This Blog Post comes from our friends at DreamPop Media
There are lots of these lists out there on the interwebs. But this one is from us to you. These are our favorite 15 things for you to take into consideration when setting the expectations for your wedding day photography. Alright, brides -to-be! We (and every other photographer out there) want to be able to give you photos that are better than you could have ever expected. Having said that, here's what you can do to help us be the best photographers that we can possibly be.
1. Hire a photographer you love: Does your photographer's work make you feel the feels? It should. Does something about their work stand out to you that you may not be able to put your finger on? That should happen too. Meet with your photographer. Make sure your personalities, styles, and priorities are a good fit. Your photographer is going to be following you around on one of the most important days of your life. You better like them as a person as much as you love their work. Choose someone whose company you enjoy and who makes you feel comfortable just being you.
2. Don't skip the engagement session: An engagement session isn't done just for the pictures. It's also a way for your photographer to learn about you. To learn how to pose you in ways you feel more comfortable, to learn whether you prefer one side of your beautiful face to the other, to learn whether or not you will laugh at our corny jokes. It makes everyone, including you, more comfortable on the wedding day. See, we're all friends now, let's go take pictures in your wedding day attire!
3. Get ready in space with lots of natural light and plenty of room: It may be the most affordable option to shove your whole bridal party in one hotel room at the best western down the street, but it's worth budgeting a little more for for a space that will photograph well. Make sure there is plenty of room for everyone who plans to be getting ready there and has as many windows as possible. Homes, bridal suites, salons with ample window light are all great alternatives. Side note: Keep it clean. The wedding day Cheetos probably tasted way more awesome than they will look sitting in the background of your photos for years to come.
4. Allot extra time for almost everything: Hair and make-up say they will be done by noon, put it in the timeline as 12:15. Think the bridal party photos will only take 15 minutes, allot 30. Things happen, especially when large groups of people, which often include 5 of your best college buddies, and half of your sorority are involved. Worst case scenario, you allotted too much time and you have a moment to relax before the ceremony starts. In this case, I will happily pour you a glass of wine for your amazing time management skills.
5. Keep wedding day travel to a minimum: Consider finding a salon that does both hair and make-up, or have them come to you in your bridal suite at your venue. Don't choose an out of the way location for your bridal party photos or first look. It's really difficult to get large groups of people anywhere in a timely manner. If there is a location that is meaningful to you that isn't doable on the wedding day, have your engagement session there! The day is going to fly by, relax and try to limit the amount of travel you expect from your family, bridal party, and photographers on the big day.
6. Do a first look: I'm just going to link you to this article for this one, which NEEDS to be read if you are on the fence about this:amazing first look article here
7. Trust your photographer: Trust his or her eye. They know what they are doing. A lot of what we do is dependent upon light. You may want to have a first look under a giant tree at midday where shadows and spots of harsh sunlight can affect your images. We want you to have the best photos we can possibly give you so we may offer a suggestion for a different spot. It's not because we're jerks. It's because we're looking out for you. Trust us.
8. Feed your photographer: I have no shame, this is important. A well fed photographer is a happy photographer. So basically for an entire wedding day your photographer runs on adrenaline. Sneaking in a power bar and a bottle of water whenever they can. Using all of their mental energy to focus on trying not to miss a single moment. Taking very few sit downs for fear of a family member or guest thinking they are lazy. Happily include them in your dinner and help them keep their energy level up.
9. Golden Hour: Take advantage of it. There is a sweet spot where photographers like to shoot an hour or so before sunset in which all of your images look bombdotcom. Use this. This is definitely something you should discuss with your photographer when creating your wedding day timeline. Try to schedule your ceremony just before to take advantage of this beautiful time frame for the bride and groom portraits.
10. Hire complementary Photo/Video services: If you are also hiring a cinematographer, make sure you choose one who is experienced and knows how to work with photographers and vice versa. This one can be confusing. We offer both services and of course, highly prefer to work together. We know how the other shoots, and can pretty much predict their next move. We know where we like our cameras to be placed and how to not get in each other's way so that we can both give uncompromised products. You may hire a really nice photographer, and a really nice videographer who may just not know how to work together. Encourage them to communicate with one another beforehand. But if your photographer also offers video within their team, and you love their work across the board...use them.
11. Tell Uncle Bob with his fancy camera that today he is a guest: In the nicest way possible of course. Uncle Bob is probably a really cool guy, but if he feels the need to be the "other photographer" at the wedding, he can compromise the shots you are paying for. Whether it's by using is flash and over exposing your real photographer's photos, or by stepping in from of the video camera during important moments so that he can get his shot. We know that Uncle Bob isn't malicious, but he can really unintentionally make a wedding day difficult for your hired photographers.
12. Break up with your Pinterest wedding photo idea board: Break it's nonexistent little virtual heart. If you are a normal internet savvy female, you've probably been racking up the Pinterest photo ideas for years by now. Any chance you've gone back to the beginning of your board to check out how cheesy and out-dated some of those contrived, prop-laden photos seem today? Well they do. Your wedding day is exactly that: YOURS, Not the 300 other brides whose weddings you have archived photos of. Let your photographer photograph it how it naturally happens. Let them pose you in a way that's flattering to you specifically. Let them capture real moments. You will thank them later. I could go on about this topic forever, but this is my favorite article on why mentioning Pinterest makes your photographer cringe and why it's in your best interest to kick it to the curb: amazing lay off the pinterest article here
13. Venue rules and regulations: know them before you book. If photography is a priority for your wedding day, you will want to make sure that you book your ceremony and reception in a location where photography is allowed. We mostly run into this issue with church weddings. In many cases, your photographers are limited to staying behind all 40 rows of pews in a dark (yet beautiful) church and are not allowed to use any sort of lighting. This is not the ideal setting for your photographer. Keep this in mind when you are venue sourcing. Or if you've chosen a venue with strict photography limitations, discuss this with them in advance. On the other hand, give us a big white tent for the reception and we will love you forever.
14. Be Happy: Smile, cry, laugh, feel everything you possibly can and express it. Take deep breaths. Surround yourself with people who you truly want to be there. Smile and smile again all day long.
15. Let go of perfection: Perfect, simply isn't a real thing so go with the flow. We've yet to photograph/film a wedding where everything went perfectly the way it had been planned. But, every wedding we've ever photographed/filmed was perfect for each couple. Let the real moments happen.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.