Planning a wedding is a daunting tasks with so many aspects to take into consideration and wedding photos is one of them. If you ever wanted to get into the fetal position due to the thought of taking photos because you feel super awkward in front of the camera – girl, I feel you!
Everyone knows the importance of taking wedding photos, but not everyone feels comfortable doing so. There are so many events happening on your wedding day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and a little bit stressed. But it doesn’t have to be.
With over the 12 years of experience in the wedding industry, I’ve developed my own tried and true steps to help my brides enjoy their wedding day and take flawless wedding photos.
(Excusez-moi while I grab the nearest mic and preach, Oprah-style…)
LISTEN UP, Y’ALL —
If you’ve ever murmured under your breath “but I don’t like taking photos”,
Felt self-conscious every time a friend pointed their iPhone at you,
Ever shouted to your pet turtle “I don’t like myself in pictures!” – This is for you!
Here we go:
1. Book your engagement session
This is a no-brainer. Your engagement session is so much more than just an added bonus to your wedding photography package. It’s a perfect opportunity to hang out with your photographer, get to know them better and get used to being in front of the camera. You will see that taking photos with your bae is actually fun!
This is also a great opportunity to get your fiance in front of the camera, too! A lot of grooms-to-be confess that they actually enjoyed taking their engagement photos even though they may have stated otherwise before the shoot. It goes to show that engagement photos are just another way to spend some quality time with your partner and take some beautiful photos to keep for your family album.
When it comes to your wedding day, you’ll already be familiar and comfortable with the photographer and it will make you feel less self-conscious throughout the day.
2. Come up with a realistic wedding photography timeline and stick to it
Sticking to strict schedules is not very romantic, but having one really helps to make sure your day goes smoothly. I usually start drafting a wedding photography timeline with my couples as early as 6 months in advance. Why? It helps us to understand how their wedding day is going to unfold and to see if there are any adjustment needed for other vendors, such as makeup artists, hair stylists, and drivers.
For example, it’s very important to coordinate the photography timeline with your makeup and hair team, so that everyone is ready to take photos when the photographer arrives at your house in the morning. Allow at least 30 minutes as a buffer time to complete your bridal look. You’ll appreciate the extra time if you need to make changes, and you’ll love the natural looking photos that come from not being rushed.
3. Keep your bridal room as tidy as possible
Speaking of getting ready photos. You spent many hours perfecting your look and it’s time to put on your stunning wedding gown. You’ll look fabulous in your perfectly tailored dress and your hotel’s master suite will be a perfect backdrop on the morning of your wedding. Now it’s time to be a bride and remove all the mundane things that tend to sneak back into your photos.
Select a designated photography room with big windows. Remove all plastic bottles, messy clothes, bags and packaging wraps. Hide your iPhones and turn off the TV. Put the curling iron, extension cords and power strips away. Call in housekeeping if you’re getting ready at a hotel. There are so many great photo opportunities while you’re getting ready, and you’ll want your room to be picture perfect.
4. Hire a wedding videographer who has worked with your photographer before
If they haven’t met, make sure to connect them before the wedding day, so they could stay on top of the photography schedule. They’ll have to work together closely throughout the day and they have to be on the same page in order to get the best possible footage without getting into each other’s way. We have worked with many amazingly talented videographers and can gladly recommend a team that is a perfect fit for your day.
5. Prepare a list of your family group photos in advance
Consider having the largest possible group shot first and break down from there. It can take up to 5 minutes or more per shot to create a family portrait you’ll want to frame, so keep that in mind when you create a list and make sure to allocate sufficient time for family portraits. Depending on the size, having at least 45 minutes to 1 hour is usually enough. Make sure that your family knows where and when we are taking your family portraits, and have someone from your side to help wrangle people in for the shot.
6. Allow at least 1 hour for your creative couple wedding photos
The best feedback I hear from my couples after they receive their wedding photos is that the time they spent taking their couple’s creative is one of the happiest highlights of the day. More often than not it comes from people who initially said they were camera shy!
Allocating at least 1 hour for your creative wedding photos not only helps your photographer take their time to create amazing photos, it’s also a great opportunity for you to enjoy some quiet time alone with your partner. Usually, your creative photos are the only time when you’re left alone with the love of your life on your wedding day. It’s a great opportunity to slow down, take flawless photos without being rushed and enjoy your newly found status as bride and groom. I find it very romantic!
7. Remember to smile!
The more your relax around us, the more natural and effortless your wedding photos will be. Joke around, have fun! It’s your wedding day and I want to document you at your happiest. No two weddings are alike and I’d love to capture what makes your day unique. Your unique personality, your quirks that made you fall for each other, your only love story that makes your wedding day yours. After all, that’s what wedding photography is all about!
This is it. These are my secret ingredients to planning your wedding photography that yield flawless photos EVERY TIME. Nobody wants to be stressed about taking photos on their best day and the only way to stay relaxed and enjoy your day comes down to being prepared and staying in the moment. You’ve done your fair share of planning and making sure every aspect of your day is picture perfect. You have your dream team to work with, so all you have to do now is to soak in every beautiful moment and radiate happiness. This the only secret to taking the most natural, flawless wedding photos.