The title of this blog really explains it all, so I'm just going to dive right into this topic!
As a planner, I guide couples in preparing for their big day. A large part of their wedding day is the photography, let's be honest. And boy is there a lot that goes into preparations for that.
With wedding season about to kick into high gear, I wanted to give couples some quick tips on preparing for photos on their special day and what things you'll want to remember to bring along with you day-of.
Let's dive in!
Some of the smallest details are forgotten and lost in the mix of everything else that needs to be taken care of on the big day. Remember to put together a “shoe box” as Lauren Shambo (of Lauren Victoria Photography) would say. In this “shoe box” include your full invitation set inclusive of the envelope with other elements like ribbon, ring box, perfume, necklace, etc.
TIP: do not forget the envelopes!
Put together a shot list. While you don’t have to put down exactly every photo you would like captured, it’s a great way to prepare your photographer so they have an idea of the types of photos you want. This also includes family combinations when it comes time for family portraits. You don’t want to miss that photo with Uncle Joe! Keep in mind, your photographer will most likely prep you with these kinds of materials prior so at least be ready when they ask for it and start thinking about these details.
My hope is that you’ll have already spent at least one session with your wedding photographer before the big day. That is why I always highly recommend you get your engagement photos taken with your wedding photographer. This is the perfect way to get to know your photographer and for your photographer to get to know you.
Your photographer is able to learn more about your personalities and which angles are best for you as a couple, maybe what lighting is best for you, etc. And if you’re uncomfortable in front of a camera, this is a great time to break the ice, not on your wedding day. If you do this, you’ll be much more relaxed on your wedding day and that will translate through in your photos.
Be in the moment
Forget your photographer is even there! Seriously. Your photographer wants to capture intimate, candid moments between the two of you. Not only during portraits but also during the wedding. Don’t pay attention to your photographer. Be in the moment, take it all in, and act as though your photographer is not even there. I learned this the hard way. Lauren Shambo (of Lauren Victoria Photography) was actually my wedding photographer. During my reception I kept looking at her and she kept signaling me to look away, to be in the moment. You’ll want these candid moments, I promise.
Don’t look at the camera
While smiling at the camera makes for some beautiful photos, don’t do this for all of them. Your photographer will help guide you and pose you for formal portraits but remember that this is about the love between you as a couple.
So stare at your SO, kiss them, hug them, rest your head on their shoulder, etc. These will be some of your favorite photos, guaranteed! Location and lighting
You may not have much flexibility here if you’ve already chosen your venue. But start thinking about creative spaces with a beautiful backdrop and natural lighting to capture getting ready portraits or outdoor formal portraits. Natural lighting is everything! The more of this you can get, the better off you’ll be.
Clouds are your saving grace. The best weather you can ask for on your wedding day is overcast. I know that might sound strange, but it makes for amazing photos. The rays from the sun can be too bright and actually make your photos worse. And we all know what rain will do…so make sure you have some pretty umbrellas on hand just in case. Schedule accordingly
I always always ALWAYS recommend a first look. Why? Because this allows you to create a day-of timeline that will allow for most of your photos to get taken before the ceremony. Plus, first look photos are incredibly intimate and beautiful in their own way. They are photos you'll be so glad that you have because they capture the moment you see each other for the first time and sometimes that's hard when they're taken at the ceremony, especially if you don't have 2 shooters to capture both of you in the moment, at the same time.
Side note: this also avoids excited guests trying to get "their shot" with a cell phone. A first look ensures you get an uninterrupted moment on your big day. Sometimes, the most important moment. You don't want to ruin that.
Having a first look also means that the only photos you have to take after the ceremony are family portraits which allows you time to enjoy cocktail hour with your guests and eat the food you spent all that money on! Also, you’ll get the majority of your photos taken during daylight. If you wait until after the ceremony depending on the time, you may have limited time to get photos done before the sun goes down. And the last thing you want to do is rush photos. Allot for at least 2 hours for photos, and I say that lightly because sometimes, you could even spend upwards of 3 hours on photos. Not kidding. Coordination
Unfortunately, photographers are always stuck with the job of playing double duty on a wedding day when the couple doesn’t hire a coordinator to manage the day. The photographer gets stuck with running the timeline and making sure your day flows well. I am here to tell you this - that is not their job and it will only put more stress on them because they can’t focus on what you actually hired them for…to capture your big day!
Hire a wedding planner to manage your day! Not only will it put less stress on your photographer, but it will give them the freedom to do their job and do it perfectly! There is one thing we all keep after our wedding day, and that is our wedding photos. This is one thing you don’t want to mess up. So allow your vendors to stay in their lane and do the job that you hired them to do. This will only happen if you hire a wedding planner to manage the day for you. You'll be glad you did.
Here is a list of elements you can pack in your "shoe box" for your photographer day-of:
Handmade silk styling ribbon on a wooden spool
Velvet ring box
Fresh floral from your wedding florist (if they don't have any, be sure to pack some dried floral)
Wax seal and press
Customizations (i.e. if you're getting married on the beach pack some seashells, if you're having a destination wedding hand over your passports for styled photos, etc.)