I know what you’re thinking – “But you’re the photographer, I thought that was YOUR job”. Well, part of it is, but these are some things you can do before and during your wedding day to make those wedding photos the memories you are expecting and make your pictures better.
1. Plan in time for a “photo walk”. Its that 30 minutes or so after your formals, but before your reception starts. We need this 20-30 minutes of alone time with you and your new husband to create some of those relaxed romantic portraits that everyone loves. Its from this session that 90% of our enlargements are made. Its where your thank you card shot will come from….this is the number one way to ensure great images. Give us the time to take them. So please, plan it into your schedule.
2. Plan in a realistic amount of time for your hair and makeup. This is the number one time line killer at weddings. Remember, that they will likely have more to do than expected with all the girls there, and Mom’s too. Everyone will want a little touch up done, which can easily put you behind schedule. Nothing adds stress to your day like running behind.
3. Don’t overdo the makeup. This is especially true for those of you that normally don’t wear much. You want to look like you would normally look to go out for the evening. Many brides think that they need more makeup for the “pictures”. This simply isn’t true. Some makeup is fine, but you don’t want to appear drastically different than normal. Same goes for sun tanning. The day before you get married is not the time to get a tan; and the spray on kind will make you look orange.
4. Drink responsibly . Sounds silly, and we aren’t trying to sound preachy here, but moderation is the key, you don’t want to get so sloshed that you cant remember the day. (Or the night 🙂 ). We have had many a bride that did or said things they certainly wouldn’t have had they been less intoxicated. No one looks really good when they’ve had too much to drink. And as a corollary to this, you should make it a point to eat something, as it helps you hold what alcohol you do drink, and keeps your energy level up all day too.
5. Make sure all your important family members know they are supposed to go immediately following the ceremony for the formal photographs. If all the players are there, we can do the formals in less than 25 minutes for most families. However if we have to hunt down Uncle Harry…then all bets are off.
6. Its your party, ENJOY it!! We see lots of brides that are obsessed with getting to “see” every single guest that they miss their own reception. That’s a shame, especially considering the money you are spending on it! (oh yeah, it does give us much better photo ops too 🙂 )
7. Here’s a big one. During your key dances…i.e. your first dance, and parent dances…LOOK AT EACH OTHER!!! This is the time you have been waiting for. Go ahead, get emotional, get mushy, and forget about all the guests. Forget about me. If I need you to look into the camera I’ll ask trust me, but what I REALLY want is you two looking into each others eyes on this most special moment. Same goes for your parents dances. Remember this is a HUGE moment for them too, so acknowledge the stature of the moment by sharing it with them…look them in the eye…you wont be sorry!!
8. Be on time. This goes without saying of course, but like I said above, nothing ups the stress levels quite like running behind. Some things are gonna just seem to run late, and that’s no problem; however a little pre-planning in these problem areas can ensure that your day runs smoother and your blood pressure remains much lower. I know several of these tips have centered around time, but it truly is the one mood killer. Its hard to stop and smell the roses….when you’re running late already. The first thing that gets cut when you are behind is always the photo time, (see #1) which should be the one area that is never touched. Nevertheless, it is.
9. Delegate all the tasks for the day. That’s why you have bridesmaids!!! Their whole job for the day is not to party, its to help you!! Sure they get to party….but job number one is to make sure that you are attended to. (thus the term attendants). The less stuff you have to worry about on your big day the better. Delegate and relax.
10. Plan your exit strategy. This avoids you incurring overtime charges from your DJ and caterer, and brings the event to a nice emotional closure. (which of course makes for great pictures too). That way you can get out of dodge, and the guests will know its over, and not feel obliged to stay, and by doing #9 above, all your stuff will be attended too while you whisk off to your honeymoon!!
11. Ok I know this is an extra, but Schedule an engagement portrait session. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with wedding day images. Truth be told, an engagement session not only results in some great images that you might want to use to build a custom guest sign-in book out of, but it allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera. It also gives both you and the photographer a chance to learn how to work together. When the big day comes around you’ll be more at ease while having your photos made.
It is likely we may expand upon this list, but if you do your best on these 10, you and your photographer will be well on your way to great images!!!