Back in my wedding tip series and this blog post is about photography. The first half of this post are tips to consider when selecting your wedding photographer. The second part are things to consider for the actual day of the wedding. Let's begin with selecting a photographer.
Some people think being a photographer is easy and its just snapping a picture; and anyone can do that. It is way more complicated than that! There are things to consider such as lighting, movement, coloring, and composition. Weddings have a lot of fluctuating pieces that can affect a lot of those things. From live action shots, to posed images. From bright, sunny skies, to rainy weather. You want someone who is can adapt to the situation. Someone who has the right equipment to get good pictures no matter what the setting. Also make sure they have done weddings or something similar in the past. Photography styles such as landscape is much different than capturing people.
Picture below from J&A Photography is a reason why you want experience. It poured buckets on this couple's wedding day thanks to the remnants of a hurricane. However, they were still able to capture stunning images such as this one.
Photography is a creative outlet. Have you ever Googled a famous landmark to look at pictures? You can do that and see the same location but with hundreds of different pictures done in various styles. The same is true for wedding pictures. Some photographers work may be more light and airy, while others may be more colorful and vibrant. Make sure you are examining the actual photographers work. Look carefully at the images and make sure you like the style in how the pictures are taken. You will be looking at these photos the rest of your life, so you want to make sure your going to be happy with how they look.
Picture below from Amanda Nichols Photography who has a style of photography. I also always loved this photo because this couple decided to embrace the rainy weather and run through.
Trust your Photographer
If you only take on thing away from this post, that is this. Trust your photographer! You hired them for their expertise and knowledge. I have seen it in the past where a couple shows them a picture they saw on Pinterest that they loved and wants the photographer to recreate. That may be easier said then done. Usually those pictures are a combination of the various environmental elements coming together that day. Its ok to get inspiration from a photo, but trust you photographer on ways to make the concept your own. Plus be willing to go with the flow. Your photographer may see some spectacular lighting or a spot that creates your own unique and magical picture. You hired them for their personal flair; let them create something tailored for you.
Example below from Kimberly Wright Photography. She told me she was taking them outside with some champagne at night for an idea she had. I am glad they agreed as I just adore this image she got.
Before we move onto wedding day tips, I want to lightly touch on budget. Everyone has various price points and I understand that getting a well experienced, top notch photographer sometimes cost more than people want to spend. I never encourage anyone to spend more than they are comfortable, but understand most charge their rates for very good reasons (trust me they are not trying to rip you off). I can usually tell right away the difference between someone who charges $1000 for pictures vs $5000. Its one of those, do what you are comfortable with and just make sure you are understand what you are getting.
Wedding Day Photo Tips
Now moving on to a few suggestions for the day of the wedding that may help your photographer capture the best images.
Have an Unplugged Ceremony
This trend has picked up a few years ago and continuing to be popular. Personally, I am a fan of it and think it should stay forever. If you haven't heard of an unplugged ceremony, its where guests are asked keep any electronic devices such as cell phones and camera's tucked away during the ceremony and not to use them. This is usually done for a couple of reasons. The first is that it can be distracting during the ceremony. Imagine you are a guest at a wedding and trying to see the couple. However, you cannot because a bunch of people in front of you are holding up their cell phones blocking the view.
The other reason is it really can prohibit your photographer from doing their job. A few years ago this was a big problem and many photographers complained about this ruining their pictures. Most couples love a ceremony image where it taken from the back of the room. All eyes are watching the couple exchange their vows and maybe a few tears. It sounds magical. Now imagine that picture with a bunch of arms and cell phones in the air. I remember a blog post I read where a photographer couldn't get the couple exiting the ceremony. Not only did so many use a flash that it washed his image out, someone jumped in the middle of the aisle between the couple and the photographer to snap their own photo. Would you rather have a picture of you leaving your ceremony taken by a professional with a high quality camera lens, or the one your aunt took with her cell phone? For this reason, many photographers have actually put unplugged ceremonies as a rule in their contract.
This beautiful outdoor setting maybe for the perfect back drop for this photo by Ali & Paul Co. The image would have been ruined though if people were holding up cell phones.
The family photos can be one of the most hectic parts of the day. Gathering up everyone up and getting everyone you want. First make sure you make a list of the photos you want with their names for your photographer. Keep in mind the more photos you have, the longer it will take. Next, make sure you tell those people you want them for photos ahead of time; and tell them the time they will take place and where to meet. A lot of times it is after the ceremony and you just ask those guests to hang around. I also suggest having a wrangler person or two. People you can share the list with who know everyone and can make sure they are there and don't wander off. You will waste a lot of time trying to hunt down a family member if they disappear.
Also its not uncommon for family to try and take their own pictures at the same time the photographer is snapping the family photos. Most photographers don't mind if that person is off to the side taking their own, as long as they are not interfering with them from doing their job. If you have someone jumping in and telling everyone to look at them or becoming photographer; politely ask them to stop. Tell them you are on a schedule and that you will find them during the reception for any additional pictures they want. Posing for guest photos during the formals will greatly increase the time of the pictures; and which photo are you more likely to hang in your house?
Finally if you have any elderly family or relatives with health concerns you want pictures with; I recommend doing those first. Get them done so they can take their time and get to the reception (or out of the elements if the photos are taken outside).
Another tip, when your ceremony is in a church, you may need to depart by a certain time; so be mindful of that. This wonderful family photo was taken by Tera Nelson.
The last thing I will touch upon is the timeline. You will need a timeline for the day and every vendor involved at the reception such as planner, DJ, caterer, and photographer will need it. Some photographers will help in the creation of it; and its important to discuss it with them. No one likes to be rushed for photos, so make sure they have an idea of what you want; they can tell you if the time frame will work to get all the images requested. This is very important if you plan to drive to places for pictures. Discuss options and be willing to make adjustments. The most common concern I've seen is a couple has cocktail right after ceremony; and they want to keep cocktail hour to 60 minutes. If there is no first look and a lot of family photos, your photographer usually needs more time than that.
Some couple's will work with their photographer to schedule time around sunset to try to capture the lighting in their pictures. Such as this image below from Times Eye Photography.
There are some tips and photographer friends feel free to chime in with your own!