Getting the Perfect Wedding Day Photos
There are many vendors you have to book for your wedding day, and each play a crucial role in making sure your wedding goes off without a hitch. Your wedding photographer is definitely one of them. A good wedding photographer will understand your personal style and should be able to connect with you on a personal level. They'll be the one capturing you and your partner's entire day, from the biggest moments to the little details, and you'll look back on these photos for the rest of your life. You definitely want to do your research to find the best wedding photographer to tell your wedding story; here's how...
How to Hire the Right Wedding Photographer
Photographers vary so much in their style; some like to capture brighter photos, some darker, some more portraits while others prefer group shots, so you need to check out each photographer's portfolio, social media, and website to determine whether you like their editing style and photography before reaching out to them. If you love what you see, contact them for their availability and pricing before you get swept away. It's always wise for couples to meet their photographer or have a phone call before booking to be sure they're the right fit for you on your wedding day.
Things to consider when picking a good photographer:
- Do you like their style and aesthetic?
- Do you like the photographer's personality and do you communicate together well?
- Are they within your budget? What does their photography package entail?
- Are they available for your date and location?
Take Engagement Portraits before the Big Day
It's a smart idea to schedule your engagement portraits, and/ or bridal photos, with your wedding photographer to understand their techniques, get comfortable in front of the camera, and know what to expect on your actual wedding day. It's a great way to connect with your photographer, and for you to practice posing with your soon to be spouse.
You can even choose to use these photos in your Save The Dates, or to display them at your wedding reception for guests to admire. Ask your photographer if they offer packages that include engagement photos or how much it would cost to add them in.
You may have a vision for how you want your wedding day to go; be vocal about asking your photographer for advice and sharing your vision. He or she literally do this for a living and will be more than happy to help you secure the perfect shot and photo-op moments.
Provide your Photographer with a Wedding Timeline
Once your photographer is booked, you'll want to make sure they understand the timeline of your wedding day to capture it perfectly. If you have a wedding planner, they are typically the ones to supply each your vendors with a timeline. Either way, a schedule from start to finish makes for a smooth flow on the day and you will feel much less stressed. It's also gives your photographer a chance to plan for the lighting conditions, suggest times to photograph outdoors, and bring extra lighting and materials if necessary.
Ask your photographer if they bring a shot checklist or if they prefer to shoot on the fly. There are usually the main events that are expected to be part of your wedding day, like the ceremony, capturing the bridal party, the first dance, the speeches, and all the fun reception festivities; but often the best wedding photographers will also make sure to capture the little details that make your wedding day you. Styled photographs of your wedding stationery, dress, and wedding day accessories make for great shots and memorable keepsakes.
If you've started a Pinterest board of stunning photos, share these with your photographer so they can get to know your aesthetic. Plus, it's smart to provide them with a list of people it's important to capture. Giving them a list of essential friends and family will ensure you won’t regret missing a photo with anyone when you receive your final gallery.
The Pros and Cons of First Look Photos
For couples, there can be a variety of first look photos. You can have a first look with your bridesmaids, father, soon-to-be-spouse, or anyone else with whom you want to share this photo moment. This is them seeing you ready and in your dress right before walking down the aisle. For couples, it's an ideal time to share a moment of excitement and love together before saying "I do." If you're superstitious and don’t want to see each other before the ceremony, then this might not be something you're interested in. You'll lose having your first look together at the alter, but if you're likely to get emotional, it's the perfect time to calm any jitters! Plus, you can do a mini touch-up before the actual ceremony.
Having others witness your first look could make you nervous too, in which case you may want to let them know in advance it's just going to be a private moment. A first look can ease any pre-ceremony nerves so that you can relax and be fully present during your wedding vows. Photographers typically encourage a first look if you're thinking about it. It captures a lot of intimate, raw feelings and makes for some amazing photographs to look back on. It will also help free up time after the ceremony so you can join your guests at your cocktail hour sooner.
Secrets to Getting the Absolute Best Wedding Photos
It's no wonder why perfect bridal preparation ensures the best wedding photography. As weather can be unpredictable, a windy day could cause your hair to require more bobby pins than originally thought; or, a few tissues on hand could be the life saver to dry some unexpected tears. Having your make-up bag easily accessible with mascara and coverup is key. We recommend touching up right before your ceremony, before your reception, and even mid-reception if you feel like it. Put one of your bridesmaids in charge of your make-up bag with extra supplies. You'll be glad you did this when you see your stunning photos!
In general, some good advice to follow for getting the best wedding photography is ‘If it feels awkward, then it probably looks awkward.’ Be normal and yourself all day and it will make for the most lovely photos you can imagine. It can be easy to get camera shy but we encourage you to just act like you’re hanging out with the love of your life, and it’s the best day ever (because it is) then a good photographer will be able to take care of the rest.
Be happy and don’t stress over the day. Not everything will go as planned and this is totally fine. As long as you are willing to be flexible and stay relaxed then your wedding day will be perfect, and your photos will be too! Finding the best wedding photographer is a big deal and you should treat yourself to someone you will be thrilled to have capture your special day. You can use a Google search, word of mouth, or websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire to browse photographers in your area. You won’t ever regret having high quality, amazing photographs from your wedding day.
Photo Credit: Clayton Made Media
Destiny Clayton is an environmentalist and traveling enthusiast, and co-owner of Clayton Made Media with her husband, Adam. She loves raw emotion and being part of capturing special moments in her clients' lives.
For the most stunning photos, get the perfect wedding day accessories to complement your bridal look!