The other week I asked you all what blog posts you'd like to see next from me during the lockdown, and today I'm delivering on my promise! One of the answers I got was 'the best hints and tips on how to get the best wedding pictures', so today I thought I'd share just that with you all.
My top 8 tips for couples to get the best photographs from their big day.
1. Choose a photographer you get along with!
This sounds like a pretty obvious tip right? But I've heard so many stories about how photographers were rude on wedding days, how they shouted, or made the couple just feel uncomfortable. If any of these things happen, or you generally don't like your photographer, trust me, it WILL show through your photographs. You won't look relaxed and happy like you should, but tense and unsure instead.
My biggest tip to find the perfect fit photographer for you as a couple is to follow a few on social media, you'll get a sense of who they are as people to start off with. If you're interested in a photographer and know someone else who has had them, reach out and ask them what they thought. Even if you don't know that person well, couples are always only too happy to share their wedding experience with you and talk about the suppliers they loved.
The next step is to ask the photographer if they're happy to meet up with you over coffee (or if we're still in lockdown, a virtual coffee over video call). Most photographers are more than willing to meet with potential new couples and chat all things weddings, and just spending 30-60 minutes with a wedding photographer will give you a REALLY good idea if you feel like you'll get along with them during your entire wedding day.
2. Plan your timeline carefully.
What does this have to do with photographs you might ask. If your timeline is quite tight and you're behind time on the big day then you'll start to feel stressed and worried about everything being later than planned... this stress WILL show through your photographs. Your smile won't be quite as bright and your eyes won't sparkle quite as much. It's funny how much an emotion can show through a photograph.
If you're not quite sure about your timeline, feel free to send it to your photographer and ask if they think it looks ok, or if you should add extra time anywhere. They have worked hundreds of weddings and really do know the best timescale for everything.
3. Consider buying matching wedding morning outfits for you and the girls while getting ready.
Chances are you’ve spent A LOT of time thinking about what you’re going to wear on your wedding day, but what are you going to wear BEFORE you put on your wedding dress? I adore capturing the moments while a bride gets ready – the private moments, the special little details of her jewellery and accessories and the sweet laughter shared with the loved ones who join her in the room. Many brides get self-conscious about what they should wear during their getting ready part of the day. But don’t fret! I’ve seen brides getting ready in comfy pyjamas with flip-flops, stunning coordinated robes, and everything in between! As long as you’re comfy, relaxed and in an outfit that you won’t get too hot in and can get off without messing your hair, then you are starting the day right!
BUT, you're reading this blog because you want THE BEST photographs. Definitely consider matching robes and/or pyjamas for you and the girls. (Oh, and no leggings underneath those robes - it just spoils the look a little).
4. Get ready in a room with lots of natural light!
Natural light is KEY on a wedding morning in my eyes, so try and find a room to get ready in with a few windows or a lovely big one that lets in a lot of light. Natural light is so much nicer and more flattering than lamps. To go a little deeper into this, most indoor lights have a yellow cast to them and aren't that flattering on skin tone causing strange skin colour and harsh shadows on your face, so I always much prefer natural daylight which gives a soft cast of light across your face and no yellow-tones! These can always be fixed in the editing stage of photography, but nothing beats a perfect photograph straight off camera.
5. Love those emotional photographs? Why not plan a first look?
The Daddy/Daughter First Look: This is for all the brides who have a sweet spot in their heart for their dad. I have to admit that Daddy/Daughter first looks make me a little teary sometimes. For a lot of dads, this is when everything feels real and it hits him... “My baby girl is getting MARRIED!” These are precious moments to photograph and I highly, (if you have the time), encourage you to consider one. It doesn’t take long at all. The hardest part is making sure dad shows up on time! If dad doesn’t show up on time, the whole timeline can get thrown off or we’ll have to skip the daddy/daughter first look.
The Bridesmaids First Look: Some girls are as close to their father as they are to their bridesmaids, so would really like to make a MOMENT just for the girls! When you’re about to get in ‘THE dress’, we’ll clear the room of your besties, and have your mother/sister/aunt etc, help put on the dress. Once it’s on, we can let the girls come in and capture the first moment they see you - and what a moment it is!
It’s your choice if you’d like a daddy/daughter and/or a bridesmaid first look - but I’d highly recommend them!
6. Write a list of family formal photographs for your photographer before the big day.
I absolutely love meeting my couples’ family's on the wedding day! Family formals are normally my first interaction with some of them and so I love to have a game plan for this part of the day. You don't need the added pressure of thinking who you want in what photograph in the moment of your big day, so instead a few weeks before why not write a list of family formal photographs to give to your photographer. This means they have a list to work from and no one will be missed out of the line up in the heat of the moment. An example list is below... but don't forget to write how the family member is related and their first name. First names are SO HELPFUL for a photographer so they don't have to say, 'you, over there in the pink hat'...
Try to keep the number of photographs to around 10-15, more than that means you're stuck in front of the camera in one spot for SO LONG!
bride, groom, brides mum, brides dad
bride, groom, brides mum, brides dad, sibling(s)
bride, groom, brides grandparent(s)
bride, groom, grooms mum, grooms dad
bride, groom, grooms mum, grooms dad, sibling(s)
bride, groom, grooms grandparent(s)
bride & bridesmaids
groom & groomsmen
bride, groom, bridesmaids & groomsmen
7. Get stuck in and enjoy your big day no matter the weather!
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get during wedding season is, “Soooo, what do you do if it RAINS?!”
I want to reassure you that even if it rains, you will still have beautiful portraits and beautiful colours in your photographs. I know that rain isn’t ideal and no bride would wish for rain on their big day but if it happens, it happens... you can't do anything to change it. BUT what you can do is choose to have a positive attitude even if it is raining. I've had so many couples who are always more than willing to go outside while it's raining with big white umbrellas, and honestly by having a great attitude where you're up for anything, whether it's raining or not, you'll still come away with amazing photographs!
I would advise however to have a change of shoes for your wedding portraits though especially if the weather isn't ideal. It means you can keep your main wedding shoes dry and clean! I've had brides wear running trainers, wellies, flip-flops and sandals!
(Both images below are from rainy wedding days... you can't even tell on one of them!)
8. Don't micro-manage on the big day. Trust your wedding photographer and wedding coordinator.
This final one goes out to all the girls that love to stay in control (and don't worry - this would include myself!!) If you're constantly worrying whether people have enough drinks, whether the canapés have gone round all your guests, where the coordinators are because something it out of place etc then you aren't living in the moment and just enjoying your big day. If you're worrying about something it WILL show on your face in photographs.
So, try and put everything out of your mind and just remind yourself you have so many professionals around you on your big day (your venue coordinator, waiters, photographer, videographer etc) we all know what we're doing, and if there's any issue, tell one of us and we will fix it for you. There is no need for you to worry about anything on your big day.
Enjoy every minute of it because, trust me, it will fly by!