6 Things You Can Do To Get The Best Wedding Photos
1. Plan your bridal portraits late in the day
As a wedding photographer, if I could tell all brides one thing it would be this. Now, depending on your photographer’s personal style, this might not be the best piece of advice, but for anyone working with me I definitely recommend it.
Your big day might be cloudy or rainy or even sunny & humid. You just never know (especially here in Indiana). A lot of people pick out photos of mine they like that are taken at sunset. Now, while I ensure my clients top notch quality all day long, I prefer that creamy magical end-of-day golden light. So, if possible, plan for some pictures of just you and your significant other as late in the day as you can. Even if it means sneaking out of the reception for twenty minutes of dreamy-sunset-romance.
2. Have a smaller bridal party
This tip might be easy for some brides and really hard for others. A reason I suggest this is, the more people you have in your bridal party, the longer those photos take. While this may be extremely important to some people, others would rather have more couple images to create a wedding album or even display on the walls in their home.
Not many people have bridal party images hanging in their living room, so cutting back on the number in your bridal party gives you more time to take photos elsewhere.
3. Think about the little things when picking a venue
I realize that not everyone is a photographer and not everyone thinks like one, but when I get married myself these are the things I would evaluate.
-The wall color of the room I am getting ready in: I know, seems strange, but bright walls will ultimately color cast onto your skin. White and neutral color walls will make your getting-ready photos easier to focus on you (and not the bright green walls or funky carpet). Many venues have brides get ready in pre-school rooms or other rooms that may not give that high-glam look you're going for. If these shots are important to you, it's important to think about this before booking a venue.
-How much natural light the venue offers and which direction the building faces: another strange thing to think about when visiting venues, but totally worth it. Good wedding photographers can work in any lighting situation, but having lots of natural light in your ceremony space will make all the difference.
Now, if you're getting married outdoors, you don't want to get married in the middle of the day, when the sky is in the dead center in the sky. This will create harsh shadows and highlights that are unpleasing for portrait images. Find a well shaded area (your photographer and your guests will thank you) or have your ceremony later in the day.
4. Plan your timeline carefully
Typically, photographers have different packages based on the number of hours they are at your wedding and even what you receive afterwards. You may want to save money by only hiring your photographer for the hours you need them. After photographing many weddings myself, I find that 6-7 hours usually works best for most weddings. (My opinion only).
A lot of weddings go from the ceremony to the reception, and usually start the reception off with dinner, guests gotta eat! BUT I have found that it is easiest to send the guests off for cocktail hour and appetizers while you sneak off with your significant other for some pictures. This way guests aren't starving and you have more time for photos.
If you start your reception with dinner, that often allows guests to openly come up to you (the newly-wed couple) and start talking. That is great, but once the guests approach you, you will be busy for the rest of the night greeting people. It's much more efficient when you start the reception with the first dance and other important things you want photographed so they aren't missed later on in the night.
Also keep in mind, your photographer isn't usually photographing during dinner, nobody wants pictures of their guests with their mouths full of food. (But if you do, let your photographer know)
Lastly, if you are planning on doing a send-off after the reception, keep that in mind. You'll likely want your photographer there to capture that (sparkler send-offs are REALLY hard for guests to capture).
If you're not doing a send-off, you may not need your photographer all night. (It's up to you how many pictures you want of drunk Aunt Sally on the dance floor)
5. Let important guests know you want pictures with them ahead of time
If guests, family, or friends need to be some where for pictures at a certain time, give them a heads up so they are prepared. This will help things go smoothly and not waste time on the day off. You can even put a trusted family or bridal party member in charge of making sure people are aware when they are needed for pictures. (Unless you have a day-of-coordinator, they are AWESOME).
6. Create a small list of the shots that are most important to you
I always ask my couples to write down things that are important to them. I am aware of certain crucial shots that are "must-haves". But there might be certain things you want captured that I may not realize. For example, I had a bride last year whose grandmothers had passed and she had their pictures on her bouquet. She made sure to put that shot on her list, as it was important to her personally. That way I won't miss something little. You don't need to put every single wedding shot ever on this list, just things that you REALLY want and don't want to miss out on. It's just a little reminder of what's most important to you.
LNM Photography LLC - Wedding & Portrait Photographer located in Central Indiana - serving the Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Indianapolis area & beyond.