It’s all about the details.
Wondering how to get the most of your wedding day photography?
First and foremost, your getting ready location is going to have a huge impact on your photos. Lots of windows with natural light are what you want! If you’re going the hotel route, make sure you love the room decor and finishes before you book.
Personally, I recommend to start your wedding day photography when the bride is finishing up hair and makeup. The bride is always last for H&MU and each person will take about an hour to glam. So if the bride needs to be finishing up by 1pm and there are 5 bridesmaids, that’s a 7am start time (unless you book assistants). Finishing shots of booking on mascara, lipstick and perfecting your hair are going to translate better on the camera and be your prettiest HMU shots.
So while this whirlwind of hair and makeup is wrapping up, this is the time the photographer is getting detail shots. I have 3 MUST HAVES in order to get the best detail shots. First, don’t forget your wedding invitation. You can even mail it ahead of time or enlist the help of someone who is in charge of the rest of your jewelry. Don’t just bring the single invite, bring all the inserts and calligraphed envelope too! Your wedding invitation sets the tone of your wedding day (plus you spent a lot of money on these!) so you want to make sure they are included in telling your story!
There’s a million ways to style your invitation. My personal favorite involves using lots of florals that match your wedding palette. Your florist will be happy to send some extras for styling if you request! (One rose isn’t going to give it the wow factor your invite suite deserves). This is also a good time to mix in some heirlooms or other cherished items into your photos.
Also, don’t forget about the groom’s details! Cufflinks and a bow tie are cool, but maybe a vintage pocket watch or bottle of cologne would be fun to include! There are no rules, just make it personal.
Let’s talk vows for a second. Probably the most important words you might ever write. I can’t stress enough how much better they look on paper than being read off your cellphone. Plus, then they can be preserved forever! A photographer can’t photograph your vows on your cellphone. Type your vows on a typewriter, calligraph them, or just hand writing them will be 1000x better to tell your story. Plus they look awesome with rings on top!
Lastly, don’t forget to pick up a pretty hanger for your wedding dress. A lot of couples receive one as a gift, but in case you don’t Etsy, Amazon and Homegoods always have them. (We carry a backup in our styling kit as well)
Your journey for spectacular wedding photos really begins at your engagement session. Why you might ask? Because 9/10 people are not super comfortable in front of the camera. ** So yes, there are the Allen Iverson type that don’t need to practice and just show up on game day and crush it, but they are not the majority of people!**
If the Eagles pick up a new receiver mid-season, you can be absolutely sure they are going to have to practice reps with Carson Wentz before he’s looking for them on a hot route. It’s hard to show up on gameday and not have played with someone before. You probably see where I’m going with this…
Building rapport, trust and communication with your photographer during the engagement shoot goes a long way on your wedding day.
Engagement shoots are ALOT of fun. They don’t have the time constraints that weddings have, so you have a good amount of time to perfect your moves and practice for the big day. By the time your wedding day roles around, you’re practically a supermodel. Plus you and your photographer are pals after having a blast hanging out at [location of choice].
So I really can’t stress enough the importance of engagement photos for getting the best of your overall wedding photography experience. It’s a game changer .
The importance of sunset.
Let’s discuss the most important time of your wedding day….SUNSET. Considering we know well in advance what time sunset will be on any given day, to me it is the most important thing to consider in planning your wedding day.
Here’s a truth: a lot of photographers only post photos taken at “golden hour” (the hour before sunset) on their insta/portfolio because those are the dreamiest photos. This is a small window of great light on your wedding day so you want to make the most of it! Also, golden hour, especially in the fall, will most likely coincide with your ceremony time and/or cocktail hour. So if you want a ton of beautiful sunset pictures, you’re going to have to plan ahead for that and schedule accordingly.
Another caveat: the sunset time at any given venue is going to differ drastically with the horizon. Trees, skylines, mountains, etc. are going to really throw a wrench in your timing of sunset- you may lose light much, much earlier!
So bottom line, if sunset pictures are something you really care about on your wedding day, literally plan your day around it. And working with your photographer on a itinerary/ timeline that maximizes the “good light” is a 100% must do.
First, if you’re doing an outside ceremony, going big here is a GREAT investment. If you have a moveable backdrop, it can be repurposed at a sweetheart table or photobooth backdrop too!
Let’s also talk about cellphones during the ceremony. I am sure every photographer has a story about Uncle Bob who whipped out their iPad when the bride was walking down the aisle and ruined the photo. Unplugged ceremonies look 1000x better without a sea of cell phones and instead, the genuine reactions of your loved ones.
You also usually need a second photographer to capture all the angles and creative shots during your ceremony. Photographers are amazing but they can’t be in two places at once and a lot of priceless ceremony moments happen at the same exact time.
Looking for more drama? Cathedral veils, dip kisses, Confetti/ petal throws are all awesome ways to add some extra magic to your ceremony photos.
The Bridal Party Photos
First, some standards that everyone should know: bouquets are held at the navel and top button only on suit jackets during the more formal bridal party portraits.
Managing a large bridal party is akin to herding cats, so it’s important to pay attention to the photographer’s direction (and not Uncle Bob with his new iPhone who is trying to snap a pic).
We have a more relaxed approach to bridal party photos, so it’s also important to loosen up and enjoy these moments with your bestie!
Definitely keep the booze to a minimum until after photos. Your eyes and complexion will show it all 🤪.
If you’re getting married in the colder months, your bridal party might want to think about keeping extremities warm with hand warmer packets and what they are wearing on their feet
I love when the couple is introduced (so much good energy here!) and makes their way to the dance floor. These are some of my favorite shots of the night. Even if you’re the world’s worst dancers, throwing some spins/dips in there is going to make for some fun, classic photos. [Yes, practice this/ youtube, etc].
Unless it’s summertime, most receptions will be shot indoors, in a dimly lit room. This is where a little *extra* goes a long way to spruce up your photos. Take note of the light strands behind the band. Lighting companies can make sure your photos have some dimension, and not just a dark background.
On the fence about a band? Honestly, having an amazing band is going to guarantee a heck of a lot more dancing than going the DJ route, if you are worried about getting people on the dance floor. So simple equation: more people dancing = more great photo opportunities. But you will know your audience!
I also love when we have the opportunity to sneak away for some night portraits: pop champagne on a rooftop, or get some backlit photos outside the venue! It’s a nice way to also get a breather from the dance floor chaos!
At this time of the night, a lot of people are especially festive. We can usually get a significant amount of great dancing photos in an hour or so and let you enjoy the rest of your party!
The fine print.
The truth is, your wedding details (and the amazing crew behind them) are going to be a huge determining factor in the end result of your wedding photos. It truly takes a dream team of creative vendors to execute a wedding (it sometimes feels like a Broadway production).
The featured weddings that you see in magazines and blogs are almost always styled by an amazing event designer/planner that executes a bespoke vision for their couple. And while this all sounds expensive, there are designers that work with a variety of price ranges to help make your design dreams come true.
So we rounded up a list of some of our favorite wedding vendors, at a variety of price points, that we have worked with and highly recommend!