Thank you for sending me all that information. I really appreciate it. :) I wanted to leave you with a few final notes (feel free to copy these, or bookmark this page for later reference).
Helpful Tips You Should Absolutely Not Skip Reading!!
First things first: thank you. Thank you for entrusting me with your most precious memories, it is a deep honor. I vow to do my absolute best for you on your wedding day, and invite you to reach out to me if you have any questions, even if you feel like they are “dumb”.
I put together this guide so you can know what to expect from me, as well as to offer you helpful tips to give you the best wedding photos possible. Please take the time to read it, this will make everything run so much more smoothly.
Tips for Getting the Best Wedding Photos…
…While You’re Getting Ready.
Make sure there is natural light in the room (window light), as this makes the biggest difference in your photos. I will move things around if I have the time to, in order to make sure you stand in a beautifully lit spot when your dress goes on. This might feel like “overkill” on the day, but it won’t when you see the final result.
Please have all your details together in a box or bag before I arrive. (jewelry, rings, shoes, veil, program, invitation, etc). This will make the detail shots more efficient if they are important to you. This also makes your day run more smoothly, because you’ll already know where your things are. Please have two perfect copies of your invites together for me if you want them photographed.
Keep the area near the window free of “stuff”. Snack bags, tampon boxes, and sticks of deodorant are the worst offenders because they’re so bright and distracting (not to mention awkward to put in your album.)
Allow more time than you think you need to get ready. It’s better to be safe than rushed. The worst case scenario is that you’re all dressed and ready and still have a few minutes before you have to leave for your first look or walk down the aisle and you have time to sit calmly and relax. That’s a pretty good worst case.
…During the Ceremony.
This is the part of the wedding I am most “hands off”. You’re doing something way, way more important than making beautiful photos, and I’m not going to ruin the sanctity of the moment with unnecessary fuss. Still, it will make my job easier if you can keep the following in mind:
If you can have a well lit ceremony area, please do. Both harsh light (in the middle of a beach at noon with no shade) and darkness (a dimly lit evening ceremony) make it more difficult for me to get good shots. Can I do it? Heck yes. I’m a pro, and I’ve gotten beautiful shots in all kinds of lighting. But you can make it easier on me if you have the chance. If not, we’ll make it work.
Lock those lips! Seriously, get a good kiss in. Hold it, hold it… If you do a quicky peck I might miss the shot and this will make me sad. Practice holding it for a count of three to five seconds…it’s amazing how long 5 seconds is, isn’t it? ;)
Ban the paparazzi. This is a big one. You’re walking down the aisle newly married, and there are cameras, cell phones, and – worst of all – iPads in my line of vision. It looks like a hot mess, and sometimes they actually block my shot. The “unplugged wedding” has grown in popularity lately. So ask your guests to put their cameras away for the ceremony, and consider handing them confetti to throw instead. They can whip those cameras and cell phones out during the reception.
…When You’re Posing for Family Photos.
We’ll do them quickly and efficiently, usually going from the largest group to the smallest. That list you wrote just now is our law. Whatever the list says is what happens. If it’s not on the list, we won’t do it. This prevents relatives from bowling over you with requests. [I am, as always, more than happy to take a family photo with great-aunt Suzy during the reception, or add to the list at your request.]
For couples photos, I would like to have privacy with you. For many folks, it’s difficult to express honest emotion while I’ve got my big old camera pointed at them, but I’m good at getting sweet glances and warm smiles that happen in the fractions of seconds between more posed moments. It’ll be harder with Uncle Joe standing behind me snapping away, too. Plus, this might be the most “alone” time you’ll get on your wedding day – savor it!
I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read this guide, so I’m hiding this here: if you mention that you saw this, I’ll send you a code for a free 11″ x 14″ print from your gallery.
Snacks. Don’t forget to have breakfast and make sure you have plenty of water. It makes a huge difference. “Hangry” is not cute.
…at the Reception.
If at all possible, give me time to access the room all set up before guests arrive. I love taking those photos of all the little table details you worked so hard to put together! If your reception and ceremony are at the same location, this can be something I do before the ceremony. We can talk about it more when we go over the timeline.
Have your DJ turn off the funky laser lights for the beginning of your reception (through the first dance), so that those images don’t have green and blue dots all over them. During the dance party, let them rip! I’ve developed a technique that works with those awesome DJ lights. If you forget to ask your DJ about this, don’t worry. I’m not shy about asking them to make the lighting better for your first dance.
Warn me if there’s a special dance, otherwise I might be taking a bathroom break at the exact second you and your cousins bust out the famed cousin dance to Cotton Eyed Joe.
…if you’re wearing a dress.
Watch your fit. Have any alterations done while wearing the exact undergarments and shoes you’re going to be wearing on the day. Wear your dress for more than few minutes, to make sure those undergarments are comfortable – learn from my mistake – so you don’t have bruises on your ribs. Ouch. Make sure that strapless dresses fit snugly under your arms so you’re not yanking it up all day. I won’t take photos of you yanking, I promise, but it’s way easier if you don’t have to. For the best fit, consider a built-in bra, or a bra that your tailor adds snaps to so you’ll be secure in your dress. BONUS: no bruising.
There is no tactful way to say this: watch your nipples. When you’re wearing a strapless dress they can pop out unexpectedly, particularly during dancing. For those with a more revealing or plunging neckline, tape them in. Nipple covers are a good idea, too.
If you’re wearing a dress that shows an area normally covered by a bra (think bare shoulders or low back), don’t spend the morning in a bra, or loosen it up. A tight bra will give you red marks that will take a few hours to fade away.
Ban the tan. If you’re wearing a dress, slather on the sunscreen before your big day, and get a swimsuit that doesn’t cross your shoulders if they’ll be bare in your wedding dress. There’s only so much I can (and will) edit out. If you don’t care if you have tan lines, then I don’t care either.
…last, but not least.
Have fun. Your wedding is a once in a lifetime celebration of you and your partner promising to spend the rest of your lives together, surrounded by friends and family. And that’s pretty awesome.