Top tips for getting fantastic wedding photos
A bit of a different blog post this week, it’s another advice feature! I really love writing these, I gather so much knowledge and wedding wisdom from attending and photographing so many of them, it feels lovely to write it all out and be able to share it. I’ve been thinking about writing a post full of tips for getting fantastic wedding photos for a while, so I’m glad I’ve finally got the tips out of my brain and onto my website!
I know some people worry about their wedding photography and get anxious about their photos not being what they imagined. So I believe that using this advice, and discussing your needs with your photographer, you will get a set of photos (and fabulous memories) that you will cherish forever.
1) Spend the day together
I know what you’re thinking, “errr it’s our wedding, obviously we’ll be together”. Yes you’ll be at the same venue, and at certain times of the day, e.g. when you cut the cake or do your first dance, obviously you will be together. But I’m talking about those in-between times. When you are walking from the ceremony to the reception drinks, when you are working your way around the tables and chatting with your friends, when you’re playing lawn games in the sunshine before sitting down for the meal. If you hold hands and walk together, chat with friends and family together, and play games together, that gives your photographer the opportunity to get some completely unposed and relaxed photos of you. Real memories of moments together on your wedding day.
Of course you will still get the couple’s portraits, they are always lovely and so beautiful. But if you really want some totally natural and candid photos, ones when you didn’t even know your photographer was there taking it, then you are far more likely to get them if you are in each other’s company for as much of the day as possible.
2) Allow plenty of time in your schedule
You know when you can tell just by looking at someone if they are feeling tense, stressed or rushed? The last thing you want is to look at your wedding photos and see that look on your own face. It is so important to make sure that you have plenty of time in the morning when you are getting ready. You want to relax and enjoy that time!
After the ceremony you will want to have some time to mingle, chat with people, have a canapé or three! However we also need to do all the group shots in this time and ideally have a couple’s portrait session too before you sit down for your meal.
The group shots tend to take longer than you think, the phrase “herding cats” springs to mind! Luckily I have plenty of experience with this and hopefully you will have appointed a couple of useful assistants to help me gather people so we can get through them as swiftly as possible. I would allow at least 1.5 hours between the end of the ceremony and the start of the meal. 2 hours would be even better!
3) Embrace the weather
Obviously no one wants rain on their wedding day, but at least if you are prepared for rain it won’t be such a disaster if it does happen. I recommend getting the following:
- Clear umbrellas – at least 4 of them. This way we can still do some group shots outside if it is raining! Clear umbrellas are great because they are not distracting in photos and they still let all the light fall on your face. You can get them really cheaply on Ebay or Amazon, so I would recommend ordering a few before the wedding just in case.
- Suitable footwear for wet weather. This could be some wellies (perhaps white ones, or ones in the same colour as your flowers or bridesmaid dresses could be fun!). Alternatively, if you know you’re not going to want to wear your heels all day anyway (or if you will be walking on grass a lot) you might want to get some flat shoes anyway, e.g. some converse or just some flip flops.
I think that when it comes to rain on your wedding day, it’s all about your attitude. If you view it with a positive attitude and are determined to have a fun and fantastic day anyway then you will have a fab time regardless. As long as you are willing to chance getting a little bit wet we can still get you some beautiful photos, so please don’t worry too much about the typical British weather!
4) Have an engagement shoot
Yes, it might sound a bit cringey, but I promise you it’s so worth doing if you are at all nervous about your wedding photography. An engagement shoot allows you to practice being in front of the camera, and even if you feel a little awkward at first (we all think we look like Chandler Bing when a camera points at us!) I promise by the end of the session you will feel a lot more relaxed about it. You might even have a good time!
An engagement shoot also allows you to get to know your photographer a bit better before your wedding. This is great because it means you will be more comfortable in their company. They are going to be around all day on your wedding day, you want to feel relaxed around them!
Also – bonus point – you’ll get some lovely photos from the shoot! Some people use these on their save-the-dates or even their invites, and some will happily put them up in frames at home.
5) Consider the light
You may not have even thought about this, but natural light is absolutely the best light for photography. As photographers we will look at venues and spaces with quite a different eye to most people, and that is because we are looking for the light. Ceremony rooms with big windows at the front so the couple are lit up by lots of natural light are a photographer’s dream! When you are viewing your venue remember to consider this, and not just in the ceremony room. Is the room where you’ll be getting ready quite small and dark with only one tiny window? That will be a tricky place to get beautiful getting ready photos.
Also think about how the light changes at different times of day. This is most important in the winter when the sun sets at 4pm. In order to get the natural light portraits and group shots that you will have seen on my website you will need to have your ceremony quite early in the day to make sure that there is time before the light disappears. You could even consider a “first look” which means doing your couple portrait session privately before the ceremony.
Summer weddings have their own difficulties too! If it is very sunny it’s lovely for standing outside having a drink in the sun but it can be tricky for photos. Bright sun can cause squinting if you’re facing towards it, hazy backlighting if the sun is behind you, and unflattering shadows under the eyes and nose if it’s right overhead. None of this is ideal in all situations (I quite like the hazy backlighting but it’s not for everyone!), so you may find that your photographer is looking around for shady areas to do the group shots and couple portraits.
Getting fantastic wedding photos
All of this is useful for you to bear in mind, but it’s only meant as advice. If you book me as your wedding photographer I will make it my mission to get you the best wedding photos you could ever hope for, and I will work with you to make sure I know exactly what is important to you.
I hope you have found these tips helpful. If you’re planning a wedding I have a few other blog posts that you might find useful about engagement shoots, bridal prep photos and planning your group photos.
If you think you might like to book me for your wedding photography then get in touch, I would love to hear from you!