15 Tips for Great Wedding Photography
Too often brides the world over wish they had paid just a little more attention to their wedding photography and that makes sense – after all it’s pretty much all that remains from your big day, so it’s quite important.
Here’s my tips on getting the best out of your wedding photographer:
Find your Wedding Photographer Early On
Yes, the best wedding photographers book out early. But there’s another reason – they’ve usually been to quite a number of weddings so they have a good idea of how long things take and can advise you of other considerations.
The best wedding photographers can guide you through your wedding day and give helpful suggestions (while being totally easy with whatever decision you want to make). They should also be able to go over a realistic wedding timeline. This will vary from one wedding photographer to another.
Don’t skimp on your wedding photography
Unfortunately you often do get what you pay for, so consider your wedding budget and work out what is truly important to you. Ask to see a whole wedding gallery, portfolio images alone aren’t going to give you a full idea of your photographer’s abilities. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and don’t go with the cheapest photographer, unless you really like their style.
I’m not the cheapest wedding photographer you’ll find , but there’s many reasons for that. A true professional uses top quality cameras and lenses, edits every image to a crazy high standard in post production, spends time with you to iron everything out, but most importantly knows angles, light and composition. They know their cameras inside out and can relax and casually pose you while getting those priceless shots that you’ll ueber-love.
Generally the cheapest photographer is cheapest for a reason and will cost you in the long run.
Which brings me onto my next point…
Do schedule an Engagement Photography Session
It’s not vital to have an engagement session, but at the same time it’s also awesome to do one. It helps you to get comfortable in front of the camera, allows you to get to know your photographer and their shooting style and worst case it allows you to jump ship before the big day if their attitude or final product is off.
I always offer engagement shoots with my couples, it makes your wedding day photos a lot more relaxed because you’re already a pro in front of the camera by then. I make things nice and easy and we have a fantastic couple of hours together.
Wedding Hair Tips
Although wearing your hair down can be beautiful, it does pose a problem for candid photos. If you’re not directly facing the camera, it can obscure your face. It’s a good idea for brides and bridal party members to make sure that their hair is pulled back a bit on the sides.
When considering your getting-ready location, think natural light (big windows), space and no clutter. Most wedding photographers can work with most rooms but spacious, light surroundings will make your wedding photographer’s job easier and make for much better photos.
When getting ready, have your bridesmaids put all their stuff in a condensed corner of the room—I call it a “crap corner” 😉 This way there aren’t neon bras and Mcdonalds wrappers in the background of your beautiful photos.
Your wedding day is not the right time to experiment with make-up and hairstyles. Be sure to plan a separate day to have a hair and make-up “dress rehearsal”. You could even have your wedding creative shoot a few days before so the actual wedding, so on your wedding day you can skip the photo shoot and just enjoy the day. Also, if you plan to wear a headpiece, use this time to make sure that it will fit with your hairstyle.
On your wedding day, everything will take longer than you think, from getting your hair done to getting dressed. And mishaps will happen, so set a strict day-of schedule that leaves extra time to deal with them without cutting into your wedding photography session. Especially when getting ready, leave time time time.
Tick Your Wedding Photos Box Early
If you don’t want to miss a minute of your cocktail hour, schedule your portrait photos before the ceremony. Bonus: You’ll be less nervous to walk down the aisle and your hair and makeup will be perfectly fresh for the photos. Having a “first look” is also a fun new tradition that I love photographing.
Enjoy Your Wedding Day
Allow your wedding day to simply be what it is. Whether that means inclement weather, forgetting that bracelet you wanted to wear, or events running way off schedule. Keeping an open mind will allow spontaneity and magic to surprise and delight you, and make your wedding uniquely yours.
Keep Your Wedding Photographer In The Loop
If possible, try to allow us to get into position for important shots, let us know if something is going to happen. Capturing your dad’s face when he first sees you is only possible if you don’t rush him in when we’ve just stepped outside or when we’re changing batteries etc. That doesn’t mean you have to be checking for us constantly. But just make sure you don’t sneak an important moment in at the side.
We’re photographers, not magicians. If your first kiss is a split-second affair, we can’t guarantee a fantastic photo of the moment. Take your time and enjoy.
Consider Wedding Backdrops
Remember, your wedding day is all about you. Many times complicated backgrounds in your photos distract the viewer’s attention away from the bride and will take away from your photographs. Keep backgrounds as simple as possible, remove mics and stands that are not generally needed.
Leave Plenty of Time
You probably hired your photographer because you loved their creative shots. Just be mindful that these amazing images don’t happen in a quick 10 minute photo session. Make sure to carve out 1-2 hours for this. A good photographer will guide you through everything, but it’s important to remember these portraits require a little patience, and occasionally an adventurous endeavor or two.
Posing for photos might sound like hard work when you just want to get to the reception and party, but you’ll have these photos for a lifetime, it’ll be worth it and we’ll have a blast! Consider doing your creative session before the ceremony, including a first look.
The more lighting you can bring in, the better! Dark venues means that our cameras have to work extra hard, resulting in not as high-quality images. A good photographer can use flash but it’s more intrusive. When scouting our ceremony and reception venues look for lots of natural light, white ceilings or white walls.
The best time for an outdoor ceremony is 2-4 hours before sunset. The later time ensures the sunlight falls more evenly on the skin tones (no harsh shadows), and is consistent for both the bride and groom (so you don’t have one person in the light, and the other in shadow).
For church ceremonies, please be sure to ask whether photography is allowed and if there are any restrictions. Good photographers are happy to work with anything, but it’s important for your own peace of mind to have realistic expectations in advance.
Also, if your flower girls aren’t coming to the location shoot on the wedding day and you want a photo of the entire bridal party, make sure to include a photo of the entire bridal party on your list of formal photos after the ceremony.
Bonus: What’s Really Important on Your Wedding Day
Here’s the deal, weddings are one day…marriage is what’s forever. It’s not about the process of “getting married”, it’s about the fact that at the end of the day you will “be married”, and that’s what is really beautiful. Our weddings should be a reflection of our individual styles and an expression of how we feel about our spouse, friends and family.
Soak up the day and take a lot of mental snapshots- it goes by quickly. But if you make it truly “you”, and you put in the leg work so that on your wedding day, you know that the details will take care of themselves, it will be the most special, magical and glorious day of your life!
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer for your special day, I’m available all over the South Island of New Zealand. I have a fine arts approach, injected with a whole bunch of fun authentic style. Feel free to get in touch!