Photography Tips for Brides

You’ve planned an AMAZING wedding! You’ve also hired a wedding photographer that does exceptional work and is so enjoyable to work with. Now what? As the bride and groom, there are so many little things you can do to help ensure you get the MOST OUTSTANDING wedding album. I have so many tips swimming around in my head on this subject alone, but I’ll start with these twenty. Enjoy!

BEFORE THE DATE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

1. Engagement Practice

Have your wedding photographer also shoot your engagement session. This way, you can get to know each other and be a lot more relaxed during your wedding day session.

2. Hire a MUA and have them also do your makeup for the Engagement Session

Same reason as above. Practice makes perfect.

3. Have your hair professional style your hair away from your face

It’s so tempting to style your hair down for the wedding. It’s a great thought, but often it can cause you to perspire MORE during the warm months and have wild-blown do during the winter months. Consider having your hair done up. Your hairstyle is especially important for action shots like your first dance and cake cutting where the hair can get in the way of your face in your pictures. If you don’t want your hair all the way up, consider doing a loose half-up style. Or have a bridesmaid have a hair tie handy for some action-based wedding activities.

4. Hire Vendors with WEDDING Experience

Everyone has a friend or an uncle that owns a nice camera and does photography as a hobby. And it’s so easy to get an inexpensive photographer from a job board that only costs $500 for an entire day. Weddings are a very specific genre of events and unless you hire someone with experience, there’s no real guarantee that you’re going to get your money’s worth. No one wants to deal with a MUA who shows up an hour late,  a photographer that runs out of space on her SD card, or a DJ that has trouble spitting out “Now introducing for the first time this evening, “Mr. and Mrs. Vase-kwez!” (…Vasquez = ‘VAS-kez’) Trust me, from a photographer’s standpoint …and from personal experience… Pay the extra money and hire professionals.  You’ll be able to enjoy your day a lot better knowing that you’re taken care of by people you can trust to do their jobs.

5. Make a Wedding Vision Board

To help your photographer get a better feel for how your wedding is going to be like before the event is a great advantage to them, artistically. Put together a group of photos that best embodies the mood, colors, and look for your wedding. It doesn’t hurt to include wedding photos you love. (Experienced photographers usually won’t copy other photo poses exactly, but they’ll use those ideas to drive their own creativity and style while working with you.) Most brides use Pintrest.

6. Have an Unplugged Ceremony

The worst thing ever is to have a shot of the moment you have your first kiss and someone’s hand and phone in the way of the professional’s PoV. As much miracle work photographers can produce, we’re not immune to some last minute debacles. Have someone announce before your ceremony that your request is to have everyone put away their picture devices during the ceremony and that you’ve hired professional photographers and videographers to document your nuptials. Have this be the only part of your day that is paparazzi-free. Everyone in the room will feel the moment become so much more exclusive.

7. Make a Photo List. Check It Twice.

Usually, you only get an hour for photography time between the ceremony and reception. To help keep things running along, make a list of photo family combinations you’d like to have taken immediately after the ceremony. Share that list with your photographer, extra credit points if it’s before the day of.  (That way, the photographer can better coordinate time.) Then assign someone in your wedding party to make sure those people are present during photo time and not off to the reception. A couple things to keep in mind: A shorter list, the more time you’ll have to take photos with the wedding party and your new spouse. The longer the list, the less time you’ll have.  Sometimes, brides and grooms will opt to coordinate group photos with their distant relatives during the reception to make sure time isn’t soaked up during their photo hour.

8. Golden Hour

The best time to take outdoor wedding photos is during Golden Hour, an hour before sunset. If you can, plan your ceremony right 2 hours before sunset. The worst outside lighting time is between 12p and 2p during the summer months.

9. Pocket Squares

Real Talk: Have your groom train his groomsmen on how to tie their ties, or how to fold their pocket squares prior to the day of the wedding. I know this sounds ridiculous, but this is totally a thing. There were at least 3 weddings last season where I witnessed groomsmen stress over how to fold a pocket square for at least an hour. Bonus points if someone on the Bro Squad learns how to pin boutonnieres.  You’re welcome.

10. Vases

Buy vases to put bouquets in the bridal suite as well as on the reception tables. They’re much better on the eyes and in pictures than the cardboard boxes they come in from the florist.

THE DAY OF PHOTO TIPS

1. Stay On Schedule

It’s super easy to convince yourself that this doesn’t matter at all. And you’re right, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. The more you stay on time, the more relaxed you’ll be.  The more relaxed you are, the more fun you’ll have. The more fun you have, the better your memories captured in photos will be.

2. Clear The Clutter

It’s so easy to let the clutter build up in the bridal suite! To maximize the time allotted for your photographer, make sure to clear extra bags, trash, food, jewelry, makeup, etc off of chairs, beds, and nightstands. Chances are, a lot of “getting ready” photos will be around these areas, and sometimes it’s difficult to cut out the clutter from the shot. Extra points if you decided to have small storage baskets ready for each bridesmaids’ belongings.

3. Natural Light is AWESOME!

If your bridal suite has tons of windows, open them! The natural light that’s spilling into a room is much more appealing in photos than the yellow light cast by fluorescent bulbs.

4. Photo Hour

Immediately after the ceremony, it’s super easy to get caught up with guests. Everyone will want to congratulate the bride and groom, take selfies with you, etc. Unfortunately, this cuts into the quality time spent with your photographer to create beautiful portraits of you and the bridal party. (I’ve had a couple of brides have this as their event regret!) Politely excuse yourself and promise that you’ll spend some time with your guests at the reception.

5. Bride Portrait Helper

Ask one of your bridesmaids come with you and your photographer while you’re doing your bridal portraits. She can help straighten your train, fix your hair, etc. Have her bring along your lipstick, some pins, water, snacks, and other accessories just in case any of it is needed.

6. Cheers!

If you’re the drinking type, have your wedding party pack some boozy treasures to bring with them during photography hour. It’ll help loosen them up during your private time with your photographer.

7. Visit the Dark Side

The natural bride look is super common when thinking about what to do with makeup.  With that said, makeup is often times washed out of photos by natural lighting.  If you’re doing your own makeup, go a little darker in the eyes, lips, and contour.  If you hired a Makeup Artist, you’re already a step ahead of the game! Your MUA usually already does this (because they know the principle), but it never hurts to flex your photo knowledge and talk to them about it.

8. Visit The Photo Booth

Hire a photo booth vendor and make sure to use it with your friends and family! It’s one thing to have formal photos or informal selfies with your friends and family, but it’s another to show off how much you have fun with them. Here’s a great photo booth vendor. This is also a great way to make up for the time you were hiding from your guests during the photo hour before your reception. Have fun and be goofy with your guests!

photo booth image

9. Group Photo

If you can, have your photographer and DJ coordinate an impromptu group photo with everyone that’s at your reception on the dance floor.  You’ll be glad that you have this in your album later on.

macedo group shot

10. Relax and HAVE FUN!

You didn’t put in all of the work to be stressed out. It’s your wedding, after all. If a decoration or outfit detail doesn’t work out, put it out of your mind. In the end, none of the details matters. No one wants you to look like a Sad Panda in most of the candid shots. Enjoy your day! 🙂