10 Tips for smooth Wedding day photography

The following are ten tips to help your wedding day photography run smoothly, allowing you to be stress-free and get the creative, fun, romantic photos you always dreamed of.

1. BUILD IN EXTRA TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Nothing takes away more from the photography than running out of time for photos. Everything takes longer than expected, and to get the beautiful photos you are hoping for, it takes time. I recommend at least 30 minutes for the couple’s photos, and another 30 for bridal party. That being said, whatever time you’ve planned for everything (hair, dressing, makeup, etc.), plan for time and a half. I promise, you will need it. Nothing is more stressful than your ceremony starting in 10 minutes and you can’t find your earrings and still wanted to get those dreamy in-front-of-the-big-picture-window photos. And worst case scenario, you are ready a little early – perfect time to break out the mimosas and take a breather, you’re about to get married!

2. PUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL DRESS ON: You’ve probably spent days, weeks even, finding, fitting, and stressing over this oh-so-perfect wedding gown. So my advice, put it on! Getting dressed early and being ready and waiting ensures plenty of time for formals, group photos, and bridal portraits. Plus, you can relax, relax, relax because you are all ready to go. This gives us tons of time to play around with lighting, fun poses, unique backgrounds, and any other crazy, Pintresty ideas you have for your wedding photography. Besides, who doesn't want to feel like a princess for as much time as possible?

3. PLAN TO DO AS MUCH PHOTOGRAPHY AS POSSIBLE BEFORE THE WEDDING: Getting those formals, bridal portraits, bridal party pictures, and couple pictures done before the wedding takes a ton of stress off everyone, especially the bride. It allows us to spend as much time as needed to set up all those fun pictures you are hoping to get. It also eases the transition between the wedding and reception. No need for a costly cocktail hour where your guests are sitting around waiting for something to happen. You get to go directly to the reception (with maybe a few family photos in between). Plus, you will get your most important pictures when your hair, makeup, and dress are at their very best (you know, before the mascara starts running :)).

4. CONSIDER DOING COUPLES PICTURES BEFORE THE WEDDING: This is becoming a more and more popular trend among weddings, and for good reason. Doing “first look” photos not only captures your first looks in a more significant and intimate way, but it allows for real emotion to shine through. It also allows us to do the couples photos and bridal party with lots of time, low stress, and lots of possibility to do fun, creative shots. When we are smashing everything from family, to bridal party, to couples photos between the ceremony and the reception, well, you’re looking at a nice pretty chunk of time (remember how everything takes more time than expected?) where your guests are just kind of sitting around waiting for the action. However, if you really don’t want to see each other before hand, plan to set aside at least 30 minutes to get those gorgeous, intimate husband and wife photos.

5. THIS SHOULD BE NUMBER 1 – COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE: Communicate your expectations and needs with everyone, your photographer, your parents, your families, and your bridal party. Talk with your photographer at your consultation (or afterward if you think of something new) about what kind of photos you want, any special photos that are a must have, and your timeline for the wedding. Your photographer can help you set out a great timeline that allows for enough time to do photos and have everything run smoothly and stress-free. Talk to your parents, family, and bridal party about where to be and when for any formal photos. Let them know when they are supposed to be dressed and ready, and if you need something changed or adjusted, speak up as soon as possible. This day is all about you and your loved ones, so let me and those around you help!

6. APPOINT A PHOTO WRANGLER: I love it when a bride assigns a specific person to “wrangle” all those wandering family members for family formal pictures. The photo wrangler’s job is to keep everyone on schedule, including the bride. Give them your timeline for the day and the authority to direct. Better yet, hire a wedding coordinator. Many coordinators will do just the wedding day to keep the day on track and keep you from stressing about the details.

7. REQUEST THAT OTHER “PHOTOGRAPHERS” REFRAIN: Everyone wants a piece of the action at a wedding, but the most frustrating thing for a photographer is when other guests are taking pictures at the same time, usually over the professional’s shoulder. There is nothing worse than sitting down to edit and realizing that for the really important family portrait half the group is looking at Aunt Sally, one person at cousin Jebb, and two people at the professional. You've most likely paid a large chunk of money to hire your professional wedding photographer, and you want to give them the opportunity to take all the photos you need in the time frame you need it. That is very difficult with several people taking photos over the photographer’s shoulder. Some brides request that guests either refrain from photos and enjoy the professional ones when they are available, or hold off their photography until the professional photographer is done, then they can snap away!

8. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR: A great wedding photographer needs time to craft the beautiful wedding images that tell your marriage story. If you only choose to hire your photographer for a short amount of time, don’t expect them to capture everything about the wedding, especially in a rush. And most importantly with wedding photography, you get what you pay for. An experienced wedding photographer is a blessing. There’s so much more to wedding photography than just taking the pictures. There’s a learning curve in etiquette, planning, preparation, organization, editing, and the list goes on. There is an astronomical difference between hiring a professional wedding photographer and having Uncle Jerry who has a nice camera take your wedding photos for free.

9. PLAN A GOOD TIME OF DAY. If you are flexible when it comes to planning the ceremony and reception time, I would encourage you to talk with your photographer about your photography needs and discuss ideas on when to have the ceremony and formals for the best photography light. Though I can take photos at any time of day, there is a difference between capturing a noon wedding with harsh sunlight and a sunset wedding with gorgeous soft orange light.

10. LAST BUT NOT LEAST – LIKE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER: You will spend more time with your wedding photographer than any other person on your wedding day. I know, crazy right, even the groom you ask? Well, if you include getting ready, bridal portraits, and the several hours before the wedding, you and your photographer will have become quite chummy. So, be sure you like your photographer. Choose someone who isn't going to stress you out, who will listen to your wants and needs, and who is just basically a nice person to be around. It will make your day and your photography much smoother. Plus, you never know, you may just make a new friend! :)

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