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Wedding Photography: My Lessons Learned

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My biggest regret about my wedding day is the photography I have to remember it by. I look at nearly all the pictures and cringe saying, “That's not me” or “What a ridiculous pose.” When you are paying a lot of money to preserve memories of your special day, you want to do it right. Here is my advice to future brides so you don't make the same mistakes I did.

Most important: Open your mouth

If you feel uncomfortable taking a photo, you'll also look uncomfortable and it will be a picture you cringe looking at when you get them back. If it's not you, seems awkward, or actually makes you mad, speak up. There's no point wasting precious time on photos you don't want or don't like.

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The Scenery may look great in those photo but we don’t!

Make Your Detailed Shot List

Be very explicit with what you want. Don't just write ‘Bride with Bridesmaids’ Put where and with what posing you want, especially if your photographer has not been to your venue. Start a Pinterest board showing the exact photos you want to mimic and share it with your photographer for visual examples.

Assign a member of your bridal party, or a friend or relative not in the party to have your shot list or Pinterest board open. They can make sure you're capturing what you want, especially when you're not thinking quite straight!

Research Your Photographer

Check their portfolios and check them again. Are there a good blend of portrait, candid, and action photos? Are there mostly only ceremony and staged photos or do they capture the crazy dance party that happens after? It definitely takes a wide blend of skills to do it all which is why it would be great to have at least 2 photographers if you can.

Ask for references from past brides. Talking to real brides, candidly, can really help you get a feel for what that photographer can bring to your wedding. How did they interact with the bridal party, did they listen to requests, were they organized?

A photographer's website is going to show you a limited selection of their best photos, but what about the others? Are the majority fabulous or just those few posted? See if a past bride will grant permission to see their entire collection to check.

Assign Others to Capture the Moments

We live in a social world with wedding hashtags being almost as big of a decision as your venue. Of course you're going to get photos from all angles from guests but will you get those photos in raw form after the fact? We all know downloading from Facebook drops the quality so set up a community Dropbox or share your email address so you can collect them after the wedding.

Do some of your friends have great cameras? Ask them to bring and snap away, being respectful of the professional photographers of course.

The morning of can be a very busy time. Hair, makeup, mimosas, and remembering to eat take up a lot of time. Will any of you remember to snap some selfies? Probably not enough. Have a close friend or relative who isn't in the bridal party share your morning with a special role. Give them a camera and tell them to capture the moments. I so wish I did this. My aunt and cousin were only 3 rooms away and I never even considered asking and missed out on some funny beautification and bottle popping memories.

Have Fun, Be You

If you are serious people or like the non-smiling portraits, by all means go for it. That wasn't me or my husband, yet we have lots of those but we don't have many cheesy grins, laughing, or loving photos showing our personalities. We're pretty fun people…my husband is the biggest clown and I love a good party. Standing still gazing off in opposite directions gives no indication of who we are as a couple. Be sure your photographer can showcase you two in the happy way you'll want to remember your wedding day by.

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This one isn’t going on the wall at home…. As one of my friends said, at least if you’re looking in the same direction it would be symbolic of your future together.

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