Want Great Wedding Photos?

You have put a lot of work into your wedding day to make it a memorable one. Having great photographs is one of the best ways to preserve the moment. You want your photos to look GREAT! For most of us, our wedding day is the first time we have had our photos taken by a person solely designated to do just that.

Weddings can be overwhelming and worrying about the photos adds to the stress. I am sharing the following tips so you can be more prepared for the day and so that your photos - formal and candid - will be quality shots that capture the excitement of this most special day

Follow these tips and your photos will look so much better.

1. Traditional or Original?

This first tip is suggestion I am sharing from my experience as a wedding photographer. Over the centuries weddings picked up many traditions and customs. Often today many brides and grooms think that in order to have a successful wedding day they have to follow all of them - from throwing the bouquet, to cutting the cake, to the first dance, etc. What I suggest is that you ask yourselves which of these traditional shots are most important to you. Do you want these shots because they are expected or can you think of starting your own traditional shot that better reflects you as a couple?

Many times when I consult with a couple they ask me when events "should happen" or what the order of the day should be. My answer is always the same: What do YOU want to do?

So many ideas have just caught on without the original sense of why attached to them. There are no rules for a wedding day except the rules you make. If you want to do whatever your friend did last year, go ahead. If you want it to be different, make it your own! It is entirely up to you.

Here are some places to look for original ideas:

Get the idea? Remember to be original when planning your wedding and you will have a great time and awesome photos.

Think out of the box, make it your own

2. Communicate your needs

Please communicate your wants and needs clearly. Many brides fail to do so and regret it later on. We know what we are doing but if you have some special requests, make sure you tell us and are satisfied that we understand each other. Most good photographers will be glad to follow your requests and add their own creative ideas so you end up with pictures that are important to you.

Make a list of 20 of your “must have photos.” Do not list the dress, shoes etc., those will be taken regardless. Include in this list particular people, special moments or things that are sentimental to you. Make sure the photographer has this list in advance. Often, those special guests and sentimental things are with you when you get ready in the morning and the informal atmosphere makes for awesome fun photos. If we know of this list in advance, we can take care of it early in the day.

3. Trust us to be creative

Now, although we very much like you to tell us what shots are important to you, one of the things photographers fear most is being handed a list of every single thing you want us to photograph. We know you want your dress to be photographed, or your shoes, jewelry etc., please trust your photographer.

It is also important to be realistic about the photos you want. We all love Pinterest for inspiration but do you really want to duplicate the poses you saw there? Remember, it is your wedding, so make it truly yours.

4. Schedule enough time for your photos

Preparing a time-line for your wedding day is crucial. When you make your plan remember to do so sensibly and be realistic about the amount of time allowed for each segment of the wedding day. You will be amazed by how long things can take and, as a result, how little time we sometimes end up with to take very important photos.

For example, hairdo and makeup can easily take two hours. Putting your dress on can take 30 minutes. Not allowing enough time will result in your being late for your ceremony—an occurrence that repeats itself at least in 6 out of 10 weddings. Plan it carefully and be reasonable with time allocated. Here is a very common time table that will put into perspective the time needed for each segment of the wedding day.

    Getting ready:
  • 1 hour to three hours hair & make-up.
  • 30 minute putting the dress on.
  • 30 minutes for portraits of bridal party, family and whoever is around (with the dress on).
  • 1 hour photography of Groom (done by a second photographer.)
  • Travel time: 30 minutes average (depending on distance between locations).
  • Ceremony:
  • 1 to 2 hours depending on the ceremony. Some ceremonies can take even longer.
  • 30 minutes for family portraits at the church.
  • Travel time: 30 minutes average (depending on distance between locations).
  • Portraits (Park or a location of your choice):
  • 30 minutes for wedding party photos.
  • Portraits of the couple really vary. Depending on your requests it can take as little as 30 minutes or as much as two hours or more.
  • Travel time: 30 minutes average (depending on distance between locations).
  • Reception:
  • Time is less of a constraint after the couple has its portraits taken. From now on, it is a more relaxing time and the photographer largely just documents the reception and all its parts.

A simple add-up shows it can take 6 to 10 hours to photograph the wedding day up to the reception. It is usually somewhere in the middle.

5. Ceremony

We are back to tradition and this is an important one, the ceremony. You will be surprised how many brides and groom have a hard time recalling details of what happened during the ceremony. For many it is so emotional and overwhelming that it seems to pass in a blink of an eye. Therefore, we all can agree that having great ceremony photos is important.

However, many priests, rectors, and clerics put constraints on the photographers. Some do not allow flash photography, or insist that the photographer stand in the back in one spot. Or worse—will not allow taking photos at all!

As a photographer it is upsetting when we are being restricted and cannot properly document the most important part of your wedding. Please speak to your ceremony official and be clear about your wants and needs and find out what their limitations are. It is important for all of us to know this in advance.

Please trust us, we have been doing it for a long time.

6. Assign a designated planner

Usually a Maid of Honor's’s title falls on a trusted family member or a friend. Her responsibilities start long before the wedding day. From helping to choose the bride’s dress to making sure all bridesmaids have their dresses and shoes ready. Her duties require her to be energetic and enthusiastic. However, her assistance during the wedding day is truly invaluable.

The most important job the Maid of Honor has to fulfill is to make sure the bride forgets the numerous to-do-list during the wedding so she can just have fun. You will be very grateful if someone just takes care of all the details. You will be so relieved knowing someone (capable) is taking care of things and you can just have a great time.

The Maid of Honor can be of great value to the photographer. Usually she knows everyone and can help gather the "troops" when it comes to family portraits. Going to get Aunt Sarah or make sure all the siblings are present for the group shots can be of tremendous help. When taking the couple for their portraits the Maid of Honor usually tags along helping with the dress, holding certain necessities (like water), and occasionally making the bride and groom laugh.

Yes, the job of the Maid of Honor can be taxing, so choose this person wisely. Here is a great list of the Maid of Honor Duties.