Let’s face it: Nobody wants mediocre photos on their wedding day. Nobody want to get their photos back and feel like they don’t represent who they are. And NOOO-BODY wants to tuck away these photos and never look at them again.
But how do you do it? How do you ensure that your photos are absolutely AMAZING?
Having been through the ins and outs of countless weddings, we’ve got a few thoughts on this one. 😉
So let’s get right to it…here are TEN WAYS to get the most amazing-rockin-fantastical photos possible!
1. Book an Engagement Session
On the fence about booking an engagement session? We think it’s one of the BEST decisions you can. make when it comes to photography!
Think of engagement sessions as practice for the wedding day. Chances are, you haven’t been professionally photographed together — so give yourself the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be photographed with your fiancé, and to become comfortable in front of your photographer’s camera.
An icebreaker where you walk away with gorgeous photos of you and your handsome man? Oh yes! Take advantage of this awesome chance to bond with your photographer (and their camera). It’ll make for an even more intimate experience on your wedding day.
2. Choose a Beautiful Venue
From getting ready location to reception, do your research. Do you prefer elegance over urban flair? Do you envision an outdoor garden reception covered in twinkly lights or an indoor ballroom reception flooded with the light of chandeliers?
Whatever your tastes may be, there is a venue out there that fits your personality! (Especially here in Southern California, where there is everything from seaside resorts to rustic vineyards!)
Be sure to visit locations in person if possible, and keep an eye out for the photographic potential of the venue. Search online for examples of weddings that have been photographed at different venues to find one that provides the look and feel you’re desiring.
3. Hire Awesome Hair and Makeup Artists
Your wedding day is long, and you want your face and hair to look fresh in your photographs from morning until night. You don’t want your foundation sliding down your face or your hair flying about by the time you get to the reception. Find professionals who are experienced and equipped with the tools to not only create a beautiful look, but also one that can withstand the demands of a full wedding day.
Even better? Schedule a trial-run with your chosen hair stylists and makeup artists and be open about your vision. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if you aren’t feeling the look! Regrets over not speaking up about what you really wanted is the last thing you should be feeling when you look at your photographs years from now.
4. The Early Bird Gets the Worm… and Best Photos
Start your photography coverage early. For realsies.
You’ll be more relaxed, you’ll have more wiggle-room, and it’ll counter any schedule issues that may arise. You may already know how much we value a solid Wedding Day Timeline – it is one of the best ways to fully savor your day. Plus, the earlier that you are dressed and ready to go, the more photographs can be taken — and if you end up having extra time, kick back with your wedding party over some champagne (or some whiskey!).
5. Think About the Details
We begin your story by photographing all of the little details. The shoes, the dress, the jewelry, the garter, gifts to your wedding party, heirlooms from generations passed, the invitation… so be sure to collect all of these little details and have them set aside in the room where you are getting ready. The cherry on top is a pretty silk, wooden, or personalized hanger for your dress!
6. Consider a First Look
We love first looks because they’re incredibly intimate and special. And when I say ‘love’ I really mean LOVELOVELOVE.
Just picture it: your groom waiting with his back turned in a beautiful, private, quiet location. With the light illuminating the space perfectly, he turns around and sees you for the first time. And then? The next few minutes are ALL YOURS.
In an otherwise busy day, these precious 10-15 minutes together are a rare moment between just the two of you. Your man gets the space and freedom to feel allllll the feels, and you get the time to check out your soon-to-be-hubby and show off your stunning dress. And best yet? You get all of those joyful, candid moments caught on camera. (#score)
(We could gush and gush about why we love First Looks… and we did! Right here!)
7. Expect the Unexpected in Your Schedule
Leave cushion time in your schedule — because you’ll probably need it.
You’re thinking it will take 30 minutes to get from the hotel to the ceremony site? Add 30 minutes to that. Prepare for the unexpected! There will always be something that comes up. Late bridal party members, lost family members, someone forgetting something, etc. can all cause the schedule to come to a pause. When schedules run late, time that would have been spent taking important photographs becomes compromised. You’ll be in a much happier place when the unforeseen happens if you create buffer times in your schedule (read more about the perfect Wedding Schedule here!).
8. Golden Hour Light
That hour right before sunset is known as the magic hour by photographers for a reason. This warm, soft light is a photographer’s bestie, so you definitely want to take advantage of it by scheduling your couple portraits during this time. Typically the best time to schedule this is between the ceremony and reception, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for it, consider taking 5-10 minutes to step away from the reception with your groom to be bathed in some golden light. Nothing says love like flattering natural light, eh?
9. You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
Joy is CONTAGIOUS!
On your wedding day, surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, those who make you smile, and those who you can be yourself around. Stress and tight schedules can easily turn your dream wedding day into a nightmare. This is when turning to your soon-to-be husband, best friend, mom, or your goofy little nephew can help remind you of the true purpose of the day. Smile through the stressful moments, take a big ‘ole deep breathe, and remember that at the end of this whole thing, you’re GONNA BE MARRIED. 🙂
10. Trust Your Photographer
So now that you’ve chosen the perfect photographer to document your day, trust them 100%. I don’t mean trust them kind-of-sort-of, or hand them a large list of images from Pinterest to recreate.
I mean really trust them.
Remember that you’re hiring them for their artistic eye and how they interpret stories… so let them tell YOUR story. By relinquishing control, you’re telling your photographer that you have full confidence in their storytelling abilities. And speaking from experience — it’s the best gift of ALL to tell our couples’ stories!
Looking for more resources for your lovely garden wedding? Check out all of our tips, tricks, and inspiration here!