Professional Wedding Photographer Advice; What The Experts Want You to Know!
“Wedding photos last forever, every bride and groom wants them to be extra special. What are some tips that every couple should know about to best capture the special events during the engagement through wedding process?”
Despite the elation of all that is ahead of them, we do understand that planning a wedding is very tedious and stressful. Most of our couples work full-time jobs, have numerous responsibilities, are finalizing where they will live together, finalizing wedding plans, attending showers, all the while trying to maintain their social lives. At times, this can be weighing on our couples when they schedule their engagement and bridal photos. Our job as your photographer is to encourage you to leave all that behind for at least a few hours. Disconnect from the world and turn your attention to each other. We hope that you can take a deep breath, relax and fall into each other’s arms. This is your time. Touch, hug, kiss and look into each other’s eyes. We will help in “posing” you. All we need to do is fine-tune what is already there naturally and place you in the best places for the best photos. Your job is to just have fun. When that happens, you capture priceless photos.
After months (maybe even years!) of planning, your wedding day will FLY by. Hire a professional for as many hours as you can afford. Friends with iPhones are great, but most couples don’t want their guests to stress about having to take photos. Also, they may not know how to best capture photos in tricky lighting or with uninspired backdrops. A pro photographer will get you amazing photos no matter the light, place, or situation.
When choosing a photographer, first make sure you like their work. Check out complete weddings and not just the few amazing pics on their website. Second, make sure you like your photographer as a person. You’ll be spending LOTS of time together on your wedding day and want someone who can easily integrate with you, your wedding party, and your family.
Once you’ve hired a photographer: relax and let them do the work! The more relaxed you are, the more your true personality will show though your photos.
My biggest tip would be to HAVE FUN! You’d be surprised at how many brides and grooms forget to do that and get caught up in stress. You can stress and plan all you want until the wedding, but you’ve hired amazing vendors you trust so let go, dance with your new husband and wife, and have the time of your life! You’ve spent so much time planning and when that day comes be determined to enjoy it!
First of all, it’s important to make sure that a couple clicks with their photographer on a personal level! Besides your family and bridal party, your wedding photographer is going to be right there with you on the big day. Also, don’t just give your photographer a generic shot list. Let the organic moments happen as they come.
Have professional hair and makeup done for both the engagement session and the wedding. Wear an outfit you feel great in for engagement photos. Also, don’t make any drastic changes to your appearance at least 3 weeks before having your picture taken! For example: changing your hair color or hair length right before a session.
A few more tips for the wedding day:
– Hire a great wedding planner and have a rock-solid timeline confirmed with all vendors with plenty of padding in case things run behind.
– Do a first look! A first look is when you and your soon-to-be spouse see each other and take photos before the wedding.
– Encourage an “unplugged” wedding ceremony for your guests. This means no phones, cameras, or recording devices used by guests until the reception. Let the professionals handle the documentation and have your guests be present with you in the moment.
More than anything, on the day of the wedding, take time to be mindful and be present in the moment.
Making sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing and who’s been in the industry for more than a couple years ensures that you’ll be receiving great quality & capturing all aspects and special moments from your wedding day. It’s best to start planning early so you aren’t rushed and to ensure your favorite photographer isn’t already booked for your date. Hiring wedding pros (all vendors) helps ease the planning process so you’ll have a more relaxed day.
2. Get to Know Each Other.
Getting to know your photographer is a big part of the process. Read up and follow your photographer on social media before you hire them to get a feel for their personality and work. Upon hiring your photographer, I suggest doing an engagement session with whoever is photographing your wedding day. It’s at this time, during the engagement session, when the photographer and couple get to know each other best, you learn how the photographer directs and poses you to capture the best moments between you – capturing your love for one another in the best way. This is a great transition process to prepare you for the big day.
3. Have Fun and Enjoy the Process.
Be best part of the engagement to wedding process is all the fun moments you share with each other. This process only happens once between you two and what an exciting time! But most importantly, don’t get bogged down on the little things and just enjoy this time between you two.
-Maggie Hargrave, Magg Shots Photography
Trust your photographer. Trust them in the timeline making process. Trust them on location scouting. Trust them when they shoot your pre-wedding sessions. Trust them on wedding day. Trust them when they take your photos into post production. Trust the deliverable. If you hired this individual/team for the style they showcased to you, a full faithed pledge of trust throughout the whole process always makes the deliverable better (and that is backed up by evidence of the soul AND just simple data).
-Morgan + Blake, A Sea of Love
1. Find a pro photographer that you connect with, has a solid online portfolio, a style you love, and has examples of a variety of lighting situations.
2. Be sure you work in an engagement session. Make it something that represents you both. This ensures both of you get to work with your photographer before the big day.
3. Find a package that fits and ask about payment plans. Its better that you get a good fit and everything you want since this is one time there are no do-overs. After the fact disappointments lead to lawsuits and stress, and no second chance to get those memories documented.
4. Read the contract and ask questions up front, know what you want to do with and what you are getting from your images. Some photographers don’t offer prints, while others offer prints exclusively and may not include them in the package fee.
5. Discuss your timeline and photo lists with your photographer. He or she can let you know what can be done on a tight timeline and work to fit in any fine art or visionary shots.
6. Be sure your photographer is aware of any special family needs like members who can’t walk, family who can’t stand to be together, or people you do not want photographed. They are always happy to be the bad guy for you.
7. Be sure your timeline has room for your photographer to grab a bite and re-hydrate. A well hydrated and happy photographer is better able to remain alert until your dress disappears into your very own Dallas Party Ride!
Be yourself- wearing an outfit you’re comfortable in will only accentuate your style and personality.
Enhance your natural beauty (for the female of course) even if you don’t usually wear makeup, cameras have a very sneaky way of picking up uneven tones in our faces. You don’t have to look like a Barbie doll but a little foundation and mascara and some blush or bronzer will go a long way toward making your pictures reflect how you look every day.
Compliment each other- don’t wear the exact same color. (Ex: one person wears a solid bold color while the other wears a pattern-think of neutrals, earth tones, etc.)
Avoid black. Black might be slimming but I advise all my couples to stay away since cameras will capture every speck of dust or hair that gets caught on it.
Think about location- if you’re wearing green to a park you might end up being camouflage.
Layers are our friends! (Vests, cardigan anything!)
Don’t out dress each other.
As far as the wedding day- I just affirm the bride that it’s her day. The ceremony starts when she shows up and that we are going to roll with it whatever that looks like. Before the wedding day, I also schedule a time to go over the timeline and encourage the “first look” because of its the only period of time out of their day that the bride and groom have alone with each other. This is a great time to exchange gifts, read letters out loud to each other, and just “be.”
Find a photographer that you like and trust. Every photographer has a style, so make sure that you find one that matches you! I always recommend a consultation, whether in person or over the phone. When it comes to your wedding, there is a lot to plan. Having a professional photographer beside you all day helps you relax and truly enjoy your big day!
-Holly Stricklin, Fine Feather Portraits
Find a wedding photographer that loves weddings, what she/does, and most of all… PEOPLE! Couples will spend a lot of time with their chosen photographer, so make sure that their choice truly cares about their special clients.
I have been in the wedding industry for over 8 years and I swear by one rule: BE YOURSELF! Find a photographer you click with as much as you LOVE their style. Go with your guts and when the time comes let your photographer make magic happen. Make sure to add a personal touch to your engagement session – eg. you both love baseball, schedule your session at your favorite field! You went to XYZ on your first date, take a little ride with the time machine and relive your memories! The chances are endless and your photos should be all about YOU. Oh! And don’t forget to have fun – LOTS of it! 😉
Compiled by Dallas Party Ride