Hey there friends! Thanks for tuning in! Today I’m excited to share a few tips and tricks to make your wedding day run smooth and to get the best photos possible. In my 7+ years of photographing weddings, I’ve learned a few things and I’d like to pass this knowledge on to you! If you’re a bride, grab a pen and paper!
Timing is Everything!
Everything takes longer than you think on a wedding day. Weddings can often feel rushed and it makes your day less relaxing when you are trying to do a thousand things. Try to do as much as you can before the day of the wedding so that when the time comes, you can sit back & relax and enjoy your day! It only happens once, so don’t be afraid to delegate people to do things for you – that’s what your bridal party is for!
Ask your hair dresser and makeup artist how much time they will need per person to get everything done on time. A lot of brides will opt to have their hair done last, but I would recommend being second or third. That way you won’t have to stress about whether there will be enough time, and you will be able to relax and have a drink. You will also be able to ‘test out’ your style and make adjustments as needed before you leave the salon (or before the hair stylists leave your house). Usually the makeup artists will stick around to give you a touch up before they leave as well. I’ve been to many weddings where hair and makeup was running behind and we had to cut down on photo time because of this.
Once at a wedding, one of the bridesmaids had a faulty zipper on her dress and the dress had to be taken apart and resewn onto her while she was wearing it.
This summer I was shooting a wedding and we were on our way to the ceremony and someone realized that the veil got left at home, so we had to turn around and go get it.
You just NEVER KNOW!
A lot of these things are things you can’t anticipate, so there is no harm in leaving a little cushion room! It’s better to over estimate how long certain aspects of the day will take, because if someone is running late, there will be wiggle room for that.
Aim to be ready to go roughly 20-30 minutes before you actually have to leave. This will allow time for last minute adjustments and for you and your attendants to gather your things and be organized before you leave. It will also allow for some extra photo time!
After the ceremony, everyone will want to come up and congratulate the both of you. It’s an awesome part of the day! But if you haven’t added this into your schedule, it will cut into your photo time, especially if you have a lot of guests. If you are planning on doing a receiving line, make sure to add that into your schedule. If you plan to head straight into photos, simply tell your guests that you will visit them personally at their tables during the reception or have your officiant make an announcement.
All About The Details
One of my favorite things to photograph on the wedding day is details! Rings, shoes, bouquets, invitations – I love them all! When I arrive on the wedding day, its usually the first thing I tackle. It’s best to have all of your details gathered and ready to go before I arrive so that we aren’t searching around the house when its time for them. If you want detail pictures of your flowers, make sure that you have them delivered early enough and at the right location to be in your photos. Here is a list of details to have ready on the day:
Bouquet, Dress, Veil, Shoes, Rings (all three), Invitation (all pieces), Jewelry, Perfume
When it comes to your wedding, there are a lot of things to consider and a lot of expenses – brides have to prioritize what they invest in. The one aspect that will make a big difference in your wedding images is your bouquet. It will be with you the entire day and will be a major focal point during your wedding. I highly recommend treating yourself to your DREAM bouquet and investing a little less into the bridesmaid bouquets as they will be less central to your day.
Your First Look
First looks are becoming more popular. This is when the bride and groom set aside some time prior to the ceremony to see each other. A lot of couples shy away from this idea because it goes against tradition and they think it will make their walk down the aisle less magical. Every bride wants that initial emotional reaction from their groom when he sees her for the first time. Who wouldn’t!? But the first look doesn’t take away from the moment – I’ve actually found the opposite to be true. The first look is done in a private setting – just the bride and groom. The bride will walk up to the groom who has his back to her, and when she calls his name, he turns around and gets to see her in all her wedding glory with no one else around. They get to share an embrace and laugh and cry with each other and have this alone time during their day that they wouldn’t have otherwise had! And when it comes to the ceremony, the groom is just as blown away by his bride as the first time he’s seen her.
Because there is no timing pressure, we ease into doing romantic bride and groom portraits after the first look and some of the bridal party photos as well. I absolutely love photographing first looks, and every couple I’ve known that has done one hasn’t had any regrets. Because a lot of the bridal portraits get done before the ceremony, this is ensuring that you are receiving way more photos on your wedding day and is making the most out of your photography investment. Talk about what you two need as a couple, and don’t let habit dictate what you do purely for the sake of tradition. I can’t say enough good things about first looks and if it’s something you’re considering, I say go for it!!
Keep It Tidy!
Whether you choose to get ready at home, in a hotel room or at your venue, it’s important to remember to keep your space picture ready! On your wedding morning there will be people getting ready, makeup everywhere, clothes everywhere and usually a lot of clutter. Some people will say “Oh just photoshop it out!” but that’s not always as easy as it sounds! I would recommend dedicating one room to keep all of you & your girls stuff in, and keep one room tidy for photos. I am a natural light photographer which means I don’t use flash (only at the reception) so the more windows, the better! I will choose the one room that has the most natural light to shoot you getting into your dress as well as other significant moments on your wedding morning.
Communication Is Key!
If you have special guests who traveled a long way to be present at your wedding, we want to know! If you have a special heirloom piece that you would really like to have in photos, tell us! If you and your dad are planning a surprised choreographed dance during the reception, let me know before hand! It’s best to fill your photographer in on what exactly is happening throughout the day so that we can be ready and in position for when it happens! I’ve been to many weddings in churches that have more than one aisle, and we need to know which aisle you are planning on walking down and which one you are exiting through. It’s highly recommended to send your photographer a day-of time line so that you two are both on the same page in regards to the wedding day. It’s best to go over this time line together so that suggestions can be made and things can be altered if needed. Another item I ALWAYS require on a wedding day is a family photo list – this is how I ensure that no one is left out during photo time.
This is one of the most important things to consider when planning your wedding day schedule. I love when clients come to me for advice on location and timing in order to get the best light – after all, it’s all about the lighting! As I mentioned earlier, choose the largest, brightest room for getting ready. If you choose a hotel, make sure you get a room with a lot of natural light – believe me, it will make all the difference.
If you are planning on having an outdoor ceremony, consider where the light will be at the time you will be getting married. For example, if you are getting married at 12pm in the middle of the summer on a sunny day, the sun will be almost directly above you and will cast shadows and harsh highlights across you and your groom. This isn’t something that can be fixed in post processing. If possible, it’s best to start your ceremony later in the afternoon (anywhere between 2-5) to ensure that the sun is at a lower angle in the sky.
Depending on whether you are doing a first look or not, I will do most of the bridal party photos after the ceremony. Then, after dinner, I love to steal my couples away during sunset hour to capture some romantic shots in that beautiful, glowy sunset light.
It Matters Where We Sit!
If you have hired your photographer to stay during the reception, they’re going to have to be sat at a table. The reception is a great time for your photographer to capture those awesome candid shots, and this is when all of the unexpected moments happen!
I’ve been to many weddings where the table for the photographer/DJ/videographer is in a separate room. Placing your photographer in a separate room removes them from the action of the reception and makes it more likely that those candid, in-between moments are missed. I would recommend having your photographer seated in the same room as all of your guests. This way, when a memorable moment happens, they’re there. If your photographer is in a different room, he/she will be able to sit down briefly, shovel a few bites of food down, then rush back into the main room to make sure nothing was missed, all while having to worry whether or not their food was cleared away while they got up (and usually, it has been). I am not saying that vendor tables are a bad thing, but if you plan on having one, keep it close to the action! It’s also common for the vendors to be served last, after all of the guests have had their food. Usually by the time the food is served to the vendors, another speech is starting which leaves ten seconds for a few bites, and then back into the reception room. It’s best to serve the vendors at the same time as the guests so that they can eat and can get right back to shooting before anything important happens. No one wants photos of themselves eating anyway, so have your photographer eat when you eat!
So, where would be the best place for the photographer? Right among family and friends and within close range of the bride and groom
Don’t Forget To Have Fun!
You will hear this so many times throughout the wedding planning process, but its true! Your wedding day goes by so fast. You spend so much time planning out your day, and when it arrives it’s almost a blur. Take in every moment. Look around at all your friends and family who came so celebrate this day with you. Take the time to walk around, socialize & enjoy and don’t worry about if something didn’t go as planned. This is YOUR day. Do what you want! Make it your own! Express your style and pamper yourself! Let other people help you so that you can relax! Have a glass of champagne (or two) & dance the night away! Once the guests have all left, the dancing is done and the honeymoon has ended, the photos from your wedding are what will rekindle the memories of your day for years to come. They are priceless reminder of your love and commitment to each other and they should be as genuine as you two.