Of course, getting beautiful wedding photos begins with your photographer and nothing will replace their ability to create those stunning works of art. BUT after you’ve hired someone you totally love, what can you do help? Here are a few of those suggestions!
1. Don’t skip the engagement session
Oh, my goodness- I friggin’ LOVE engagement sessions!
Engagement sessions are beneficial for so many reasons. First… it allows us to really get to know each other, and to start to really develop a fun- loving, trusting relationship. It’s also a great way to relax, have fun and get some amazing portraits of the two of you. The more relaxed you are on the wedding day, the more natural and beautiful you will look in your photos, and an engagement session will do just that! Not to mention that we start out snacks and drinks first. My treat!
2. Consider the season of your wedding, (and the venue!)
If you are really hoping for pictures of you and your brand new hubby, frolicking in a field of flowers, while the warm golden sunlight is setting behind the horizon. You’re envisioning green leaves, colorful flowers, kissing to the song of the chirping birds, BUT… your getting married in January in New England. Sorry ladies and gents…. you may be just a tad disappointed. 🙂 Though we may have some sunlight…. the rest of your vision (most likely) isn’t possible. Unless of course, you’re planning a destination wedding!! In that case…. I have my passport ready to go! hahaha, How does somewhere in the Carribean sound? hehe
Additionally- consider your venue. Do you love it? What do you love about it? Make sure you communicate this to your photographer so they can keep that in mind. Do you like the elegance of the ballroom or the rustic feel of the barn? Or the beautiful views? Or the massive gardens? Do your research and make sure your chosen venue really offers you everything that you are hoping for.
3. Start Early!
If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a BIG believer in not rushing through your wedding day, so I always advise that you start your photography coverage early. (Most of my couples invest in 10 hours of photography coverage) My recommendation would be to invest in having coverage starting earlier in your day, rather than later. You’ll be more relaxed, you’ll remember more, you’ll enjoy yourself, and it will add some cushion just in case something doesn’t go as planned.
The earlier that you are dressed and ready to go, the more photographs can be taken. And if you end up having extra time, kick back with your bridal party over some wine, uplifting music, and quality girl time! What’s more fun than that?
You’d rather be ready too early than too late! Not to mention- having that time to just “be”… is really what matters. Time to just enjoy and really take in what the day really means.
4. Hire the most Awesome Hair and Makeup Artists
Your wedding is going to be a long day and you want your face and hair to look fresh in your photographs from morning until night. You don’t want your foundation sliding down your face or your hair falling down by the time you get to the reception. So find professionals who are experienced and equipped with the tools to not only create a beautiful look but also one that can withstand the demands of a full wedding day. I have plenty of recommendations too!
Schedule a trial run with your chosen hair stylists and makeup artists and be open about what you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if you aren’t feeling the look! Regrets over not speaking up about what you really wanted are the last thing you should be feeling when you look at your photographs years from now. If you want to look beautiful in pictures… you NEED to feel beautiful. If you’re in any way self-conscious… it’s going to show in your pictures.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected in Your Schedule
I always say that “Organization is the key to success.” (actually, I heard that from my father for years! ha)
So stay organized and prepare for the unexpected during your wedding. Include extra cushion time in your schedule for the day. Are you thinking it will take 15 minutes to get from the hotel to the ceremony site? Add a 15-minute cushion to account for getting the cars, unforeseen traffic etc.
There will always be something that will come up. (hair and makeup run late, groomsmen forgets the tux, Mom gets lost…) These can all cause the schedule to come to a pause, so you’ll be in a much happier place if you create buffer times in your schedule. I’m a huge believer in the buffer!
Looking for the perfect wedding day schedule? Read this blog post: The #1 way to reduce stress on your wedding day. !
6. Have Your Details Ready
I begin your story by photographing all of the little details while you’re getting ready.
The shoes, the dress, the jewelry, the garter, gifts to your wedding party, mementos from generations passed, and (don’t forget!) the invitation… collect all of these little details and have them set aside in the room where you are getting ready.
And don’t forget a beautiful custom hanger! What a nice way to add a special touch to the detail pictures!
7. Consider the First Look
I LOVE First Looks for so many reasons. (Read more about those HERE) Some may think that they go against tradition… but I ask… Who’s tradition? Whether you see each other before the ceremony- or if you wait until your walking down the aisle…. the excitement is still the same. However, with a first look- The groom gets the space and freedom to feel his emotions and gaze upon his gorgeous bride. You get the time to check out your soon-to-be-hubby and show off your stunning dress. All in the intimate time set aside just for the two of you. And best yet? You get all of those joyful, candid moments caught on camera.
With first looks- I choose locations that offer privacy and the best light. We (photographers) step back and give you the space you need to really savor the moment. (of course while capturing it ninja style!)
So how does this affect the timeline? Well… it opens up so much more time later on in the day for those awesome candids of you all enjoying time with your family and friends. It allows for you to enjoy the cocktail party and to truly enjoy your day visiting and making memories. It also gives us time to also get the family formals and bridal party pictures done so after the ceremony it’s just party time. 🙂
8. It’s all about the light….
That hour right before sunset is known as the Magic Hour for photographers – and for good reason.
This warm, soft light is a photographer’s best friend, so you definitely want to take advantage of it! If possible let’s try to get out at some point during this time to make some epic pictures! Unlike Engagement Sessions when we choose the time of day to have the session- wedding days are different. Light can either make or break a picture. So if possible, let’s plan to get out for a few minutes during this “Golden Hour” to make some epic, romantic portraits! (no worries, we don’t need a full hour. 15 minutes will be fine to get a few awesome pictures! )
9. Be Honest With Your Photographer
We will be meeting / chatting on several occasions throughout the planning process. We will be talking a lot about what your visions are, and about all the pictures you want to be captured for your big day. During this time, it’s also so important to open up to your photographer about your hesitations, worries or insecurities. Let them know what you love about your body – do you love your smile? Your hair? Your arms? If you don’t tell your photographer, then they won’t know how to pose you in a way that you will love. And it’s ok if there’s something you’re less than excited about – maybe you don’t love yourself in a certain angle or you have a scar you want to hide. Don’t be afraid, to be honest with them so they can help you look and feel as beautiful as possible!
BUT the most important piece here….. I truly feel everyone is beautiful- HOWEVER, if YOU don’t feel beautiful, it will reflect in your pictures. And chances are, you will be the first one to pick up on it when looking at the pictures. So remember – it’s really important to focus on the positive when it comes to body image. The more you tell your photographer what you LOVE versus what you DON’T LOVE, the more confident you both will be to capture it.
10. Trust Your Photographer
A wedding is the ultimate documentary assignment. Nothing can be recreated. Hire a photographer who’s vision you trust. And Trust them 100%
I don’t mean trust them kind-of-sort-of or hand them a large list of images from Pinterest to recreate.
I mean really trust them.
By relinquishing control, you’re telling your photographer that you have full confidence in their storytelling abilities. You leave the work up to us, and the only think you need to worry about is enjoying your day. What a gift!