10 Photographer Tips for Better Wedding Photos
1. Personality Matters.
On your wedding day, you will spend more time with your photographer than practically anyone else so, while it’s very important for your photographer to have strong technical skills, it’s also important that they connect with you on a personal level.
If you don’t feel comfortable with them, that energy can affect how you feel throughout your wedding day and how you look in your images.
You don’t need to best friends (after all, your wedding is about you, not them) but they should have a presence that is comforting and positive, not one that makes you feel stressed or self-consciousness. We always say that you look your best in photos when you feel comfortable and relaxed.
2. Loop your photographer in on lighting conditions.
Some churches are really dark. Outdoor locations are often in full sun or have really uneven or complex lighting situations.
If your photographer doesn’t know about these issues before they show up, it’s harder for them to be prepared. While experienced wedding photographers can adjust on their feet, why risk it?
Give your photographer an idea of what to expect at each location they will be photographing. They will feel more confident in what they can do for you and you will be happier in the end when you get your images.
If your venue has very little natural light, harsh or direct light (outdoor ceremony at midday), or other complexities, loop your photographer in ahead as soon as possible so they're prepared to give you great work.
We often work with closely with our clients to choose times and locations based off of lighting conditions.
3. Fill your photographer in on YOUR story.
Every couple's story is unique. What works well for one couple may not accurately reflect your relationship at all.
It’s important to help your photographer understand your relational dynamic so they can capture your love in a way that is both authentic and comfortable to you.
4. Ask your venue for their photographer expectations.
Some, but not all venues have policies governing what photographers are allowed to do before, during and even after a wedding ceremony. We would never want to upset your officiant or worse, be asked to leave during your wedding ceremony. This has never happened to us, believe it or not, it’s not unheard of.
While we take a "fly on the wall" approach during the ceremony, If certain areas are off limits, or if a church deems photography to be unacceptable during specific parts of the service, we need to know that ahead of time so we can comply and maintain a positive experience for you and your family throughout the day.
5. Trust your photographer.
Photographers become experts in seeing the potential in things. Where you might see an ugly asphalt parking lot with rusted light posts, a good photographer might see beautiful lighting and a clean background.
As professional photographers, our skill is in how we see things.
Most of our work is in the real world and the real world isn't perfect. How a photographer handles real world conditions shows just how skilled they are at their craft.
So when a photographer says they have a killer location picked out and you think they’re crazy, remember why you hired them. They know what they’re doing and how to execute on their vision even if you don't see what they do.
6. Let your photographer influence your timeline
Maybe we'll recommend that you get into her dress a few minutes earlier or perhaps we'll ask if we can add a few minutes here and shorten the time over there.
When we do make suggestions, we're not asking because we like to be bossy or only want to do things our way, but because over the course of a few dozen weddings, we've been able to see what tends to work on a wedding day and what doesn't.
When we give input into your wedding day timeline, we're thinking primarily of what we need to make you, our cherished client, happy with your images.
We want to make sure we have the opportunity to capture all the moments that make your wedding day so special.
For instance, while it may seem easy to slip into your dress a few minutes before the ceremony, it's common to find that the hair and make-up take longer than expected. Rather than being stressed as you try to beat the deadline of getting to the church on time, why not plan in a little time to make sure that you can enjoy a few quiet minutes at the church before the ceremony.
With extra time built in, even if hair and makeup do go long, you're still on track with the timeline. And those quiet moments can make the difference between being stressed out and being present and relaxed throughout your day. Having a few moments to center yourself and reflect will help you drink the moment in and allow us to capture you at your most beautiful.
7. Relax and enjoy being with the ones you love.
Your photos should tell YOUR story. A good photographer will give you the opportunity to interact with the emotions of your wedding day. That includes more than just “smiling for the camera.”
Your wedding day is about you so the more you live in the moment and enjoy each moment of your day, the more impactful your photos will be. While initially it may feel a little strange to have a camera present in the room, an experienced photographer will easily blend in and allow you to focus on the ones you love.
The people around you are a whole lot more important to your story than a photographer, so instead of looking right into the camera all day, think about the people around you that love you so much and let your photographer capture you interacting with them.
8. Forget the “Pinterest poses”
We'll be completely honest, as wedding photographers, we have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. On the one hand, Pinterest is a great way to refine a concept and get ideas for stylistic direction. On the other hand, using Pinterest to communicate specific poses limits the authenticity of your story.
While we enjoy seeing styling inspiration, re-enacting specific Pinterest poses takes time away from authentic interaction and doesn't allow us to shoot from our Fine Art point of view. Your legacy deserve better. That's why we don't work from a wedding day shot list or pose list.
9. Help mom (and everyone else) keep the bigger picture in mind.
On a wedding day, people around you are going to want to be helpful. But sometimes their help can be a distraction if it's not directed properly.
For instance, your mom may be worried about you getting your dress a little dirty during photos before the ceremony. While she really is trying to be helpful in her concern, her help may add stress rather than take it away.
When this happens, remind her that you understand the dangers of walking outside in your dress, but that getting beautiful, dynamic photos to remember the legacy of this important day is more important to you than having a spotless dress all day and that you would rather be fully present and enjoy the day with those you love than worrying about the things you cannot control.
10. Align the timeline with lighting conditions
In order to create beautiful wedding imagery, your photographer primarily needs three things: time, light & location. These conditions should help you shape your photography timeline.
Just as you can’t create a delicious meal without good ingredients, we can’t produce great photography without these elements. While we are experts at being flexible and making the most of what we’re given, we want your images to be the very best they can be.
No single factor has a bigger impact on the technical beauty of an image than lighting. The time of day a photo is taken has a huge impact on the way the photo looks. If getting great photos is as important to you as it is to us, consider the impact of the time of day on your photos.
Much has been made of "golden hour" and there's a reason for that. The light is the most beautiful for shooting in the hour leading up to sunset.
While we won't be taking all your photos at sunset, it's worth thinking through how you can align your wedding day timeline to leverage this fleeting window of optimal conditions for your photos.
We hope these tips empower you get the most out of your wedding photos! If you think we might the photographers for you, please send us a message.