As someone who has attended a bazillion weddings, sometimes I forget that things I think are assumed, clients have never even considered. I wish I could scream these things from a mountain top, but I don’t have a mountain. However, I do have a blog. So here we f-ing go. These are my 7 tips for amazing wedding photos.
- Clean up your shit.
As your wedding crew is getting all glammed up, please remember that I’m not a fucking magician. I can only document the scene in front of me. It doesn’t bother me at all to shoot a messy room, and sometimes it can make for super cool candid moments. However, if you’re not into that, please try to keep the room as clean as possible.
While we’re on the topic, I totally get that getting ready in a hotel room seems like the obvious choice, but there are downsides to consider. As far as personality goes, most hotel rooms are a 0 out of 10. In the Vancouver area, booking a single room is insanely expensive and can also be a tight space for a group of people to get ready. Consider getting ready at your family home, your own home, or a super unique Airbnb!
- Go Unplugged
I know you’ve heard it before, but please for the love of all that is holy, ask everyone to put their phones away. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I’ve looked up while shooting a ceremony and thought, holy shit, this is insane. We are in the era of social media. Our grandmothers have Facebook – and also – giant iPads with cameras. I love a good Instagram story, but there is a time and place.
It is simply not enough to ask people to silence their phones. The specific verbiage that is the most effective is, “The couple has asked that no one take any photos or video during the ceremony, they want you to be present and in the moment with them.”
Let’s set aside for one minute the fact that your very expensive wedding photos will be riddled with hands and cell phones in the air. The reality is that when you are recording something with your phone, you’re no longer engaged. This is especially true at small weddings and elopements. I’m notorious for asking guests to put their phones away – with a smile of course.
- Dressing your People
So you’ve booked your venue and vendors, chosen your dream wedding outfits. Now what the hell is your wedding party going to wear?
The obvious choice is to visit a bridal salon, right? Wrong! Think outside the box! Matching bridesmaids dresses/suits are a thing of the past. These days, there are so many other options! This is a great opportunity to inject some personality into your wedding by embracing your friends’ personal style!
Let them wear separates! Jumpsuits! Mismatched dresses! There is so much more visual interest in your wedding photos when your friends don’t look like carbon copies of one another.
- Timing your Ceremony
The time you choose for your ceremony determines everything.
For example, if you and your people are party animals looking forward to all of those sweet-ass dancing photos, consider holding your ceremony a little later in the day. The earlier you plan your ceremony, the more it can hit you in the wallet, because it adds to the hours you’ll be paying your photographer/videographer.
If you choose a ceremony at sunset, you’ll need to do a first look in order to have your portraits finished before it gets dark. However, if you want portraits at golden hour, you’ll need to plan your ceremony a bit earlier, in order to time your photos just right.
The reality is wedding day lighting is completely inconsistent. An experienced photographer will know how to work with all types of lighting scenarios. Planning your timeline can be a bit overwhelming. I always recommend reaching out to your photographer or wedding planner for their recommendations, which leads me to my next point.
- Hire a Wedding Planner
These saints are the linchpin of the wedding industry. They are your Yoda. If you’re worried about how you’re going to pull everything together, don’t. Just hire an expert.
If having a planner for the entire wedding isn’t in your budget, consider hiring a month-of planner, or even a day-of coordinator. It will be the best money you’ll ever spend. A great planner knows a shitload of people in the industry. They can recommend killer vendors and bring your vision to life. Your planner will take on any issues at your wedding, saving you from dealing with anything.
A great wedding planner is extremely organized, assertive, and gets shit done.
Your wedding day timeline will be kept on track, and your focus will be on enjoying yourself instead of freaking the fuck out. In turn, your photos will be SO MUCH BETTER.
- First Dance upon Entering the Reception
First dance woes: You want to dance for the first time with an audience, but all of your guests are at the bar. You end up dancing anyway, with only your friend’s girlfriend you’ve met once at the table in front of you, and she’s on her phone. Wah Wah….
Solution: Do your first dance as you enter your reception. People are freaking jazzed to see you guys come in, they stand up to cheer. They already have drinks, and their asses are in their chairs. They’re ready to party, not ready to fall asleep after eating.
Your first dance photos will be stunning and emotional, surrounded by all of those people that you love.
- CHILL THE FUCK OUT
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The couples who are the chillest end up with the best photos. This is not about being/looking perfect. That’s a bunch of bullshit. So stop worrying if your lipstick is getting on his/her face, and just kiss the shit out of them. Who cares if your mother-in-law is annoying the piss out of you, let it go. So one of your friends have had a little too much to drink and are making stupid jokes during photos, who cares? NOT TODAY.
Think about why you’re getting married, laugh together, genuinely enjoy each other. Focus on that. The rest will work itself out. With my help of course.
These are my 7 Tips for Amazing Wedding Photos. You can listen to me, or you can just do whatever the fuck you want.
I’m here for whatever you’ve got.