Being a professional photographer means that it is part of my job to make the best of every situation. When things are not great, I make them look better. When something is less than ideal, I give it a boost. That being said, making truly remarkable images really is a team effort. Some things couples do will elevate their photo experience, and some things will simply make them fall flat. Ensuring you have the best photos possible is going to be a team effort between the photographer and the couple. This post is ultimately your recipe to create the most photogenic setting for your wedding photos!
1. The Venue
Despite common misconceptions about photography being able to change the face of reality, the venue is what it is. If it is breathtaking when you walk up to it in person, it is going to be breathtaking in photos. If it has a lack of appeal in person, it is going to be tough to make it look amazing in your photos as well.
2. The Timeline
Getting a little technical here, but cameras can't adequately record information about really bright spots and really dark spots at the same time. That means, if your trying to have your photos taken in the middle of the day when the sun is very bright and the shadows are very dark, the results are not going to be ideal. Scheduling your wedding in early hours of the morning or late hours of the afternoon and into the evening is best. This provides softer light and more beautiful pictures.
When one thing runs behind, it pushes everything else back and ultimately shortens your picture time. If you want good photos, it is important that you place an emphasis on punctuality from the very beginning of the day. Insist that your HMUA is prompt and keeps up with the schedule. Be sure your wedding party will arrive on time, if not early. And have more help than you think you'll need to take care of decorations, food, or other anything else that could take longer than estimated.
Things sometimes go wrong, or take longer than expected. That's just how it goes. But if you have included some cushioning in your timeline, it will be easier to stay on track with your wedding day timeline. I usually suggest adding 15 minutes between each event. Then, if you are early, you can relax and enjoy everything a little more, but if the unexpected happens, you've planned for it and it doesn't put you behind.
Whether it is having an Engagement Session before your wedding, or just standing in front of a mirror trying out poses, practice will make a huge difference in your confidence in front of the camera. And confidence is truly a golden ticket in looking amazing in your photos. So do whatever it takes, practice in whatever way, so that you feel comfortable and confident.
6. Hair & Makeup
It probably goes without saying, but you get what you pay for. Doing your own hair and makeup, or going cheap can only get you so far. A talented makeup artist can not only style you the way you envisioned, but they can do it in a way that accentuates your best features. Furthermore, professional makeup makes a huge difference in camera, where our best natural qualities (like lip color and full lashes) tend to lose their punch.
Your attitude is generally transparent in photos. If you are feeling upset about something that went wrong, or just generally uptight, it tends to show. As a photographer we do our best to make you look amazing, but we cannot override any emotions you choose to hold on to. So, at least during portraits (but hopefully on your entire wedding day) you will allow yourself to relax, be spontaneous, and enjoy the moments for what they are. Not only will it make a difference in your photos, but it will make whole wedding much more wonderful to you.
8. Don't Get Hangry
Are you someone who gets Hangry on a normal day, if you haven't eaten properly? Newsflash: It will happen on your wedding day too. I get it - there are a lot of emotions, and your stomach might be too full of butterflies to take a bite of your sandwich. But do your best to muster small snacks down throughout the day. I have met too many brides who dream of incredible bride and groom portraits and put so much emphasis on having plenty of time for photography. But after the ceremony and family pictures, they are so hungry (and even grumpy) that they scratch all their photo plans so that they can go into the reception early and eat. Plan ahead. Don't get Hangry.
9. Do What You Love
There is so much to think about when planning your wedding. All the guests, all the details, the schedule, the vendors, the invitations to name a few. It is absolutely normal to get caught up in it all, and ultimately lose the vision. Your Wedding Day is just that - YOURS. Take a moment to pause, remember what YOU love and envision, and stick with that. If it means not inviting someone who have a negative impact on you, then don't invite them. If it means switching up the timeline, or adding an unexpected element, just do it. The Wedding is about you and your fiance, and you deserve to enjoy it. Don't worry about the opinions and norms other people have.
10. Take Some Time
Piggybacking on the previous point, as your wedding approaches, you feel like there is so much to think about and it is hard to step away for a moment. But it is so important that you take some time away from it all. Plan a Date Night for you and your Fiance just to reset and have a good time, without thinking about wedding plans. Your wedding is about more than just a day to celebrate. It is about the relationship you are building and the marriage that will last centuries. So amid all the planning, don't forget to foster the thing that will last the longest. I promise that all the wedding plans won't fall apart during one Date Night. But walking into your wedding feeling revitalized and fortified is going to show in your images and your enjoyment of the day!