As a wedding photographer, I thrive on details. Details in your photos, and knowing the intricate details of your day, and having a detailed but flexible plan to work from is everything I need to deliver ace wedding photography. So I’ve put together ten wedding photography tips for brides and grooms.
Wedding Photography Tips for Rocking Your Wedding Photos
1. Let’s Meet
You’ve researched photographers, looked at countless portfolios, and asked around for recommendations. Your friend has beautiful wedding photos but you remember finding the photographer a bit abrasive on that day. And there was that other wedding with a nice, friendly photographer but her photos aren’t what you’re looking for. It’s good to be picky, but you should also be prepared to meet a photographer in person to check you’re a good match and can work well together. Of all my wedding photography tips this is the most important one.
So, when I first get to your ceremony location, bridal prep or whatever bit it is we’re doing first, I won’t know anybody. While I have no problem walking into a room full of strangers and taking their photos, a quick introduction is really helpful for me to work out who is who, who’ll be doing what, where and when, and who is important to you. It might seem like a quick ice-breaker but it’s so much more than that, and means I won’t miss anyone out.
3. Be Realistic.
On average, British couples getting married in the UK spend between £1K-£2.5K on their wedding photography. Obviously every wedding is unique and every budget is different, but wedding photography isn’t cheap. Think about your wedding budget and what you are prepared to forego for the sake of getting the kind of photography you want. Could you save £300 by not having favours for guests? Have a time limit on your open bar? Switch the champagne toast to prosecco? There are plenty of ways to save money in your budget to get the things you really value. Likewise, plenty of photographers are willing to find ways to help you get the right package, which might mean booking a half day coverage instead of 10 hours, or foregoing the album and choosing wall art instead.
4. Engagement Photography
This is a great way to combat camera shyness before your wedding day. I’ve written about this in a previous post, so take a look if cameras make you nervous. It can really take the pressure of the wedding day photos, and gives you plenty of time to get to know your photographer. You can use an engagement session to try out a few fun, silly or romantic poses too.
5. Get a Make Up Artist
Because if you’ve never had one, you’ll be astounded at what they can do, and how the make up stays fixed in place all day. I regret not having one, and looking back at the photos of my beautiful summer wedding only to realise that the sun had bleached my already fair brows into nonexistence. Having a make up artist also helps you to feel sassy AF, once you’re confident in how you look.
6. Are you allowed a wedding photographer during the ceremony?
This one is so obvious it barely made my list of wedding photography tips, but it’s fundamental. You might be surprised to learn that not all ceremonies do allow this. It’s also common for flash photography to be prohibited during the service, so if you’re getting married in a dark room, at 3pm, in December, your photographs aren’t going to be light and airy. Is there going to be a videographer during the ceremony? Anything like this should definitely be communicated to the photographer so they can figure out some strategies to meet these challenges.
7. Allow your guests to be guests.
Have you ever gone to a formal event and photographed the entire thing on your phone? If you have, can you say you were ever really present? Getting your guests to put their cameras and phones down for your half hour long service is a small request that will enable them to be fully present, with you, witnessing this beautiful moment in your life instead of staring at a screen. It also ensures you won’t have a sea of iPhones in your wedding photographs.
8. Timing is Everything.
If someone asks me for wedding photography tips, I have one word: TIMING. Behind the scenes, wedding day crews run a tight ship. We all have to work to each others schedules, and it can impact the whole day if any one event lags behind. One of the key parts of the day that always takes longer than everyone imagines is the formal line ups. There are a few ways to speed this up. You could have a first look (google it and be prepared to fall in love) when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, and use this time to also do some of the family line ups. At the very least you should have a list of formal shots you want the photographer to get after the ceremony (this is something I insist on) so we can get through them easily with a little planning. And use your ushers to, well, usher everyone into the right place at the right time. However you choose to do the formal photos, I like to ensure that couples leave at least 30 minutes to get some shots together, while the guests enjoy the reception.
9. Be Prepared!
We live in a temperate rainforest (well, Derbyshire, at least). It’s a rare day that doesn’t see a single cloud in the sky, so there’s no harm in having a couple of colour coordinated umbrellas (or perhaps even parasols) stashed away in case the weather is up to its usual tricks. Like a boy scout going for a new badge, being prepared for anything is really important when it comes to wedding photography.
You can also be prepared in terms of thinking about the specific poses you want to try out. Pinterest is a great resource for looking at these things without having to trawl through numerous photographers portfolios.
10. Feed Your Photographer.
We’re not a particularly hungry bunch, but at some point in a 10+ hour work day we do require feeding. As a rule I only consume food away from guests – usually when the wedding breakfast starts. I’m happy to eat a picnic in the grounds or a burger at the bar. Either way, I get a bit grumpy without food, and it gets reflected in my photography. It’s not easy to be creative when you’re running on empty.
That’s my handy guide of wedding photography tips. Now go do something awesome!