Useful tips for better wedding photos V.2.0

My extremely popular wedding photography tips page is a few years old so I thought I’d give it an update, welcome to version 2.0

This page is intended to help you as a bride and groom not only have a great wedding experience with your chosen wedding photographer but also to help whoever is capturing your once off fantastic day to get the best images possible.

General decor ceremony:

  • If outside, hanging decor from a gazebo can look great but be sure not to hang at eye level thereby creating obstructions for your photographer – this applies even to the back of the gazebo, remember the photographer is going to get you from all angles.
  • Equipment: See if it’s possible to have the PA system concealed or partly concealed, big black speakers never add to a photograph, I’ve often found that the DJ could easily have moved speakers to the side without any ill effect to him but a great improvement to the photos.
  • Microphones: See if the venue or DJ can supply a lapel mic rather than a normal full size one, you don’t want the ceremony shots of the two of you looking more like a microphone advert than a real wedding.
  • If you do have to use a full size microphone make sure it’s under the chins rather than blocking the faces.
  • Flowers at the alter, be sensible: Your photographer is going to be in places your guests are not, don’t block those special moments with a wall of flora!

General decor reception:

  • Tables: Beware of tall things (Flowers, Vases etc…) especially for the main table! Make sure the photographer can get those little moments without being thwarted by table obstructions. Thin vases or thin column flower arrangements work well because they are less obstructive; your guests will also appreciate being able to talk to each other without having to peer around a mid table monstrosity too ;-)
  • Cake: Think about the background when placing it, I love the colour red but I’ve never seen a big red fire extinguisher in the background improve the way the cake’s looks!
  • Cake Knife: Be sure to arrange one, venues are not always prepared for this and I’ve seen bread knives with makeshift ribbon wrapped around them next to a very beautiful and expensive cake!

Getting ready:

  • If the dress has buttons be sure to bring a crochet hook, it makes doing the buttons up a lot easier. I’ve seen brides walk down the aisle late because the buttons were not in the mood to co-operate :-)
  • Rescue remedy! I’m not sure why I’m even suggesting this since I don’t think I’ve ever heard “we should have brought Rescue Remedy” it always just seems to be there anyway!
  • Music!!! Bring an iPod with an external speaker dock, there will be a lot going on but those quiet moments can bring on nerves you don’t need.
  • Tissues, a simple thing but always very useful!
  • Needle and thread with both white and black thread, I’ve seen clips come off dresses and grooms buttons fall off.
  • Be totally ready at least 30 minutes before leaving for the ceremony so you can do a few bridal portraits, your makeup will be perfect and so will the dress.

Arriving at the ceremony:

  • As you pull up in the bridal car wind your window down, that way the photographer has a good unobstructed shot into the car without having to deal with the window reflection.
  • Don’t be too quick to get out, wait for the photographer – It might be “old school” but a photo of your dad (or whoever for that matter) assisting you out of the car makes for a great shot.
  • Breath!! :-)

Ceremony:

  • If you have bridesmaids and flower girls let them walk ahead and right to the front before you start coming down, that way they are not going to block any photos of you and your dad.
  • Take your time down the isle, give your photographer lots of opportunity that great shot.
  • Rings, now girls I know you have been practising this and can get a ring on a man’s finger in .3 seconds flat – Well done! I can’t however shoot that fast so give me a mo why dontcha… take your time ;)
  • Both of you: A long soft kiss looks much better on camera than the “passionate bedroom explorer”, give each other a big slow hug after, it makes for a great shot especially if you can see the smiles of your guests in the photo too :)

Formals:

  • Make a list give it to a bossy bridesmaid or groomsman, that way they can help get everyone together for the photos. The more smoothly the formal photos run the quicker everyone can relax and have a drink.
  • Don’t go too crazy with the list, the important photos are of the two of you at the end of the day, you don’t want to waste time thinking of a gazillion family combinations that are unlikely to ever be printed let alone framed.
  • Give your photographer between 20-30 minutes to get the formal pictures.

Couples photoshoot:

  • You have probably spent hours looking for a great photographer, let them be great! Give them at least 60 minutes with the two of you, none of us like to keep our guests waiting but this is something you do once and your pictures will be all that’s left.
  • Bring a pair of comfy slip on shoes, you don’t want to ruin those really expensive shoes while walking through a vineyard, you also don’t need a blister either ;)
  • Have a bridesmaid, groomsman or the venue arrange picnic basket with a few snacks and cool drinks… be comfortable!
  • HAVE FUN!!! If you guys have fun with each other the photos of the two will be fabulous!! We seldom look better than when we are smiling and having a good time :)

Reception/Decor:

  • Groom walk in first, but only if you have to walk one in front of the other between tables, if you don’t you’ll find yourself stepping on your beautiful new wife’s dress besides you should be dragging her in to show her off anyway!!
  • First Dance, Cake Cutting, Garter and Bouquet: Make sure you inform your photographer in advance! I like to set up a few lights to create mood and give you the best shots for each moment this only takes a minute, telling me 30 seconds before it’s about to happen is not particularly useful.
  • First Dance: Dance the whole song through before inviting your family, give your photographer as much time to get great photos as possible. Check with the DJ that he will do this, its usually the DJ that invites everyone else on 30 seconds into the dance – I make a point of letting them know that the whole song should run it’s course with just the two of you.
  • Garter and Bouquet: Again depending on your photographer give them time to setup, the photos will count for more in the end.
  • Don’t put the photographers table in another room, he/she needs to see what’s going, any decent photographer will always be alert.

© Greg Lumley 2011

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