In almost ten full years of documenting weddings, we have picked up a few tips along the way. We share them in hopes they help you have the best wedding photos possible!
Hair & Makeup
The time of year and whether or not your ceremony takes place indoors impact how successful certain hair and makeup choices are. Wearing your hair down can be gorgeous, but unless you have someone on standby for touchups throughout the day, it may not be the best idea for a hot summer wedding. If you’re committed to styling it that way, we recommend wearing it down for the ceremony and, once it starts to lose its initial style, having someone at the reception put it in an up-do. Likewise, makeup touchups are never a bad idea, especially in the heat.
Most importantly, plan for an extra 30-40 minutes on top of whatever timeframe the makeup artist and hairstylist give you. This part of the day almost always runs longer than anyone plans, so a buffer ensures nothing goes off track as a result.
Wear what you know you’ll love. If you want to go strapless, wear this style of dress out and about prior to committing to one for your big day. If you find yourself tugging or pulling at it, or if you otherwise feel uncomfortable in it, this style may not be the right fit for you. If you aren’t comfortable with your arms or shoulders, straps or cap sleeves may be the best choice. Regardless, wear what feels right for you, and wear it with confidence!
Shoes, jewelry, invites – a lot of thought and care went into these, and we know they’re important to you. We want to photograph them for you, but it’s important to allow time for that.
It typically takes 45 minutes to photograph your dress, rings, invites, shoes, jewelry, etc. during the getting ready phase of the day. We want to do it right, so to make sure we capture the thought and care these details convey, schedule for it!
Natural light is the key to beautiful and organic images during this phase of the day. A suite with large windows is fantastic. It’s also important to ensure you have a room large enough for your bridal party (if necessary), your video team (if you have one), and that pesky photographer.
If you have no option but a boardroom in your hotel for the getting ready phase, we ask that you be open to the idea of finishing your details in a room with more flattering light. Don’t worry – our concern is your comfort, your privacy, and the quality of your eventual images!
We’re known for naturally posed and creatively crafted couple portraits. We need at least an hour with you alone as a couple in order to achieve this. We prefer one or two great locations. Don’t worry – we’re fantastic at crafting unique images in a single setting. By not travelling to a bunch of locations, we save time, money, and effort. Plus, when you’re not stressed or rushed, the images are all the better for it.
To this end, consider a first look (see below) if time is an issue or if you are having your ceremony and reception in a single location.
The first look is a wonderful opportunity to have an intimate moment with your significant other, share your feelings, and dispel those nervous jitters before you share your love with your friends and family. We understand that this may go against some traditions, and the last thing we want to do is to pressure you into something that goes against your beliefs. A simple “no” and we’re behind you 100%.
That said, the first look may be the only option to have images of just the two of you. If your ceremony and reception take place at the same venue, it is unlikely that you can fit family portraits, the bridal party, and pictures of the couple all prior to the start of the reception. As well, a later ceremony in fall or winter may not allow for the natural daylight we need to produce quality images of this type.
Before you secure your church, make sure the rules for photography there are made crystal clear. Some churches don’t allow photography during the ceremony, while others force photographers to stay at the back (and we won’t be able to capture facial expressions from there). You don’t want to be surprised by rules like these. By knowing these rules, we can temper expectations and prepare as appropriate.
We love outdoor ceremonies; we aren’t limited by church rules, and we have a lot more freedom to photograph your ceremony. However, it’s important to remember the time of day impacts the kind of light we’ll be working with. The golden hour (two hours prior to sunset) is best, while a ceremony at 4PM during the summer will likely produce harsh, uneven light, stark shadows, and squinting eyes. There’s nothing we can do to change this.
Check out your ceremony location at the time you expect to be married to see what the light is like. If you’re squinting due to the glaring light, it will likely be that way on your wedding day, and it will be reflected in the photos that are taken.
Family Formal Portraits
We’ll ask for a list for family portraits, and it’s the only list we’ll ask for during that day. Make it short and sweet!
Include the groupings of family members that you want these photos of. Make sure to give these people a warning that they’ll be in the eventual photo so that they are, you know, there for the photo. It helps if someone who knows your family is there to call out names and gather them.
The best time for these photos is after the ceremony is over, since your family will already be there. Don’t forget, we’ll be taking plenty of candid images of your family throughout the day too!
A party bus or limo is fine, but we encourage couples to think beyond that. Investing in a classic car creates a great memory for you and your new husband or wife, and it creates a class of image that can’t be beat. Trust us on this one!
Lighting Your Reception
Lighting is something that many clients don’t consider until their planner or photographer mentions it. Lighting your reception room will give incredible depth and feeling to your photographs. Some colours work better than others – amber, purple, and pink are very flattering, while green, yellow, and red can do funny things skin’s appearance. It’s important to remember that we can only photograph what exists. There’s no cheating good light.
The first dance is a beautiful moment. It doesn’t have to be complicated; no need for waltzes here. A few twirls or spins are always a hit for guests, and your photos will come out looking less stiff. Just remember, it’ll be more fun – and more authentic – if you stay true to what you’re about. Some people practice to the point that they’re counting steps with lemon-faced focus. Keep it simple and loose and it’ll be sweeter and more fun for it.
No wedding is perfect; at least one thing will be off or go awry. It happens. Just go with it. Smile. Give your loved one a hug and remember, worst-case scenario, you’ll have a funny story for your kids one day. Stress is easy to see in photos, so the best possible thing you can do for your images is have a good time. Sorry, photographer’s orders!
Hope these tips help you and yours have the best day of your lives.