How to Prepare for your wedding photos

November 14, 2022

There are a few photography related things to consider while you are planning your wedding day out. 

Ever stood in front of a camera/phone and awkwardly stared into the lens with a forced grin? Yeah, we’ve all been there.

So many brides and grooms, that have never had a professional photographer take their photos before, think that getting photos done is limited to the awkward stiff photos! It’s quite understandable to feel uneasy about getting photos taken with not really knowing what to expect or how photographers work.

If you are nervous about getting your photos done, wanting to understand how most photographers guide their couples, and/or just want to improve the wedding experience for yourself in order to get your dream photos, then this blog is for you! 

Below, I’m going to layout all the goodies and give you a simple way to be absolutely confident and fully prepared to have your dream day captured!

#1: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER 

It is sooo important to find a photographer who makes you feel safe, comfortable, and that connects with your personalities. Remember, this is the only vendor who will be with you the entire day! So, make sure to meet with your photographer either in person, on the phone, or on a video call. Get to know them, really make sure you love their editing style, and then determine the package price. In the end, your photos of your wedding day are worth investing in as it will be the only tangible thing you will be able to remember your wedding by! So finding the right person to document all those memories is worth the time and effort!

#2: TIMELINE

The time of day when you take your photos is one thing that often gets overlooked. 

If you are wanting that dreamy, warm rich glow of golden hour (sunset/sunrise), then it’s really important to arrange your day in such a way that allows for photos at whatever time the sunsets (just google when the estimated time for sunset will be on your wedding day)

If you can’t find a way to allow having your couple portraits taken during the evening, there is the option of creating a time slot for half hour in the evening, usually during reception, where your photographer can sneak you two outside while the light is turning golden for some magical moments before the fading sun!

WEDDING TIMELINE TIP:

I have found in my experience that a minimum of 1 hour for the couple portraits, 30 mins for wedding party and 30 mins for family photos usually works well!  However, if you can allow 1.5 – 2 hours for the couple portraits, the experience is always far more relaxed and you get more photos to put up on your wall of you and your love! 

ALSO remember to factor in the time it takes to drive to locations as well! 

#3: GETTING READY

Getting ready photos are such a beautiful time to document the excitement of  finally getting to the big day! Your photographer will always appreciate more time to document you getting your hair/makeup done, your besties getting all dolled up, and detail shots of your dress and items you plan to wear! 

Plus, if you have more time, your photographer can photograph you with your girls before your all in wedding attire and get some beautiful bridal shots of just you!  

GETTING READY TIPS: 

01) Make sure that the getting ready location is in an open, clean area! 

02) Think of where the windows are to let in alllll the natural light. Photographers looove windows and non-chaotic spaces! 

03) Don’t neglect the guys! The groom + groomsmen seem to get the short end of the straw and end up in a dark/dim basement! So, if you’re able, always make sure that they get a nice place to get ready at with natural light too!

DETAIL BOX TIP:

If you want photos of the small details (rings, perfume, shoes, bouquet) create a “Wedding Detail box” for the morning of! Talk to your photographer about what might look good and what to include in it! 

#4: A FIRST LOOK

First looks aren’t for everyone. But if you are open to it, having a first look just between the two of you can be a super precious time before you head to the ceremony! This is a moment where you two can gaze into each others eyes without the pressure of anyone else watching, read personal vows or handwritten love letters, pray together, or simply get excited about finally arriving to the beautiful wedding day!

#5: THE CEREMONY

Once again having a well lit ceremony will always help make your photos look that much more incredible! If it’s a dark venue, you could always hang stringed lights or have candles to help. 

It’s also important that there is space for your photographer to move around the ceremony! Having side isles and space behind the arbor will allow for your photographer to swiftly move from place to place to fully capture the moments that fully tell the story of your ceremony! Most photographers will not stay in one spot either, so don’t usually have to worry about us blocking peoples views! 

TIP:

Once you both are at the arbor, have the officiant encourage everyone to pull out their phones/cameras to take a quick photo of the bride and groom for 30 seconds! Once the time is up, have the officiant encourage everyone to turn off their phones to be present in the ceremony!

#6: THE KISS SHOT

One of the biggest moments of the ceremony is the kiss. Often it’s a photographer’s nightmare to miss this shot, and it does happen from time to time. 

So, what can you do to help you photographer get that iconic shot of you? 

Simply hold the kiss longer than 5 seconds! This will allow the photographer to not miss the moment because the kiss lasted longer!

TIP:

Make sure to communicate with your officiant to step aside from the arbor while you  two have your kiss! That way, it’s just the two of you in the photos!

OPTIONAL:

Most kissing shots are photographed straight down the aisle. However, sometimes you want to include the reaction of your guests. So talk to your photographer and see if they can capture your kiss from behind the arbor! Or to have a bonus kiss once you leave the ceremony! 

Lastly, if you want to add a bit of flair to your ceremony photos, you can always plan a ceremony exit as you walk down the aisle as newlyweds! This is always a super exciting thing to add to your exit because it involves all the guests and makes the photos even more of a memorable time! Talk to your photographer about ideas + always get permission at the venue first!

Ideas: birdseed, bubbles, rice, rose petals, dried eucalyptus, lavender, herbs…etc.

#7: THE FAMILY PHOTOS 

Family photos are so important but can be the equivalent to herding cats!

So, make a family shot list! Create every grouping you would like and include names! & inform the family who will be getting photos done after the ceremony as well! 

This will ensure that you get photos of everyone that you wanted! Plus, it reduces stress on you to come up with the list on the spot and it speeds up the process of taking family photos!

Also, delegate the maid of honour/someone who knows the whole family, to round up the names on the list near the photographer. That means when the photographer is calling out names, everyone will be nearby!

#8: WEDDING PARTY

A special time during the wedding day is having photos done with all your besties! It is a ton of fun and playing music is a MUST! Blast some music that will get everyone dancing too to help everyone relax! 

You can also bring a bottle of champagne/sparkling juice as a super fun photo idea!  & if you are wanting lots of wedding party photos make sure to just give more time. 

TIP:

Having the same amount of groomsmen and bridesmaids will allow for a more natural symmetrical look – but isn’t necessary! 

#9: COUPLE PORTRAITS 

This is one of the most important parts of a photographers job on the wedding day! These are the photos you’ll love putting in your wedding album and the ones you’ll likely put on display in frames in your home! 

But, quite often, it can be super rushed if you don’t set yourself enough time. 

So, give yourself around 1-2 hours to document your love as just the two of you and give you space to just soak in the reality that you just got married!

When picking out a location for your couple portraits, ask your photographer for some suggestions! Most venues are stunning to photograph at, but if you can, find a secluded spot away from prying eyes or drive out to another beautiful location that’s nearby!  

SLOW DOWN & BREATHE.

With all the craziness of a wedding day, it is important that you really give yourselves time to just soak it all in! You finally arrived on the day you’ve been planning for so long – therefore, you both deserve to give yourselves the space to be present in it! 

Another tip to really have the photos reflect the love you two have is to take the prompts that the photographer gives you and expand off of it in a way that is comfortable! 

Photographers looove movement! So, the more you impromptu kiss, dance, tickle, snuggle into each other, twirl your dress, look longly into each others eyes – the more amazing your photos will be!

It’s important to just be you. So don’t do things that feel unnatural – you’re allowed to communicate this to your photographer! You can even tell the photographer before the wedding day of something that you specifically want or don’t want to do. (getting picked up, spinning, etc)

TIP: 

Ask if your photographer will play soft music during the session, trust me it sets the mood just right!  

TIP: Book an engagement session with your wedding photographer!

By doing this, you’ll get to have an idea of how your photographer will direct you and when you get to the wedding day couple portraits, you will be familiar and far more relaxed with getting in front of their camera! 

You can also use the photos for save-the-dates or for decor during the reception to showcase more of your personalities and the love you two have! 

Plus, you deserve to have this engagement period to be documented! 

#10: DAY AFTER ADVENTURE SESSION

Don’t have much time for couples photos? I actually offer “Day After Sessions” where I photograph your couple portraits the day after the wedding!

This is a great option when you want to have your full attention on your guests and to focus it around hanging out with all your favorite people without having to leave halfway through! 

This way we can drive somewhere absolutely incredible, get the dreamiest evening light (verses the harsh midday light during the wedding), and have an amazing, relaxed session in your wedding attire without the stress of your wedding day! 

#11: THE RECEPTION

Receptions can be full of so many amazingly fun things! There are some really key points when planning them that will help get you your dream photos!

Make sure that there is decently good lighting! Stringed lights, candles, fancy chandeliers, whatever it may be, the more lights there are the better the memories will be! 

Make sure to feed the photographer! This can include breakfast, lunch, and especially dinner! They have probably been working harder than anyone at the wedding that day and need a plate of food!

#12: THE SEND OFF

Want a send off but don’t want to leave the party early? Often you only have your photographer for so long, but lots of couples want their exit photographed! The best compromise to do is a “mock send off” ! 

It’s where your MC announces to everybody to head outside, just before the photographer’s time is up, to do the mock send off! You can be super creative in different send off’s and your photographer can help you come up with ideas! 

Afterwards, everyone can head inside and continue the party!!

Make sure to always give more time for everything at the reception as things always run later than planned! 

You defiantly want to relax during this time! But, with knowing the timeframe of when the photographer leaves, make sure to schedule the things that are your top priority to be documented in time!

TIP: 

Have the speeches overlap dinner/desert! 

So, to sum it up, there are many little things that can be done in order to help your photographer capture your day beautifully! 

I hope all of this helps! & if you are interested in learning more about my services and packages, please inquire on my contact page!  

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