guide to amazing wedding photos
Do whatever you want - it’s your day. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing. There’s a bunch of tips in here, some big and some small, that I think will help people get awesome photos on their day. The most important tip however is you should do whatever you want!
You don’t have to cut the cake. You don’t have to have a white dress. You don’t have to have a first dance. You don’t have to wear shoes. You don’t have to have an unplugged ceremony. But if you want to do all of these things because you want to, then go for it!
Most people, by definition, are rookies when it comes to planning their wedding day. Timing is super important for a whole bunch of reasons. The better planned you are the less stressed you will be, the more fun you will have and the more time you will give yourself for those beautiful, messy, emotional, drunken, heartfelt, insert-adjective-here moments that are what its all about. (and your photographer will be stoked) These are the parts I love to capture and giving your photographer time to witness these is essential. So I've put together a few helpful tips to get the most out of the day and out of your photographer.
All of these are designed around, to be honest, creating the space and mindset for epic moments to happen, both for their own sake (obviously) and so they can be captured for posterity.
1st hot tip - Plan in as much buffer time throughout the day as you can. This way if something runs late - which it inevitably does - you don't have to worry, your friend who you love to death, but is a bit of a stress head won't start reminding you of the time every 10 minutes and everyone will be much more relaxed. Plus, if nothing runs late you get more time to hang out with your mates / family or have a few sneaky vinos / beers / gins with your closest before the reception. Win win
Just do your thing and let shit happen. The last thing you need to do here is worry about photos. This can be a slow going time for photographers, so if I need anything in particular I will definitely let you know - but otherwise just be excited for all the awesome stuff you have coming up for the rest of the day!
Crank some music. It helps with the mood, it is a day for partying after all.
When people think of "getting ready" photos, they typically think of cufflinks getting put on and close up shots of rings. That's not at all what it's about (for me at least). I love capturing the quieter, often unseen moments that happen this time of day.
Your photographer has hopefully met the two of you before, but this is most likely the first time they'll be meeting your family and close friends. Personally, I like to use this time to get to know everyone so they are at ease around me throughout the day. More importantly to watch and observe everyone interacting so I can get a feel for which relationships are particularly important to you. This way I know who to keep a close eye on later in the day.
The makeup artist will usually pick a good spot, in some good light for that part of the getting ready. For the rest of it, window / natural light is beautiful light and much better than having the lights on.
I also always suggest to tell you HMU artist that you need to be completely ready at least 45 minutes before you need to walk out the door. That way you have plenty of time to get dressed and ready exactly the way you want to be. There are also plenty of beautiful scenes as emotions run high between you and your parents/ friends when they see you all set to go for the first time. I also love taking just 5 to 10 minutes here for some portraits too.
Also if you’re not going to get ready at your home, always go AirBnb over a hotel. There’s generally much more space with beautiful light and often cheaper too.
Keep in mind you’ll possibly be running a little late to the ceremony venue. Also if you want a confetti exit, make sure to tell the celebrant to remind everyone as you are signing the registry (and to tell everyone to throw it up over your heads and not into your face).
Unplugged ceremonies are great too! You don’t walk down the aisle to a sea of phones and most importantly for you and I, everyone is present and actually watching you guys get married. This allows me to get rad images of your guests smiling, crying and enjoying the moment.
Immediately after the ceremony, literally every single person at the wedding is going to want to come up and give you a big hug and say congrats - This is actually one of my favourite parts of the day, but when planning just remember if you have 100+ guests this can take 20 minutes.
You probably don’t want to do family photos, but they’re a necessary evil and these photos you and your family will love down the track.
Not all photographers will agree, but it’s great if you make a list of the family / group photos that you want. It means less stress at the time trying to make sure you’ve covered everyone important to you.
Don’t give that list to your photographer, as they don’t know who anyone is. Give it to a family member or bridesmaid / groomsman (what else are they there for?) who can quickly round up the needed people.
Each combo generally only requires a couple of minutes max, but if you allow around 30 minutes in your timeline for family photos you’ll get through them easy and time for a few that you probably forgot about.
Usually the combos are with both of you. Start with one set of parents, add in siblings, add in grandparents, add in extended family; then same again on the other side. This isn’t a limit obviously, it’s just a good starting point.
Friends and bridal party photos are good to do at the end of the family photos as they’re more fun and then the family members don’t have to hang around unnecessarily.
The important bit! Not just for the photos, but its also the part of the day where you don’t have to entertain anyone, you don’t answer to anyone and you get to go and chill out and celebrate that you just got married! At least 30 minutes of actual shooting time is recommended and around sunset is ideal and when the amazing light happens.
Some practical tips - Mix it up! Hug and squeeze and make fun of each other. Think about how awesome everything is in that moment!
Get right into each others grills, feel free to make out, hug and do your thing. When walking around hold hands, link arms, just relax and breathe. It will all be over far too quickly. The best thing is that there’s nothing you can do that is wrong!
Having stuff to do at the reception will lead to better guest photos. This could be games on the grass, photo booths etc. Whatever works for you guys.
The more light the better. It’s not necessary to flood the place with light, but some festoon lighting around the place to brighten it up definitely leads to better photos.
If you’re not having a first dance, but want the dance floor pumping, definitely recommend having something to make people get on the dance floor. Maybe the bouquet toss or physically dragging people on there.
Now onto the most important point. Play some epic music! You know your crowd and the songs that will make them go crazy (or make them fill lout requests as part of their RSVP’s).
A dance floor going crazy makes for the best photos of you and your friends, plus you deserve to unwind after such a big day.
If you’re going to get a videographer maybe check in with your photographer first to see if they’ve got any recommendations, or at least make sure you’re getting someone with the same style.
These are all general tips and won’t be applicable to each and every wedding. Have a chat to your photographer about making the best plan for your day, or get in touch with me here.
If you have any questions feel free to ask away!