Six ways to help your photographer achieve perfect wedding photos
I absolutely LOVE it when couples ask for my opinion on their wedding details because I always have the end product in mind–their wedding photos. And by giving my input, I know that I can help these couples do the necessary things to ensure that they will get great photos on their wedding day. Here are six ways that I have come up with to help your wedding photographer achieve perfect wedding photos for you:
- Location, location, location: It really is all about the location. Choosing a location (church or reception venue) where there is a lot of natural light makes a HUGE difference in how your photos will turn out. They will look so much more natural if the photographer can rely mostly on available light. If you are choosing an outdoor location for photos, make sure it has sufficient shade in case it’s a very sunny day to avoid harsh light and people squinting in the photos. Also make sure you have a backup plan for family and wedding party photography in case it rains.
- Wedding day schedule: Plan your wedding day schedule in order to have more than enough time for formal photography. Ideally, you will need a minimum of 2-4 hours to shoot all of your family portraits, wedding party portraits and those special portraits of just the bride and groom. Keep in mind, the 2-4 hours is not including travel time, just the shooting time. Too many brides and grooms make the mistake of having the ceremony finish and thinking that they have 1.5 hours between when the ceremony finishes and their reception begins. Generally, the bride and groom will be busy right after the ceremony for the next 30 minutes with friends and family wanting to congratulate them, so those 30 minutes are already eating into your formal photography time—not to mention the travel time to the various locations for pictures and then finally to get to the reception.
- Timing: Keep in mind the time of day you’ll be taking your formal photos. The harshest kind of light falls between 11:30 am-4:30 pm. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking to shoot your wedding photos from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm. If you want to be squinting in your shots, be sweating in your fancy clothes, by all means plan your formal photography time during that time. But if you want nicer photos and be more comfortable during your photo shoot, choose later on in the afternoon to do your formal portraits (the time will vary according to what time of year you are getting married). If you honestly cannot change the time that you are getting married, make sure to pick a location that offers open shade for anything that you are doing outside. If your wedding is outside, make sure that where you are getting married will be under the shade during your ceremony. If you are getting married under trees, please also be aware that there could possibly be a speckle effect, which is when the sunlight is still coming through the leaves and adding bright dots of sunlight on you or your wedding party, which looks very strange in photos. See point #1 for your portrait photography.
- The power of powder: Digital photography is not very forgiving of any kind of shine—whether it be a person’s face or a man’s bald head. These shiny parts do not print well in photos. To avoid this, make sure to bring face powder for touch ups throughout the day to keep the shine factor down as well as minimize sweat (even on bald heads!). You can also use talc powder for bald heads. Trust me, your wedding photographer will be so thankful that you kept your shiny parts matte.
- Practice Posing and Smiling: A lot of people do not feel comfortable in front of a camera. However, on your wedding day you will be in front of the lens. It’s great to get a photographer who specializes in photo journalistic photos. However, for those formal shots (the ones for mom, dad and the grandparents), it’s important to practice your smile so that you don’t look stiff and awkward. This is also why it is a great idea to have your wedding photographer do an engagement portrait session so that you can practice posing, you and your photographer will get to know each other better so that it is not so awkward on the wedding day and also so that your wedding photographer will have a better sense of what they need to do with you in order to get the best shots possible.
- Make a List: Make a list of all of the family photo groupings that you would like taken on your wedding day. Make sure to have a few copies of the list and also make sure that whoever has the list knows most of the people who will be in the shots. I find that when there is a list of group shots that not only does it make the group shots go faster, but it also ensures that you will not miss any important people in your formal portraits. I started having my brides and grooms do this after I was a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding and they sent her brother off to do an errand during the formal portrait time and he was not in one single professional portrait. How sad is that? Luckily I had my own camera and took some formal photos of him in his nice tuxedo or else they wouldn’t have any professional portraits of him on her wedding day.
I hope that these six tips that I have given will help you to help your photographer achieve perfect wedding photos on your special day.