Updated: Jul 6, 2022
As a traveling wedding photographer who has been to hundreds of weddings, I have learned a trick or two on how to improve your photos. There are definitely things that you can do as a bride/groom to improve the overall look of your wedding. I am here to spill the tea! After all, your wedding photos are my wedding photos and I want them to be SPECTACULAR, as I am sure you do as well! A little teamwork makes the dream work, as I like to say—I said that once.
Tips & advice for each part of your wedding day timeline:
Overall Wedding Advice.
It’s wonderful to be emotional—don’t look away!
Note that make-up photographs lighter on camera. If you intend to schedule a Boudoir Session, plan it on the same day as your hair & make-up trial run. It's a great way to test your look and get comfortable in front of the camera at the same time.
First Look’s can be created for any of the special people in your life.
Trust your photographer’s vision. We are great at what we do!
Pick a location that is bright—light is a photographer’s best friend!
Pick a location with a tall aesthetically pleasing mirror–great shot!
Delegate bridesmaids to tidy up & hide things away. Clutter = BAD ;)
Matching robes look super classy.
Bring champagne to spray in your robes! Makes a great shot!
Consider adding a 45min Boudoir Shoot to your timeline directly after hair and makeup! Makes amazing gifts ;)
Get a custom hanger for your dress photos–they are cheap & really class up your dress images.
Have a little girl in your life? Photograph them with your wedding dress. It makes a sentimental gift for their future wedding.
Have your box of detail shots ready to go for your photographer. Include the following items: ☐ All Rings & Boxes ☐ His: Shoes, Tie, Cufflinks, Calonge, Vows ☐ Her: Shoes, Veil, Accessories, Perfume, Vows ☐ All Stationary: Invites, Save-the-Dates, etc. ☐ 1 or 2 additional flowers (Specifically for Photos) ☐ Any other special items you would like photographed
Pick a location that is bright—again, light is a photographer’s best friend! Look for either outdoor spaces or big windows.
Be aware that some locations prohibit flash or have photographer restrictions. Please let us know if this is true for your location.
Consider a reverse first kiss (shown below) with your guests in the background. Let your photographer know during planning your “must have shots” list if you prefer this angle.
If not a reverse first kiss, please ask your officiant to step out of the way before the first kiss to prevent this from happening.
Better yet, have your officiant stand in the middle of the isle (half-way down.) This allows you to face your audience. Makes way better photos!
Kiss longer than 3 seconds. Don’t be afraid to move for more variety in the series. Examples: hug, dip, pick her up, etc.
When you are announced formally, CELEBRATE! This is the moment everyone has been anticipating… Throw your hand ups, kiss again, spin her around… do something cinematic! I can’t tell you how many times the couple just walks away and misses out on arguably the best photo at your entire wedding.
Stop at the end of your guests during the recession and kiss 1 last time while all your guests are looking at you. Great Shot!
Have family formals directly after the ceremony on your timeline. This will likely be the only time all these people are in one spot and sober enough to participate in photos.
Be sure your friends and family know where to be beforehand.
Assign someone to assist in roll call—a sister, bridesmaid, or close friend. Unfortunately, I don’t know your families very well and need someone to help get the next group ready to rock. The faster this part goes, the better.
Sometimes the altar isn’t the best place for family portraits due to poor lighting. Have a close outdoor location in mind as well–shade is preferable. Example: Church Steps, Garden, etc.
We will create a list of must-have portraits in our preparation meeting. Start thinking about what groups of people you’d like captured.
Please inform me of any sensitive situations within the groups being photographed. I’d like to avoid awkward placement in your final images.
Place questionable people as bookends in family portraits–just in case someone needs to be photoshopped out… We have a plan in place ;)
Ask your parents what groups they’d like captured—this is a special day for them too!
Have chairs for older family members with mobility restrictions, especially if they are in more than 1 shot. We can get all their shots done at one time to make it easier on them, as well as speed things up a bit.
Have fun with it! Play music & have drinks in between frames. Everyone will be happier for photos if they are enjoying themselves.
Consider a champagne spray with flutes. This is an amazing shot!
Sneak away with your photographer for more intimate shots.
Split portraits into 2 smaller shoots throughout the day for more variety & give yourself time for a break. One after the Bridal Party Photos and one during sunset (golden hour).
Buy a veil for photos even if you don’t intend to wear it. It is used to create dreamy bridal shots.
Tell your bridal party to pose for the camera—people never know if they should look at the camera or not. This is one of those moments.
Make sure your photographer knows the route & is there before you begin.
Be extra & have fun with it!
Consider having a private dinner. This has nothing to do with photos, I just think it is the best advice—bride to bride. Everyone will want your attention for obvious reasons. Most couples are lucky to even eat at their wedding. Take some time to sneak away as newlyweds and enjoy some privacy while you eat a more relaxed dinner. By the time you finish people will likely have just been plated themselves, so you don’t even miss anything. Win-Win.
Don’t forget to feed your vendors and have a place for them to sit.
Cut your cake near a window or in a bright space for better photos.
Rent our photo station! They are so fun & give your guests the ability to capture their own special memories at your wedding.
The Bride & Groom should hit the dance floor with their bridal party directly after the first dances. This allows the photographer to capture everyone dancing right away before people wander off.
Do one! Even if you fake it during the reception to be within your vendor’s scheduled hours. They are the best photo opportunity! Examples: sparklers, car send off, guest tunnel, fireworks, confetti, etc.
Not all this advice is practical for every wedding—but this is generally my best advice if you want to elevate your wedding photos to the next level! I am here to help you create these memories, let’s chat about it more on our next call.