Wedding Photography Tips
Ready for Your Close-Up? - Tips & Suggestions
It's your big day! There's a lot of planning that has happened up until this point. We want you to be the most prepared you can be to make sure your photos are amazing! Whether you’re a bride-to-be, groom-to-be, maid-of-honor, day-of coordinator or a momma looking to help the day go as smoothly as possible, feel free to use what we prepared to ensure show-stopping photographs on your wedding day.
Let's bring it!
Getting ready photos can add variety to your wedding set and are easily some of our favorite moments to capture so it is important that you choose a aesthetically pleasing place.
When thinking about where you are going to get ready keep in mind there is a lot to contemplate other than will the location accommodate everyone. Consider these tips...
Pick a place that has lots of space, an abundance of natural light and no clutter.
Keep you space clean. Suitcases, bags and shoes should be kept out of sight.
Window light is our favorite light. Natural light is often soft and flattering. If you can have your hair and makeup done in front of the largest window in the room.
While most of our work emphasizes the relationships and moments on your wedding day, we don’t want to leave out all the pretty details that help tell the story of your day. When we arrive where you are getting ready, it would be great to have some of those special touches ready to be photographed! Having some loose florals, the rings, an invitation or anything else you’d like documented ready will make it easy for us to capture the details along with all the excitement of the morning.
Should You Have a First Look Session?
It’s a new age, so it’s no longer considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. A first look gives you and your love a chance to see each other in a private, intimate setting before the ceremony. By no means is this for everybody, though options are nice right?
The benefits you may ask..?
Take the pressure off. There’s often a LOT of nerves going into your ceremony. We believe much of that is the anticipation of seeing your soon-to-be spouse for the first time! But if you have a chance to see them for the first time in a quiet, intimate setting before the ceremony, chances are you’ll be MUCH more relaxed when ceremony time comes!
It adds to your set of photos. While we do love the groom reaction shots while a bride walks down the aisle, it’s far less intimate than a first look and we aren’t able to capture the emotion as well as if you took some time aside for the two of you! It’s also a lot harder to take in the moment for yourselves when there’s dozens of people watching you!
It frees up your timeline. Yep! Usually after a first look, we’ll do family photos prior to the ceremony. This means you won’t have to spend time doing family photos after all the excitement of the ceremony and you’ll be able to spend even more time with family and friends during cocktail hour and the reception! We’ll still grab you for sunset portraits at some point depending on when your ceremony is, but more time at the reception is a win for everyone.
A Formal Affair - Bridal Party & Family Portraits
Family portraits can be a pain in the ass. It’s hard to corral a big group of people into a photo, and it’s even harder when it’s your crazy family. But trust us when we say they matter. While you hired your photographers for their artistic visions, your parents are probably only going to frame a few photos from your wedding, and our hunch is that it’s not going to be the artsy ones of you walking through sunset. We recommend limiting your family formal groupings to set in advance list. We know it can sometimes be difficult to get your list down prior to your wedding day, however, we’d encourage you to think about which arrangements are most important to you and stick with no more than what you wrote down. Family photos are often the most exhausting portion of the day, and instead of tiring yourselves out with dozens of family groupings, we recommend allowing for more time with family during cocktail hour and reception while we capture all the candid moments along the way.
Group photos should be done prior to the ceremony (if a first look is involved) or immediately after the ceremony (get the officiant to make an announcement for all family + bridal party to stay put). Corralling everyone during cocktail hour is often difficult. Grandma is likely to get lost in the crowd and it’s easy for the best man to find himself at the bar instead of lining up for bridal party photos. This corralling can really eat into the time we have for portraits and for you to enjoy your reception!
When you fill out your welcome package please remember to complete your family formal list and return it to us before your big day!
The big moment. It's time to make it official! You've chosen a beautiful location, but have you thought about light? How about how the time of day may make or break your ceremony photos? When planning your ceremony location, it’s easy to get caught up in the location and views and disregard the lighting, but the lighting will play the biggest role in how your photos will turn out!
So what will make the photos magical and what won't?
The Magic - Overcast skies. Believe it or not a soft natural light diffused by the clouds is optimal. Since we cannot control the weather we recommend setting up your ceremony so the sun is behind you, your fiance and your guests are facing the sun. If your ceremony is in the afternoon or close to sunset, your guests should be facing West (towards the sunset). For morning ceremonies, your guests should be facing East (towards the sunrise). Total shade is also great if it a bright cloudless day.
Optimally we suggest ceremonies a couple hours before sunset. With few exceptions, we plan portrait sessions and bride and groom photos right before sunset because the lighting is most beautiful that time of day! It’s softer, golden and straight up gorgeous. That same light is just as important for your outdoor ceremony.
The Not So Good - Harsh shadows, sweating and squinting can be a few challenges that can hinder the quality of your photos. Having your ceremony midday in direct sun is not recommended. If you are in a treed area it would be important to ensure you are not standing in an area with spotty shadows.
Have your guests be present in the moment. An unplugged ceremony is when you ask your guests to refrain from taking any cell photos, also including uncle Joe with his fancy DSLR. The last thing you want to see walking up the isle is people looking through their tablets and phones let alone seeing them in your photos. The best thing is to have the minister announce the ceremony is unplugged before the festivities commence.
The reception can be very emotional so try to set a proper mood. Lightning is key to setting that romantic mood. Edison bulbs / string lights and candles are great, and if you use enough they provide great light for photos. Just try to be sure there's enough lighting. If you want a moody vibe with candles, be sure there are plenty. Not having enough light will make focusing trickier for us and you’ll have less usable photos. We can of course use our flashes, but we like to save those for the less formals dances and events, so that we aren't distracting any moments. Please also take into considerations your decor at the head table. Ideally they won't be too tall to block any faces. If you’re unsure about your setup, just ask us and we’ll help!
One last word on receptions: please feed your photographers! Most wedding days are at least 7 hours. Besides getting straight up hangry during that time, a malnourished photographer is not a creative one. We plan to eat right when dinner begins, that way we aren't still eating when it’s time for toasts and whatnot! Some caterers insist on serving all vendors at the end of the meal, so please make sure you speak to your caterer about this so we don’t miss anything important!
After shooting numerous weddings, we have a pretty good idea of how much time we’ll need to cover different aspects of your day. This of course may vary from wedding to wedding, but while putting together your timeline, here’s how much time we’ll typically need for photos:
Getting ready: 60-90 minutes
First look: 30 minutes
Family: 30-45 minutes (keeping your groupings to a limit)
Bridal party: 30 minutes
Couples photos: 45-90 minutes (the more, the better)
To give you a better idea of what that looks like, we’ve put together a sample timeline. We’ve also noted the sunset time (summer) so you’re able to see how the sunset plays a leading role in the timeline and the rest falls into place around it. This timeline includes a first look and is based on 8 hour coverage from 2pm to 10pm.
2:00 Getting ready
3:30 First look
3:50 Family photos
4:20 Bridal party
5:00 Everyone hidden for guests to arrive / relax
(we often take ceremony + reception detail shots during this time)
6:10 Cocktail hour / Couples photos
7:15 Sunset / Newly weds enter reception
If you have any questions while putting together your timeline, please don’t hesitate to reach out!! We are here to help you ensure your photos are as amazing as possible and often that means helping with your timeline.
Make it Yours!
This is your big day! Do you want it to be one of a kind or a cookie cutter wedding checklist? Throw the rules or the status quo out the window and create a day that will make you happy forever!
Create new traditions and set a standard that your friends will envy. Forgettable or memorable?
We look forward to helping you capture that memorable one of a kind day. Let's do this!