasses of wine as you get to know your photographer, perhaps a pre-wedding shoot & many discussions with your partner over who to include in the group photos. And that’s not even mentioning the financial investment! Wedding photography is often one of the more costly elements of a wedding but when you consider that after the event your guests will have gone home, the dress will have been worn, the cake eaten & the dancing danced what you have left to remind yourselves of the day are each other, your rings & your photos.
Surely it’s worth that investment?
So for all that investment you want the photography on your wedding day to go smoothly & for your photographer to be able to capture the images that you want.
Here are a few simple tips that we’ve gleaned from our years of photographing weddings to help ensure you get the very best results possible!
Make sure your photographer is prepared in advance of your day with a full & detailed plan of what is happening & when, specifically elements that you want photographed. If you don’t tell them that you’re cutting the cake before dinner they may be in another room photographing your guests or may not have the best lens for the job on their camera.
Preparation in advance means that on the day the your photographer can be fully primed, in the right place, at the right time & with the right lens to get the images you want.
Few couples have held an event for 100+ people before & many tell us that planning the timeline is one of the most intimidating aspects of the day. They are anxious about having enough time for everything whilst wanting to ensure that they & their guests have time to enjoy the day. We often work with our couples to help them plan their timings & have also written another blog on planning your wedding day timeline.
Beautiful photographs take time to create, the more time your photographer has to create the images you want, the better. If there is a particular shot you want, for example all of your guests outside the Church, ask them how long they will need to take it & plan accordingly.
It’s not just your photography that requires time, things always take longer on a wedding day. Think, if you have 100 guests, that means 100 guests wanting to congratulate you outside the Church before you get into the car & drive to the reception! Have you allowed time for this?
Your photographer is experienced & knows how long they need to create the beautiful images you want. When time is tight or things are running late on a wedding day it is often the time for photography that is squeezed. If their time is shortened because things earlier in the day are overrunning your photographer may not be able to capture all the photos you’ve asked them to.
Throughout the day it’s always better to have more time than less to ensure that everything runs smoothly & you are not rushing from one part of the day to the next – you want to enjoy & savour it after all!
Introduce us to your family
When your photographer arrives to photograph your wedding it’s unlikely that they will know anyone other than yourselves. Please introduce them to the people who are closest & dearest to you so that they know who they are photographing & can ensure they capture all the key people.
Your photographer would hate you to be disappointed because they missed out someone important because they didn’t know who they were.
If you don’t have time to do the introductions perhaps ask one of your bridesmaids or an usher to.
Preparation is key but consider having a back-up plan to keep not just your photography but the whole day running smoothly should anything unforeseen happen.
Are you using a vintage car or older vehicle as your wedding car? What happens if it breaks down on the way to the ceremony (it happened on one of our wedding days, true story!). Is there someone you can call to come & pick you up? What happens if it rains all day?
Are there certain ‘must-have-photos’? Let your photographer know in advance of the day what these are so that they have time to familiarise themselves with them, they’ll need to know the who, what, where and when: people, locations, events or other special elements.
If there are important people you want photographing please make sure your photographer knows who these are. Having someone for the photographer to liaise with is always a good idea – you don’t want them to be running around the reception trying to find your university housemates and missing other things.
In the excitement of the day a vague ‘oh can you get a photos of great Aunt Ivy’ shouted as your photographer passes may get missed
Practical tips to help your photographer from dressing through to dancing…
If your day runs smoothly, the photos run smoothly…
– Make sure the room/s you are getting ready in are tidy – you don’t want dirty clothes & half eaten food in your photos!
– If you want details captured whilst you are getting ready – the dress, shoes, jewellery, rings, invitation, perfume, etc, then have them ready for your photographers when they arrive. If they’re not having to hunt for them it will save time & means more time to take photos!
– Have a nice hanger to make your dress photos shine. It doesn’t have to be personalised, a simple wooden hanger looks stylish, just avoid the flimsy plastic or wire hanger from the dress shop!
– Brides, ensure whoever is helping you put your dress on is dressed themselves before they help you. I’m sure your bridesmaids doesn’t want to be photographed in their underwear!
– If your dress has been stored in it’s bag for a while check it the day before to see if it needs steaming to get rid of any creases. An unexpected delay to steam your dress may mean less time for your beautiful bridal portraits.
– Grooms, if you’re wearing a cravat practice tying it! You don’t want failure to tie a tie to be the reason you are late to the ceremony! (AJ has had some practice of cravat tying over the years but if he’s helping you get dressed he won’t be taking photos!)
– Grooms & groomsmen, try to avoid having a long list of jobs that need doing when you arrive at the Church or registry office as this is a great time for your photographer to grab a few shots of you all together. Perhaps ask some friends or family who arrive early to help with anything that needs doing.
– Remember when you walk down the aisle, both before & after the vows, to look up & look at your guests, not down at the floor!
– Have you considered an unplugged ceremony so that your guests focus on you rather than watching through a camera screen…? It also prevents unwanted camera getting in the way of the official photos…
Although this example is cute when the aisle is full of people snapping images on their iPad’s it’s really difficult for your photographer to get that moment when you hold hands and walk out as a married couple.
– If you’re getting married in a Church please ask the vicar in advance whether photos are allowed during the ceremony as it varies from Church to Church. As a photographer it’s heartbreaking to arrive at the Church just ahead of the bride to be told by the vicar that you’re not able to take any photos, or only from the back row, therefore missing a key part of the day from the visual story. (This has actually happened!)
– Have an usher or bridesmaid (or two) who know both sides of the family help organise the group photos. If someone who knows your family & friends can be getting people ready, it makes the group photos run smoothly & means you get more time with your guests rather than standing around waiting for Granddad who’s popped off for a sneaky whiskey to be found for his photo…
We wrote a more detailed blog on guide to group photos here
– Talk to your photographer about what to do if it rains. Most importantly don’t panic, your photographer is a professional & will always have a back-up plan to ensure that your your photography runs with out a hitch!
Our final tip?
Keep calm. You’ve planned the wedding, you know everything that should & shouldn’t happen, your guests don’t! Someone forgot to bring the sparklers for your grand exit? Well, your guests don’t know that’s what you were planning… Your friends and family are all there to celebrate your special day, they will have fun & will enjoy sharing your day regardless of what does or doesn’t happen! If you’re calm & relaxed this will show in your photos – panicking & stressed, this will also show in your photos!