Getting the Most Out of Your Wedding Photography

After months of preparation and hundreds of hours of meticulous planning, your wedding day will finally come -- then it will be over. If time flies when you're having fun, it travels at light speed on the big day. You will want to remember it forever and one of the best ways to do that is to have good documentation.

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Whether photography or videography or both, your creative team is there to capture every tender moment as the day goes whipping by. As wedding days are almost always hectic and sometimes stressful, why add to the pile? This guide is a way to ensure that you get the maximum quality out of your wedding photos while also reducing some of the stresses that brides tend to encounter on wedding day. Simply by considering the following ideas, tips, and tricks, you can put the camera to the back of your mind and enjoy your special day.

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Planning Your Wedding Day

  • Think about what shots are important to you. You can never share enough information with your photographer. The more info we have the better we will be able to encapsulate your vision and capture it.

  • If you are having a large wedding keep your photographer in the loop in regards to your timeline. The sooner we get a comprehensive timeline of the day, the better. It allows us to mentally prepare for the day and to build our own strategy.

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  • Hire a wedding coordinator. Wedding coordinators can be instrumental to keeping everything together on the day of the wedding. They will execute your timeline, wrangle guests for photos and activities, and most importantly, make sure the ceremony flows perfectly. Coordinators can take a huge load of stress off of your shoulders and allow you to better enjoy your day. If you need wedding coordinator recommendations feel free to reach out and I will be more than happy to help!

  • Get together a shot list of family members you would like to have in the family photos. The post ceremony pictures can be hectic with everything that is going on, especially if you have a lot of family members that you would like pictures with. A shot list can be a good way to keep everyone in mind. It also never hurts to recruit a friend to help you wrangle together and organize the people on the list day of. The aforementioned coordinator can help with that duty as well.

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  • Make sure to set aside “family time” between the ceremony and family photos. Directly after you seal the deal with the Kiss, you will be bombarded by family and friends all waiting to hug and congratulate you. Providing an actual set timeframe for this will not only allow you to enjoy the moment, it also allows your creative team to get set up for the ensuing family and bridal party photos.

  • Schedule the post-ceremony photos during the best lighting. The post-ceremony photos are some of the most important shots of the day, especially the ones of just the two of you. Therefor, the closest you can time this session to the hour before sunset the better.

  • When forming your timeline, it is always a good idea to leave plenty of wiggle room. If you have ever been in a wedding before, you know that things hardly ever adhere perfectly to plan. Events go long. People run late. Anything can happen. Leaving fifteen to twenty minutes between each event can make the day run so much smoother and help you avoid that rushing around feeling.

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  • Let me know if you have planned any surprises during the day that you would like photographed. Examples of this are: Gifts for the groom or bridal party, specialized ceremonies or events specific to your family or friends, celebrations of family traditions, and anything else that you have planned outside of normal ceremony and reception functions.

  • When looking at venues, hotel rooms, or Airbnb’s try to pick a preparation room with a lot of natural light. The preparation photos set the stage for the entire collection of photographs. It is designed to capture the elegance of the bride preparing for one of the biggest moments in her life. Natural light is always preferable over artificial illumination. It brings out the colors and makes the setting more vibrant.

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  • Plan enough time for hair and makeup. When it comes to making you look perfect for the big moment, hair and makeup artists are very fastidious. The process can take longer than you expect to complete. Setting aside ample time for this part of the day will make sure you do not have to cut into other portions or deviate from your timeline. I would suggest consulting with your hair and makeup artist to be sure on how long you will need to alot and if you can allow for a little extra time (just in case) I highly suggest it!

  • Mind your tan lines. If you like to spend a lot of time in the sun or if you go to the tanning salon, pay extra attention to avoiding tan lines that will be exposed by your wedding dress. Tan lines and low-cut dresses simply do not mix well with photos. Be sure to wear sunscreen when enjoying outdoor activities in the months leading up to the wedding. This is especially important if your date is in the late summer or fall after the majority of sun-drenched days is behind you.

  • Drink a lot of water. In the weeks leading up to the big day, it is important to maintain a hydrated body. Staying hydrated is the easiest way to ensure that your skin glows radiantly for the photographs.

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Day of your wedding

  • Be comfortable! While you are getting your hair and makeup done try not to wear any tight fitting clothing or undergarments. You want to avoid any skin imprints that tight clothing may leave. If you are planning on wearing a low back or strapless dress, this one's for you. You don’t want any skin imprints showing when you are ready to put on the dress..

  • Get all the details that you want photos of  in one spot before your photographer arrives. This may be your dress, shoes, rings, jewelry, invitation suite, any special elements items that are important to you.

  • Pretend that we don’t exist. Forget about the camera. As wedding photographers, unless we are posing you or getting the important shots, we like to largely go unnoticed. The candid shots throughout the day can be some of the most important as they capture the moods, themes, and feelings of the entire affair. So unless you are being posed for pre and post ceremony photographs, just go about your day as if we are not even there.

  • Get your makeup done first. You having your makeup done first can be clutch for several reasons: It maximizes the time you have between getting ready and the ceremony. It allows you to catch your breath and relax. I can capture you interacting with your bridesmaids as they get ready while looking your best. We can begin your portraits a little earlier while the girls are getting their makeup done. You can always get a refresh on makeup at the end if needed.

  • Wear your hair and makeup for how you feel the most comfortable. If you are comfortable in your skin on wedding day, it will show through in the photos. If you feel more comfortable with your hair down on any given day, it should be no different on your big day. If you aren’t the type of girl to wear a lot of makeup normally, consider doing the same day of. A comfortable bride is a confident bride. Asheville Makeup Artist, Emily Dawn says it best in her Bridal Style Guide.

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Your Wedding Ceremony and Reception

  • Consider having an unplugged wedding. One of the biggest obstacles for a wedding photographer is navigating and avoiding all of the phone-ographers trying to get shots of their own during the ceremony and first dances. Almost nothing is worse than lining up a shot of the first kiss or the first dance and having a phone or tablet popping into the frame as I snap the photo. A simple request to the guests asking them to be present and to keep their electronic devices put away can go a long way. Trust that the photographers you hired will get all the shots you want.

  • Hold the first kiss. This is perhaps the most crucial picture of the entire day. It symbolizes the sealing of the union and the culmination of your entire relationship to this point. The longer you hold the kiss, the easier it will be to capture. It is almost impossible to capture a peck. So let him wrap you up and show the entire gathering how much you love each other and try to hold the kiss for at least three seconds.

  • Ask the DJ to avoid colored laser lights and uplighting during the first dances. Having brightly colored lasers and uplighting during the beautiful first dances can cast strange lights on faces and wash out emotional moments. Once the dances are over and the party begins, all types of lights are fair game.

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At the end of the day, all of these tips are merely suggestions to help your day go smoother and by proxy get the most out of your photos. So breathe. You’ve got this. After all the planning and stressing, this magical day will be over as fast as you can blink. If any of these tips allow you to soak in some of that magic and increase your overall enjoyment, we have done something right. Let’s go get married!

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Looking for a wedding photographer? Lets chat.

We are Briana and Matthew. Based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Your Wedding and engagement photography experience is important to us. We would love the opportunity to talk with you and learn more about your story.