Every newly engaged couple dreams of having the perfect wedding full of their best friends and closest family. They dream of beautiful weather, gorgeous lighting, tearful speeches, and lots of dancing to end the night. And not only do you dream of those things, you want them beautifully documented so you can look back and reflect on your day for years to come. But how do you guarantee that your photos will be just as beautiful and magical as your actual wedding day? After having shot hundreds of weddings (and seeing it all!) I am sharing my top 5 tips for having the perfect wedding photos!
1. Look for natural light
I am a natural light photographer which means I do not use much artificial light. I, much like many other photographers, utilize light that comes from windows to highlight my subjects and make them look their best. When brides start dreaming of their wedding day, they think about hanging out with their best friends in the morning, drinking mimosas, getting hair and make up done, and having a photographer there to capture it all. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE wedding mornings like those, but you need to pick a space that utilizes natural light for amazing photos that you will love. Pick a hotel, air bnb, or where ever else you want to get ready, that has plenty of windows and natural light.
Photographers are crafty and can bring items to help style your invitation suite, shoes, and bouquet, but they cannot change a room.
If you get ready in a wood cabin with minimal windows, your photos will match the lighting available. If you are unsure where to get ready or what to look for, don’t be afraid to reach out to your photographer and ask for insight. We want beautiful photos too and love to be a part of the process!
2. Consider doing a first look
First looks are great for nervous brides or grooms. Many people do not like having the spotlight on them to begin with, especially on a wedding day with all eyes on you. A first look allows for the opportunity to get your emotions under control and help you relax throughout the rest of your wedding day. Brides dream of having an emotional groom waiting for them at the end of the aisle, and that doesn’t always happen when grooms are nervous about showing emotion or attention. The first look allows you to soak in all of the emotion and excitement alone, instead of having to wait until after your ceremony to experience your emotions together.
Whenever I help couples create timelines for their day, I often suggest a first look! First looks also allow for more opportunities for photos of the bride and groom and adds more diversity to your gallery.
3. Tell you photographer what is most important to you
Not all weddings are the same and not all couples value the same part of a wedding day. Some brides have heirlooms that were passed down that they wear on their wedding day and they want to be sure to capture those. Some couples have a lot of out of town friends and family members that they want to have pictures with at the reception. And some couples? They want to emphasize portraits of them as a newly married couple. Whatever your wedding dreams are, don’t expect your photographer to know exactly what you are thinking. Discuss with him or her what you want out of your wedding photos because not all weddings are the same!
This bride’s grandfather hand carved, painted, and carved his autograph in these ducks that were used around the reception for decoration. It was the perfect touch to compliment their theme (the groom even wore a duck feather bowtie!) and of course had sentimental value.
4. Hire a wedding coordinator
I know weddings can be expensive, I get it, I truly do! But your job on your wedding day is to relax and enjoy. Hiring a professional wedding coordinator will help make your job that much easier. No more stressing about the hand tied favors, setting up hanging hoops, laying out garland, getting the bar set up, and making sure everything is going smoothly.
Northern Michigan wedding planner, Stacy Horn of Juniper and Lace Events, believes that you should “Hire a planner so you can be present in the moments that matter and really enjoy the people who have traveled from afar to celebrate you and your soulmate.” Isnt’ that every bride and groom’s dream? To not stress more than you should? For more reasons to hire a wedding planner from Stacy, check out the blog here.
5. Book a photographer whose pictures and personality you enjoy
Most photographers have a different style with their edits like moody, dark, natural, or film/film inspired. Once you have picked a photo style that you and your fiancee want, it is important that you have chance to meet your photographer. There are many different ways you can meet your photographer-phone call, Facetime, morning coffee, or evening drinks. Any way it happens, you need to meet a photographer in person because they will be around you all day. One of the best ways to make sure you are a good fit is by scheduling an engagement session early on. Engagement sessions are the perfect way to get to know your photographer and also build your confidence in front of the camera! Most photographers include engagement sessions in their package for this very reason.
I often tell my clients being a wedding photography is often more about having good people skills-skills to make your nervous bridesmaid laugh, get your rowdy groomsmen to settle down and focus, help your grandmother walk up for family photos, connect with your parents and let them know how special they are as well. Making sure you mesh with your photographer and their vibe is definitely a must!
Although there are many other tips to getting perfect wedding photos, these are my personal favorites. Remember that when you inquire with a photographer, don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting/phone call to ask your own questions, get to know his or her personality, and to not judge quality by price. You have to find the right fit for you and work with your photographer to help create the best wedding images possible!
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