By Marlene Hilborn
September 15, 2015
Over the years we have learned a great deal about how to help our clients get those most out of their wedding photography experience. Here's just a few suggestions as you plan your very special wedding day.
Time Of Day:
Best time to take any picture outside is the last hour before sunset or at sunset. The reason for this is shadow casting. The golden hour before sunset creates an aura of light around the subjects without any disruptive shadow casting as with a sunny midday photo. Consider this if having an outdoor wedding.
Bridal Room / Getting Ready:
This is a time you want to relax and fully embrace the ritual act of dressing and preparing yourself for the event ahead of you. The entire ceremonial preparation time sets the tone for your day. Capturing images that reflect those magical moments you prepare to walk down the aisle are priceless. Choosing a space for this to take place is one of the most often overlooked areas of wedding planning. To capture the mood of this time is dependent on many factors; good window light, a clean and tidy atmosphere (you don’t want cans of Aqua net, grocery bags and soda cans in your photos) and enough space for the photographer to maneuver around and position you for those memorable moments. Additionally consider the furniture and general space in the room. Be sure to have any special heirlooms and the essentials ready and waiting for the photographer to focus on during moments you are not with him; Rings and ring boxes, shoes, dress, veil, perfume bottles, lipstick, etc. Your preparation will pay off, we promise you that!
Couple and Group Portraits:
Sometimes getting a large group of excited, nervous or tipsy friends and family together can be like herding cats. Here are a few tips to assist you in getting everyone on the same page.
Choosing a location with no distractions always helps; onlookers or other people taking photos results in too many alternative directions for the people being photographed to look. A key tip for group shots is for all the subjects in the photograph to be focused on the photographer’s direction only. One person in the group looking at Aunt Sally to the right, while everyone else is looking at the photographer ruins the shot. Too many of those and you lose the opportunity of having that memorable portrait. Only people featured in the pictures should be there, simple as that.
When it comes to the married couple photos, it’s best if only the photographer is with them, while the wedding party leaves the area. All too often the presence of the wedding party at the shoot will inhibit the possible intimate moments the photographer is trying to capture.
The less distractions there are the faster you can get back to your guests and get the cherished wedding photos.
After being pronounced married enjoy your kiss; savor the moment. It is important for the photographer that the wedding kiss is held and both of you are clearly visible to the front of the camera. Additionally, a great shot to add to your photo album is to stop halfway up the aisle, stop and kiss again for the photographer.
Set the Tone
This is your wedding day, so enjoy it! Smile, laugh and let your joy be seen and felt by all your guests. You are the center of attention and your joy and laughter will spread to your guests, which will reflect in the images throughout the day.
Timing is Everything
Quality photos take time; plan for quality. Ample time is needed for the photographer to set up and create a new situational setting for each phase of your wedding experience.
Allow 15 to 20 min for family portraits, same for the wedding party, and try to allow 30 minutes for couple portraits. Keep in mind, the more private the location the faster the process and better the quality of the photos.
Write a list of friends/family members to be in the formals portraits.
Plan in advance what family members you want in what photos and make a list for the photographer. Make sure each member knows they are going to be in the photos and where to go; late comer’s result in missed photo ops.
Finally, remember to take private moments throughout the event with your new spouse, where you two are alone and can be captured by the photographer; i.e. champagne toasts, the wedding dance, the garter removal, etc.
Posing & Smiling
As they say, “Practice makes perfect”. And if not perfect, at least it will result in a much higher quality picture and better satisfaction. Few people feel photogenic or like smiling for the camera; being self-consciousness in front of the camera lens is the norm. So practice before your wedding! Sounds silly but it really helps. Look at Pinterest or in wedding magazines and practice smiling and posing in the mirror. Many of the poses you see will feel unnatural, but that's often what makes a good picture. If the photographer is asking you to slide your hip to the right as far as you can, it will feel ridiculous, but look at the shots you love and you'll see that those poses are the winning shots.
Props and Accessories
The bouquet and rings are the traditional symbols of a wedding, but there are a myriad of other items you can add to create unique moments in your wedding album. Personal props that reflect the new couple you are about to become can add an extra personal touch. Think about bringing props to the wedding for the photographer to integrate into your poses such as Sashes, Fans, parasols, just to name a few.
For groom and groomsmen: Top hat, cane, deck of cards, Jack Daniels bottle, dice, sports equipment, cigars, etc.
Having Everything Ready for the Photographer
Organization is key. Be prepared for the photographer upon his arrival. The entire shoot will go much smoother and you will get more for your money by being prepared. Have your dress, jewelry, shoes, ring, accessories (something old, new, borrowed, blue), props; anything you want to be a part of the shoot for your day, have it ready in a box, luggage or designated space.
And most Important of all....ENJOY YOUR MOST MEMORABLE DAY!!!