Photographer Pointers for Weddings
Decoration and Pre-Wedding
Any type of paper or plastic runners down the aisle can be an elegant way to highlight the area, however, they can make the trip to the alter slippery and sometimes even dangerous. Instead of looking up at the camera, many are too focused on not falling and are looking down at their feet. There are many alternatives to the material runners, instead consider:
- Flower petals
- Candles lining the outside
- Flower pots filled with your choice of flower arrangements
- Sting lights on either side of the aisle
- Mason jars containing either closers or candles/tea lights
- Rustic Wood outlining your path
- Signs with cute sayings, dates, or even facts about the couple
- Photos of the couple hanging from the chair on the end closest to the aisle
- There are many alternatives, be creative, and explore online!
Don’t forget about the entrance to the ceremony or reception venue, include directions and signage to each area. First impressions are everything and with a personalized entryway the venue can give off the mood of the wedding right-away.
Remember the lighting when you are picking a venue, it can flatter any space and enhance the quality of the photos!
Create a timeline of your relationship on a chalkboard. Our love story…with dates starting from the first time you met, the first date, the first kiss, when someone popped the question, and include a “Finally!” with the date of the wedding.
Carve your initials into branches surrounded by a heart or with special dates to include in flower centerpieces.
As a substitute to the dollar dance, consider instead a decorated mason jar or vase labeled “Honeymoon Jar” at each table.
Worried about your family getting in order for the big group shot? Consider nominating a family member or even a member of the Wedding Party as the “official family photo coordinator”. You can use them as the advocate for getting the family members needed for each shot.
Afraid of ruining your heels at an outdoors wedding? Don’t go straight to the flats, look in to buying high heel savers or high heel stoppers that prevent the heels from sinking in the grass or getting caught in decking.
Keep a “crap corner” in the room while the bridal party is getting ready, this way all of the clutter is out of the way while the photographer is taking shots of the preparation stage.
Personally, I suggest a matte foundation for the brides on their big days. It eliminates the shine in the photos and makes editing a breeze.
Prepare with a bridal emergency kit to keep on hand, include items such as:
- Emery board
- Dental floss
- Advil/ stomach medicine
- Feminine products
- Straws (So you don’t mess up any lipstick)
- Breath freshener/ mints
- Clear deodorant
- Contact lens fluid/ eye drops
- Stain remover and white cloth
- Sewing kit, scissors, and safety pins
- Bobby pins and hairspray
- White chalk (hides stains on wedding gowns, such as grass, dirt, and any possible spills)
- Oil dabbing strips (always handed to get rid of unwanted shine and especially for hot summer weddings)
Bring a non-plastic hanger for the dress shot.
A hectic day can lead to things being left behind, before the big day make sure to remember these often forgotten things:
- Number one most forgotten item: Pins for boutonnieres!
- Marriage license
- Wedding guest favors
- -Guestbook or other interactive keepsakes
- Cake knife
- Toasting flutes
- Thank you notes (Wait until after the wedding to use one from the formal shots!)
Guest books are a great reminder of who participates and witnessed the wonderful day. Explore a decorative jar for personal messages, maybe even an old-fashioned typewriter you find at a yard sale, a picture with a border for guests to sign, and maybe even good luck wishes on the back of puzzle pieces (as an extra the puzzle can be a picture from the engagement shoot of the couple).
Investigate the “Date Night Jar” as another choice for wedding guest goers to participate in. Each person can write a date idea on a popsicle stick to place in the jar. “Date Jar share your best date idea for the New Couple”
Consider a First Look:
What is a first look? It is the moment before the ceremony in which the couple see each other in private for the first time. It is becoming more common and is a great way to get out the jitters of the wedding and spend a few minutes alone together. First look photos with the big reveals of the couple opening their eyes to see each other for the first time shows the true emotion of the event. A lot of the time the person standing at the alter waiting feels the pressure of knowing all eyes will be on them as soon as their significant other walks into view. It is a special moment between the couple to slow down before they exchange their vows. Getting these formal shots done before the wedding gives the couple the whole cocktail hour to enjoy and interact with family without having to worry about being rushed away for their photos. The tradition of waiting until that special moment at the ceremony or having a first look is completely up to the couple. Choose what you are most comfortable with.
Wedding and Reception
Personally, I think receiving lines are not the best way to greet your guests. It is not personal and you can only get a few words and a greeting in before it is the next guest's turn. The pictures are often as rushed as the conversation. A better solution is to travel around to the tables at your reception, this way you get a chance to have personal conversations with your guests. Not only is this the best way for each guest to see the couple, but this gives the photographer better intimate photos of the couple with their guests.
Don’t want to save that bottle of wine for the 10th anniversary? Instead put love notes to each other in the bottle and seal it closed. Also consider a number of empty bottles to have family and loved ones put in notes to be opened after certain years of marriage.
Want a different spin on some of the post-ceremony photos? Props are a fun way to add some originality and character of each couple into a shot, explore ideas such as:
- Include pictures of your parents on their wedding day
- Simple Signs with dates, sayings, or message to your wedding guests for later.
- Vintage Chair or even one with a pop of color
- Objects from shared hobbies
- There are any options out there, research and consider if props are right for you and your significant other.
Walking down the aisle, think about your bouquet placement, keep the bouquet at belly button height, you don’t want to block the photographer’s view of your beautiful dress!
Sparkler send offs can be a lot safer for the environment (and the couple) rather than rice or other objects. Or end with a bang and shoot off fireworks. Also consider flower pedals and colored pom-poms, maybe even some that match the wedding colors.
With all the hustle and bustle from the ceremony, reception, greeting the guests, as well as party antics the couple might not get tons of time to sit for some relaxing eating time. Prepare couple to-go boxes for after the reception.
Tips for Posing for Wedding Photos:
- Be Yourself: You want your photos to reflect your personality and portray your best self.
- Relax: It is important to feel comfortable and natural in any setting.
- Laugh: Have fun and remember what is most important!
- Forget the camera: Live in the moment with your new life partner.
- Have an engagement sessions: This way you can get more comfortable with your photographer. Client and photographer relationships formed here will make the big day more relaxing knowing who you are working with.
- Don’t be afraid to practice: Look in the mirror figure out what smile and angle you like the best.
- Love yourself: Every single bride is beautiful (and groom is handsome) on their wedding day. Confidence translates well through the camera! Be happy!
Most importantly, remember what your big day is all about. Your wedding is the first day of your life together as a couple. It does not matter how your ceremony goes at the end of the day you will be married and that is all that matters. As long as you and your partner soak in the day and have your memories that will last, that is all that matters.