Ten Wedding Photography Tips

I have been shooting weddings for over five years and I have learned a few things along the way.  Now, first I need to explain that this list assumes that wedding photography is a priority to you (or else why would you be reading a post on wedding photography tips, right?)  Of course, everyone has different tastes and desires, but if I were planning my own wedding again I would follow every single one of these.

1. Hire a professional photographer you fully trust {and then trust him or her}

I know I sound biased because I am a professional photographer but I have seen too many people get burned.  This could be a post of it’s own but I’ll try to be brief.

True professionals will have

  • gorgeous examples to show
  • in almost all cases a professional website
  • a least some experience
  • a contract
  • literature (such as brochures, postcards, flyers, etc.)

Look around.  A lot.  There are many variations in style.  Contact a few that you like and see if their personality meshes with yours.  You will be spending a lot of time with the photographer.  Make sure you like being around him or her.

Compare quality.  This can be done by viewing website galleries.  Some people who are offering wedding photography services (even with businesses and websites) don’t know anything about lighting and exposure.  Your photographs will suffer if the lighting is poor and the exposure is off.  Look closely at the images.  Are the photographer’s images consistently done well?

When you find the photographer of your dreams…hire them.  Then, leave it in their hands.  Ask them for advice.  They have been doing this a long time.  If you trust their work, then trust them to handle your day as well.

2. Make sure your wedding package includes a second shooter

I include a second shooter in every package I offer.  {You can click here to see what my wedding packages include as an example.}  Your photographer may not include one in their standard packages but it is almost always an option.

A second photographer ensures a few things.  First, there are many parts of the day that happen at the same time and obviously your photographer can only be in one place at a time.

  • When the bride is getting dressed, a second shooter can capture the guys fixing their ties.
  • After the bride and her father start down the aisle, a second shooter can capture them from behind and get a great shot of the dress.
  • During the reception, a second shooter can capture candids of grandma dancing while the photographer is shooting your new hubby talking to his buddies.

3. Book an engagement session

Today, this is included in many photographer’s wedding packages.  Take advantage of it!  If for no other reason, use it as a day to get to know your photographer.  I learn a TON about my couple during the engagement session.

  • What do they like/dislike?
  • What helps them relax?
  • What feature does she hate that we can hide in careful posing?
  • What makes them laugh?

By knowing the couple in advance, when the wedding day arrives, we are way ahead and can jump right in.

4. See each other first {a first glance or first look}

I wrote more about seeing each other before the ceremony here.  When I got married, I didn’t see my husband ahead of time.  If I had to do it again though…I would.  It is one of the most intimate times of the day and many brides and grooms have told me their favorite.  It allows for the day to run more smoothly and results in AWESOME photographs.  See the end of this post for an example of a first glance from a few months back.

{That said, many of my couples still choose not to see each other first.  If that’s your decision, I won’t bug ya.  Promise.}

5. Schedule plenty of time for wedding formals

This is one of the most important points {second to hiring a pro.}  The more time you allow for your photographs, the more your photographer can get creative, help you to relax, and get some great shots.  The best albums I’ve created came from brides and grooms that allowed a good amount of time for photographs.

Some things to remember.

  • Most couples want the following captured: family formals, bridal party shots at the church, bridal party shots at another location, creative shots with just the couple, the reception hall before guests arrive, and more.  If you are not seeing each other before the ceremony, all of this must take place between the ceremony end and the reception beginning.  Most often, one hour is not enough time to capture all of these well.
  • The last thing you want on your wedding day is to feel stressed.  More often than not, when a couple tries to squeeze all the photographs into a small amount of time, stress follows.
  • If you have a receiving line, add at least 30 minutes into the time needed.  Most take at least this.
  • Let your bridal party know in advance what the plan is.  Some party members may have never been in a wedding before and may not realize that you would like them to go somewhere after the ceremony.

6. Select portrait locations that mean something

I love portraits in the park but that’s not the only option.  If there is a special place nearby…consider using it instead.  Was your first kiss in front of your high school?  We could shoot there.  Do you have a favorite local hang out?  See if the owners would mind a 20-30 minute session the day of your wedding.

Just don’t be afraid to do something different.  There are cool backdrops almost everywhere.

7. Plan for the weather

Most of my weddings take place in Northeast Ohio.  I wish I could promise you blue skies and sunshine but unfortunately for all of us we could have a blizzard in May.  Make sure you have a backup location in mind.  There are many indoor locations that you can use but almost all require advance notice and some have a fee.

Believe me when I say this is a small price for not having to worry or scrambling to find umbrellas.

8. Hire a good wedding coordinator {or a day of coordinator at a minimum}

Trust me on this one.  A good planner can actually save you money.  And they can be your most valuable asset the day of.  A good planner will have everything running so smoothly you don’t have to even think about timing or photos.  Your only job will be looking good.

9. Relax

Speaking of looking good, a bride always looks best without the deer-in-the-headlights-look.  Take a deep breath.  Laugh.  Do whatever it takes to feel beautiful.  You’ve hired a trusted photographer, right?  Trust him or her and own that pose.

10. Plan time for just you as a couple {creative time}

I always recommend at least 20 minutes of alone time with your photographer.  If you are seeing each other in advance this can be before the ceremony.  If not, tell the bridal party to head over to the reception venue a bit early and wait for you there.  This gives your photographer time to capture you in a cool location without 10 pairs of eyes staring.  It’s hard to look cool when your bridal party is cracking jokes.  Trust me.

THe first look or first glance where a bride and groom choose to see each other before they are married

Take a look at a recent "first glance" when the bride and groom first see each other...before the craziness of the day begins.


8 Comments

  1. Dallas Wedding Photographers April 7, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi Amy, I agree with everything what you said above and as much as we try to tell and educate the bride and groom to be, it usually will end up with 30 minutes for formals and 5 minutes for bride and groom pictures. Just crazy!! Especially when you are shooting in wedding venues with 5 hour limit for entire wedding. It is always a dream for wedding photographer to have some more time for the couple, to give them decent wedding day portraits. And yes, we love when the bride and groom can see each other before the ceremony, these pictures are usually amazing. [email protected] Wedding Photographers-George Troup Photography

  2. Nantucket Weddings May 16, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Great! This is a big help! This article is quite informative, inspiring and influential. Keep it up! Kudos!

  3. Toronto Weddings May 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    With over 25 years of combined experience, we couple that great experience with using the best in photography technology, using the latest in state-of-the-art cameras.

  4. Toronto Photographer February 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    wonderful post! we’re trying to educate our couples/brides more as well. i think it will dramatically improve the quality of our work – thanks for sharing your thoughts! – Michelle

  5. Toronto Photographer February 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    wonderful post! we’re trying to educate our couples/brides more as well. i think it will dramatically improve the quality of our work – thanks for sharing your thoughts! – Michelle

    • Amy Lyn February 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Thank you for your kind words Michelle!

  6. Canmore May 26, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you may be a great
    author.I will remember to bookmark your blog
    and may come back later in life. I want to encourage you to continue your great writing, have a nice day!

  7. Wedding Photographer April 2, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

    Amy, these are very useful wedding photography tips for brides and grooms planning their wedding day. Like a wedding photographer myself working with San Francisco Bay Area couples for more than 4 years, I couldn’t agree more on how important is to be educated and prepared. Many couples are not aware what does it take to get beautiful and naturally looking images and frankly many wedding photographers rush through the day.

    You spelled out nicely: Allocate time for the formals and relax. Having a pro photographer is a must as well. These are very useful and I hope many brides will read before choosing and settling on a vendor they can trust. So many things can go wrong, but when one is educated, even the photographer itself, everything goes much easier.

    I wrote a post on the topic as well, which might handy for your readers: https://trifonanguelov.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/wedding-tips-for-brides-from-a-wedding-photographer-point-of-view/

    Thank you for sharing these wedding tips with us. I find them useful and educational.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*