You’ve found your perfect wedding photographer, met with him or her several times and really enjoy them, and are looking forward to having amazing images of your special day. You may not have thought of it, but there are a couple of easy things you can do before and during your wedding day to ensure that you’ll get wedding photos you’ll love forever. Here are my top ten fave tips:
1. Find unhurried time for your formals with each other. If you’re cool with seeing one another before the ceremony, that’s a great time for “first look” images and formals. I consistently get my best couple portraits when we have an hour before the ceremony to get off by ourselves. It also gives you a chance to be alone together, to tell each other how amzing you look, and get settled before the ceremony. If you’d prefer to do the portraits after the ceremony, a minimum of half an hour for just the two of you is great, and longer is even better. If you’re eager to join your guests, ask your photographer if they’d consider doing your portraits after the honeymoon. I always suggest this to couples, because I know the more time we have together and the more relaxed they are the better the portraits will be.
2. Park cars away from your outdoor wedding site. This is one of those small details that will make all the difference in your images. Your wedding planner or venue contact can help you arrange this. And don’t forget to tell your caterer, DJ or band to move their vans once they’ve unloaded their equipment.
3. Ask guests to put down their phones, cameras and video cams and “be in the moment” during the ceremony. You can assure everyone that you’ve hired photographers to be there so that family and friends can be fully present, and that the images will be made available. The Unplugged Wedding is one of The Knot’s top wedding trends for 2014, so you won’t be alone in your request, and you’ll get great images of your family and friends as they participate fully in the ceremony and celebration.
4. Remind the wedding party to smile when coming down the aisle. It’s easy for your wedding party to get earnest and a little nervous when they’re coming down the aisle (the ceremony is the serious part, right?). I ask everyone in the wedding party to look at me and smile for a few seconds as they come in.
5. Tilt your hands slightly towards the photographer while putting on your wedding rings so the guests (and the camera) can see clearly. I know this is a small detail, but it will make a big difference in your photos. If you forget to do this and it’s an important image to you, your photographer and officiant can do a retake after the ceremony.
6. Limit the number of friends and family formals. It doesn’t take a lot of time to actually take the photo, but it can take time to track everyone down and get them arranged. It’s helpful to have a list of the shots you really want and have a “cheerleader” to find family and friends for the portraits. A short list of important group portraits and an energetic, positive cheerleader can move the formal session along quickly so that everyone can get back to the celebration and the photographer can get back to taking pictures of the celebration.
7. Try looking right at the camera sometimes. There’s a powerful connection when you look directly at the lens, and the resulting images go straight to the heart.
8. If you’re going to have a videographer, give their contact information to your photographer. It’s a delicate dance the photographer and videographer go through to stay out of one another’s way and make sure you get amazing photos and video. The best photographers and videographers trust and enjoy one another, and it’s always helpful for them to connect before the wedding day. If you’re going to ask a family member or friend to videotape your day, get them in touch with your photographer. I’ve done some weddings in which a family member with a video cam (or cell phone or lap top) is in nearly every shot. If I have a chance to talk with them before the wedding day, we can work out a strategy.
9. Take 15 minutes for “golden light” images. There’s usually about a half hour of beautiful soft light before sunset during which your photographer will get the best images of the day. It’s often towards the end of dinner, and I ask the couple if we can go outside for a few minutes. It is so worth it.
10. Ask your DJ to dis the disco light. Your guests don’t need a disco light to get them psyched to dance, because your playlist is going to be great and they know how to dance with a beer in their hand.
With just a little advance planning and a couple of small details during the day, you’ll get dream-like images that will convey the full beauty and joy of your special day. And remember, have fun with it!