Let's be real, photography is an investment. And regardless of how much of your wedding budget goes to the photographer, everyone wants the same thing: photos from your wedding day that paint you in the most beautiful light possible. Which is where choosing the right photographer comes into play.
If you're looking for bright and airy photos with a lot of poses and eye contact with the camera, we may not be the right fit. And that's okay! There are tons of photographers out there and just as many styles to go with us all. This is why it's so important to choose a photographer who's style and personality reflect your own. If you're into honest documentation, story-telling, and candid moments with an artistic, moody editing style, then we're going to make magic together.
All of my wedding packages include a complimentary engagement session so I can get a head start on the relationship building. It starts with our open communication, but it really gets cemented during your engagement session. This is where you'll get to see my approach in action - from the 'posing' that really isn't about being posed at all, the prompts and crazy things I do to get you to laugh, and how I get to show real emotion without feeling forced or awkward. This is your preview for wedding day. It's also a learning experience for me, and I'm the happiest little sponge, just soaking up all the information you're giving me. The way you interact with each other, the difference between your fake laugh and your belly laugh, your specific love language and how you communicate with one another. And I promise I'm super fun to be around, so you're also getting a new friend out this whole thing. If that's not relationship building, I don't know what is!
But are there still things you can do to ensure you're getting the most out of your wedding photos?
Absolutely! In addition to finding the right photographer for your needs, building a relationship with them, and booking your engagement session, there are a few specific steps you can take to help your photographer out and ensure you're getting the best possible outcome when it comes to your wedding photos.
1. BUILD A TIMELINE WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
There's a HUGE difference between sending a pre-created timeline to your photographer and letting them build one for you. Most couples have never built a timeline for a wedding day before, where as most wedding photographers have. I pretty much insist on creating a timeline for my couples, lol. Seriously, I don't even ask anymore. I bring it up early, I send rough drafts, sample timelines, and real wedding day schedules from past weddings I've done to show my couples that I know exactly what I'm doing and they can feel confident in knowing I've got their entire day covered. When I'm able to create my own schedule, I'm better able to customize it to fit your specific wedding needs.
This one may seem obvious or even silly, but it's common (and totally normal!) to have some butterflies or anxious feelings on your wedding day. Try to relax and enjoy the day! When you're walking down that aisle to exchange vows with your soulmate, be sure to keep your chin up, smile a lot, and have that dopey love-struck look on your face. That photographs beautifully! Try to avoid biting your lips, looking down (or up), or closing your eyes too much. Crying - a form of raw emotion - always, ALWAYS acceptable. And remember folks, RBF is serious medical condition and if you disagree, you obviously don't make a living photographing people when they're not always looking.
3. KISS NATURALLY
One of my favorite prompts is the 'almost kiss'. Get close, closer, closer, but whatever you do, don't kiss! This action usually gets me a ton of portraits, from kisses, to giggles, to that sweet and fleeting moment right before your lips touch. Oh yeah, it gets steamy sometimes! But if you pucker up your lips like you're preparing to take an epic selfie, this shot can lose some of it's magic. You should go in for a natural kiss, as if there isn't a stranger (hey we're friends now!) staring at you behind a camera. If that's not working for you, you can get real close and just smile. This still makes for a really sweet moment and can often turn into a giggly candid portrait. Win win!
4. SLOW DOWN
Again, it's totally normal to feel anxious on your wedding. But one thing people tend to do when they feel anxious or awkward is activate that 'flight' sense. This sends them speeding down the aisle right after their first kiss, and can result in some missed portraits. I always recommend taking a nice slow walk back, looking at each other, waving to guests, just really taking it all in and enjoying the moment. I like to have my couples stop when they get to the end of the aisle for a kiss!
5. KEEP YOUR GETTING READY ROOMS TIDY & CLEAN
The rooms you're getting ready in don't have to be perfect. In fact, if everyone's chowing down on Jimmy John's before getting dressed, that's a unique element that ties into the story of your day. I wouldn't want to miss that! But having a tidy space, cleared of trash and clutter when you're getting dressed really elevates your photos from snapshots to works of art. And I want to give you every bit of that. So ask one of your bridesmaids or a family member/friend to do a good sweep for water bottles, garment bags, and any clutter that may otherwise take our eyes off the subject - YOU!
6. HAVE YOUR DETAILS READY TO GO
Flatlays are a great way to artfully document the little details that went in to making you day as unique and special as you. To save time and leave more room for creative freedom to thoughtfully arrange your items, gather all of your accessories, invitations (jewelry, shoes, rings, veil, etc.) and anything meaningful and put them in a box to set aside until I arrive.
7. UNPLUGGED CEREMONY
I don't like to say anything could 'ruin' your photos. I strongly believe everything that happens on your wedding day, good or not so good, contributes to your story. With that being said, having an unplugged ceremony is a great way to ask your guests to be fully present during the height of your newest adventure as partners. You invited them to be there to witness your commitment to one another and to join you in the great celebration of your love! Asking your guests to keep their phones away during the ceremony is simply asking them to be there in the moment. I understand that in the time of social media, everyone puts a lot of value on 'likes & shares'. But I promise you, the only photos you need, and really, the only photos you'll want are the ones I'll be giving you. Ask you officiant to make the announcement of an unplugged ceremony before you walk down the aisle.
8. ASK YOUR OFFICIANT TO STEP ASIDE DURING THE FIRST KISS
Your first kiss is one of the most important photos of the day. It's the only photo that is absolutely required on your wedding day. It signifies this magical moment of ending one adventure and beginning a new one. As a pivotal part in the story of your wedding day, I want to capture that moment, freeze it time and let you hold it forever. And I want it to be a moment between just you and partner. That moment can get a little lost if there's another face just sort of hanging out the background, lol. So consider asking your officiant to simply step aside right before you share your first kiss, to give yourselves a truly magical and uninterrupted experience.
9. MAKE A LIST FOR FAMILY PORTRAITS
Family formals can be a high source of stress for everyone involved, including photographers. But this part of your wedding day doesn't have to be that way! In creating a list, you're giving your photographer a road map to happiness. I may not know who everyone is, but Scott can call out names while I rotate through your family members. It's also helpful to prep your family before wedding day. Let them know they'll be needed and to stick around after the ceremony. If everyone's already there and waiting for me, these portraits will be done in a flash.
10. HAVE A ROCKSTAR BRIDAL PARTY
When choosing who you want to stand with you on your wedding day, be sure to fill it with people who love and support you and have your best interest at heart. After doing this for more than 6 years, I can promise you, there's almost nothing worse than a beautiful portrait filled with mostly happy people. When one person looks like they don't really want to be there, it's extremely noticeable. Your eye travels right to them and they are essentially stealing the moment from you. It's a painful sight as a photographer. Sometimes I can make some photoshop magic happen, but not always. By surrounding yourself with a bridal party that cares about you and wants the absolute best for you, you're guaranteed to have portraits filled with love and laughter.