The perfect wedding album is the best way to relive your Big Day for years to come. We talked to four experienced and talented professionals to put together their five top tips to get the best possible wedding day photographs.
Do your research
The first step should start months before your wedding. Doug Keese of Arte de Vie has been professionally shooting weddings between New Orleans and Paris for the past 12 years and said each photographer has their own specific style. Although most are happy to work with their couple to get the photos they want, Keese said it’s important to hire a photographer whose style meshes well with yours. Word of mouth is great he said, but make sure to do your own research too — someone who was great for your best friend might not be the right pick for you.
“If it’s not a good match, no matter how good of a photographer you are, ultimately you won’t get the best results,” Keese said.
Communication is key
Marianne and Steve Sabrier of The Red M Studio have a saying: “Surprise your guests, not your photographer.”
If you do not communicate with your photographers, they might miss some of the best moments. Even if you’ve given them a shot list, the Sabriers said it is important to let your photographers know the details of the day.
“If your first dance ends with an epic dip, it’s nice for the groom to tell us when and what direction the dip will be, so we can make sure we catch that moment,” said Steve Sabrier.
Give yourself plenty of time
Mike Lirette of Mike Lirette Photography said one of the most common mistakes brides make is not giving themselves enough time.
“If you book your photographer for even just an hour more than you think you need to, you’ll be able to relax and take your time. You can definitely see the difference between a leisurely shoot and one that you were rushing through,” said Lirette.
The Sabriers recommend creating a timeline to ensure your photographers are in the right place at the right time. Allow time for transitions, said Marianne Sabrier. If you plan for even five minutes between your second line and your grand entrance, she said your photographer will have time to get in place and get their lighting right, which can make a world of difference.
Be aware of lighting
Good natural light can take a photograph from decent to drop dead gorgeous, so it’s crucial to understand the limitations of your space and plan around it. Lirette said a “first look” is often the best way to get well-lit shots, especially if you are having an evening or winter wedding and the sun’s pesky schedule is not always on your side.
“There’s typically better natural light earlier, so a first look is a good way to take advantage of the light,” said Lirette.
Trust your photographer
Austyn-Marie Hollowell of Austyn-Marie Captures said you are likely going to spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day, so trust is vital. Hollowell recommends visiting with your photographer before the Big Day.
“It is so important that you vibe well together,” said Hollowell. “The getting ready photos are usually some of the best, but if the first time I’m meeting you is when you’re in your underwear, you might be uncomfortable and that will show through.”
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” said Keese. All the photographers we talked to had a message that most couples do not like to hear: “Something will go wrong.”
No matter how much planning you do, you cannot control everything. However, if you have done your research, communicated with your photographer, given yourself enough time and hired someone you trust, you can probably rest assured that everything will work itself out.
“Your wedding day goes by in a flash, if you’re stressing about every little detail then not only will you miss out on your special day, but it’s going to show through on your photos,” Hollowell said. “Just relax, trust your vendors and make sure to have fun.”