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?”
“HAVE FUN WITH IT! Don’t stress too much about the little things. For the Engagement Session, I send a Style Guide well in advance in order for the Bride & Groom to have a few good tips for how to prepare for the exciting shoot! One of these tips includes this: On the car ride en route to the Engagement Session, turn up the music & have a jam session with you and your fiance. Your favorite music will get you excited about each other & the ready to naturally connect when you arrive and will only add to make the experience more fun.
If you hired a photographer who knows what they are doing, they will make you feel extremely comfortable and you will receive photos that capture the natural chemistry between you two. If you have looked through your photographer’s portfolio and fell in love, there is a reason for that! Trust your photographer to have a bit of artistic freedom & leave yourself no room for stress on your big day by preparing your wedding day timeline alongside the photographer and planner at least two weeks in advance. Feel free to delegate your Maid of Honor or one of your bridesmaids to be in charge of gathering all of the detail items the photographer will need immediately after arriving to the venue. Important detail items to include are your bouquet, rings, wedding shoes, jewelry, trinkets, good luck symbols, perfume, lipstick and invitation set. Also, be sure to let your photographer know if you have Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed & Something Blue. Or anything specifically special to you, like a cut out swatch of your grandmother’s wedding gown sewn on the underside of your dress. These are key things that make your day special & you absolutely want photos of these!
Pro Tip: Have someone who has pretty handwriting or knows calligraphy to write your home address on the envelope of the invitation suite. Place wedding color coordinating stamps on the front. Once the photographer is finished photographing the entire invitation suite, mail it off the very same day. You will receive your invitation later in the week with your wedding date as the postmarked date at the top.”
-Lyndsay Lyon, Owner, Lyndsay Lyon Photography
To have a camera with you at all times, be it a point and shoot, DSLR or a cell phone, just something to capture the once in a lifetime events. You will want to capture images of dress shopping, showers, parties, etc. One suggestion is to assign the photo duties to one of the bridesmaids who will do it, or a family member that might be involved in all the festivities and handy with a camera. It doesn’t have to be award winning, just something that will tell the story. You want to look for a beginning, a middle, and an end to the story of each event. Don’t forget pictures of the invitation, the hosts, gifts, group shots, etc. You can also hire a photographer, your wedding photographer, if they offer it, or another one that will work events. Having a professional photographer at the event relieves a lot of pressure from someone that might get side tracked doing other things and then they forget to get that important toasting shot, or a picture of the cake before it’s cut. A pro has only one thing in mind and that is to capture the essence of that event, not to mention having the right equipment handy. It’s worth the cost of a photographer to get the important shots. All of these occasions are very important to include in the wedding album.
-Kay Wilson, Owner, Kay Wilson Photography
Weddings are so fun and full of special moments. I think perfectly put together timeline is crucial for your wedding day success. I would highly recommend to consult with your photographer about your wedding timeline. And please, do it way in advance and not a few weeks before the wedding. Photographer can help to bring some special insights to your timeline based on lighting situation and dynamic of the day. But mostly important, enjoy your wedding! It will go by so fast. That’s another great reason to trust professionals to give you the best wedding experience.
-Anastasia Strate, Owner, Anastasia Strate Photography
It is a good idea to know whether you like posed photos, natural candids, or a mix of both. Some couples hate being posed and others want lots of direction and for the photographer to come up with ideas for shots. Knowing where you land is the first step in finding the right photographer. Once you find a photographer you love, let them do their thing. I try to offer a mix of both in my work. I love candids but if nothing is going on then I usually step in and create shots for my clients.
-Matt Montalvo, Owner, Matt Montalvo Photography
We encourage our clients to remember the importance of working together as a team when handling stressful family situations that may arise. The key to being successful when potential issues arise is communication. If the Bride and Groom are not on the same page, it’s an issue waiting to happen. We have meetings with our clients and help address these potential issues prior to diving into wedding plans. We’ve all heard it, communication is key!
The best advice I can give to a couple is to enjoy the journey. If at the end of the day you are with the one you love, that is all that matters. Couples get overwhelmed with silly things that will not matter after they are married. Focus on your journey and enjoy the small moments that lead up to the big day. It goes by fast so take it all in, each and every precious moment.
The most important thing couples should remember is that their wedding day is an opportunity to reflect who they are as a couple! They shouldn’t worry about making their day fit tradition or the expectations of others. If they make the day authentically theirs, they’ll be having fun and can’t help but look great in their photos! While American weddings tend to focus on the bride, I love couples who really share the day and make it a unique celebration of both of them! Other practical tips: 1. don’t spray tan before your wedding, and tell your bridesmaids not to either. Trust me, you don’t want to look like an oompa loompa in your photos 2. don’t think about the camera or worry about being awkward – focus on having fun and I promise you’ll look good! 3. lighting is key! spaces with lots of natural light make for the best images in the day, and beautiful lighting like string lights and candles are great for evening photos. It’s also really important to talk with your photographer before planning your wedding day timeline so that you can get couples photos at the best light of the day!
Brides, have an honest conversation with your hair and makeup vendors about how long they expect their part of the day to take. Let them know how long they have to work and insist that they stick within that time frame. Without a doubt, the most common reason weddings get behind schedule is because hair and makeup took longer than expected. This makes it difficult for you to get all of the pictures you need before the ceremony…which means you have to spend more time after the ceremony taking pictures. That leaves less time for you to spend with your friends and family.
-Tony Smith, Smith Photography
Stay flexible – Many times brides get fixated on the “perfect” wedding and will lose sight of all the good, once something disappoints. Rigidity can cause disappointment so stay flexible on the BIG DAY!
Be practical – In the age of Pinterest, it can be easy to want all the cute shots photographed. But, unless you are willing to set aside an extra couple of hours of shoot time, don’t send your photographer 50 Pinterest ideas and expect them all to be done. Pick your favorite 5 and share them with the understanding that time is never on your side on your wedding day. Time will definitely fly by!
Don’t be strangers – Meet your photographer ahead of time to get comfortable. Engagement shoots are the best; they give you great photos and the bonus of getting to know your photographer on a personal level.
Get help – A great wedding planner is worth their weight in gold. But if the budget doesn’t allow, ask a friend or relative to be one for the day. Find the most assertive and best problem solver to be the line of defense for you to enjoy your day. If they do their job well, you’ll never know about the problem.
Just dance – Mostly for the grooms……there are many that “don’t dance” but take a moment to dance with your new bride during the reception. These are moments you can never redo and they make for great shots for the photographer!
Eat and drink – Many brides are guilty of this one. Don’t forget to eat and drink (water) before and during your wedding. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the fun and details, but this can lead to problems much later…..ESPECIALLY in the Texas heat. Having almost had a bride pass out from dehydration, take this one seriously.
Create and Share – Create and share your timeline with your photographer. Times will always be adjusted slightly, but this allows the photographer to have a road map for the day. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
End Goal – Never lose sight of the goal of the day. HAVE FUN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY. Something will go wrong, or not as planned, but the ones that enjoy their day the most are the ones that didn’t allow the shortfall to ruin the day. Wrong color flowers, seating mix-ups and the ring bearer’s forgotten shoes won’t make or break any wedding so don’t let it break yours. (I’ve seen all three at weddings!)
-Joe Contreras, M2R Photography
Definitely focus on each other and on having a great time together. Be comfortable: get and keep hydrated, wear what makes you feel good, focus on your significant other. Being relaxed and enjoying yourselves makes a huge impact and makes for great photographs.
-Mercedes Morgan, Owner, Mercedes Morgan Photography
This once in a lifetime event and you should trust your photographer whole heartedly! In our business’s case we don’t try and be a wedding vendor instead we try to be an extension of the wedding party itself! If you want authentic, real and emotional photos and the only way to get those is to have that trusting relationship where you aren’t worried about what we are doing but focused on marrying your best friend.
The best advice I can give is to let your photographer have first-rights on input when you’re building the timeline. Often, I’m not consulted and photography gets all messed up on the day. And then the whole timeline has to be rebuilt anyway. But if you’re paying good money for photography, why would you want only fifteen minutes of rushed portraits??”
When you book your wedding photographer, I highly recommend doing an engagement session! You’ll be able to get to know your photographer, become comfortable in front of their camera, and learn what poses work best for you as a couple. Then, on your wedding day, you are already comfortable and can just enjoy posing away like you have before!
Consider all advice from your photographer in planning your timeline! While some of the more traditional couples do not wish to have a First Look, at least read about it to see if it works for you. Whether you have a First Look or not, carefully plan your timeline with your photographer so that you have enough time to take photos together!
If you book a cool, vintage getaway car from Austin Party Ride, I recommend having it at your venue while the sun is still out! It is so fun to have natural light to take pictures of you and your spouse with the car!
-Angela King, Owner, Angela King Photo
My best answer to this question is to find a photographer who you can see yourself being friends with. As a wedding photographer I essentially spend the whole day third wheeling. You want a photographer who can create authentic moments instead of just being a “pro.”
-Nikkolas Nguyen, Owner, Nikk Nguyen Photo
Ignore your photographer!!!! Of course they’ll ask you to look at the camera and smile a couple times, but for the most part, just engage with your counterpart. Spin, life, kiss, jump, make silly faces or just hug. Then high-five, click your heels and spin again. And gaze deep into each others eyes until you crack. This will be you favorite picture.
Compiled by Austin Party Ride