I find that a lot of brides have so much on their wedding planning plate that they often don’t think about how the elements of their wedding day play out photographically. So, I thought I’d provide 7 ways to create breathtaking photo ops on your wedding day so you get the best possible photos.
Of course, these are only ideas to get your wheels spinning, lovelies, so take the goods here and make them your own flavor of fabulous!
1. Do a First Look.
This moment is so special and just can’t be replicated. These photos are some of the most emotional, tender, and all-around incredible–that’s why we photographers love it so much. The First Look also gives us a chance to connect before the ceremony and lets us iron out any last-minute details.
2. Write a letter to your groom.
And give it to him at the First Look or another quiet part of the day. Creating personal moments where you can connect with each other and fully experience the day will make it magical–not to mention the magical photos it will produce. This can be achieved in so many ways–here’s where you let your creativity loose, baby!
3. Have a bridal party brunch
While bridal party formals are wonderful, I find that so many weddings don’t leave much time for experiencing and capturing the incredible relationships within the bridal party. Create an intimate part of the day where you can just be with your most favorite people, and the gorgeousness of genuine laughter and love will follow.
4. Make your reception unique to you.
If you’re just interested in candids of your guests, consider having the photographer there for the first half hour only. This is the time when photographers get antsy, because with 2 hours of “candids” we quickly run out of things to photograph. Sure, I’ll snag your shoes, rings, bouquets, and other things, but chances are I’ve already photographed these things in 1) better light 2) a location that’s more meaningful. If we’ve worked out your timeline right (getting there!) I’ve already photographed all the details of the reception when they were pristine, and I’m not going to waste my time or yours snapping photos of half-eaten meals or guests trying to eat in peace.
The mistake most brides make is this: they want the photographer there for the bouquet toss, or the getaway, or the first dance, but they leave the photographer with an unholy overabundance of down time between when the reception starts and when the couple leaves. Of course, you absolutely should not plan your reception around your photographer. However, you want to get the most gorgeous for your dollar, and your photographer wants to be creative and involved during the reception. No (good) photographer likes sitting around at a reception knowing you’re paying her to do so, but also not wanting to detract from your experience or your guests’ by rounding up people for posed photos. Your photographer (again, if he or she is good) will think of any and every possible thing to photograph during this down time. The point is, those possibilities are exhausted pretty quickly.
Want to know the absolute ideal reception schedule for the best photos?
I’d be thrilled to tell you. Send me an email, and I’ll send it on over. firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Talk to your photographer about your important people.
In addition to telling your photographer about your people before the wedding, let your photographer know who you’d like her to coordinate with throughout the day: the wedding coordinator, your maid of honor, etc. It helps so much when I can ask this person about special people to the bride and groom. When I have this information, I can provide beautiful photographs of the people you love, instead of fifty nine pics of your Dad’s old roommates from college. I also love coordinating with someone else for all the unexpected and last minute deets so that you are free to enjoy your day entirely, and get wrapped up in newlywedded bliss instead of whether I’ve gotten a photo of your grandmother.
6. Send over a short shot list that includes people, not poses.
If you hire a photographer you trust completely, you won’t need to add micromanaging her to your already way-too-long to-do list. Please, by all means, give her extra info that will help her out–your aunt is divorced and super sensitive about it, your little brother has a new girlfriend he’s bringing that mom and dad aren’t so crazy about, and the like–but unless there’s one specific shot you’ve always dreamed of having, let her do the job she was hired to do. You’ll be surprised that your photographer will actually be more creative when she feels that trust from you.
7. Consult your photographer when creating your wedding timeline.
Your photographer will be able to help you plan your day so you get all the beautiful photos you are dreaming of. She’ll be able to tell you how long she needs to get the family photos done, how much time she’ll need to photograph the details before the reception, and that your dream of having an individual photo of you with your 37 nephews means you’ll be sacrificing other photos. When you include your photographer from the beginning, you’ll be able to plan a day that fits your photography needs and ensures you know what to expect on your wedding day. You can also ask your photographer to send you an outline of what she’ll be doing and where throughout the day, so you’re never wondering where she is. (worst.feeling.ever.)
A lot of these things boil down to communication with your photographer. Which sounds a little boring. But. I promise my emails are laced with prettiness and unboring goodies–anything to make your day dreamier, my dear.
Brooke Schultz is a nice human who is a wedding photographer who loves capturing crazy passionate love and the happiest, most emotional moments in life. She’s into books you can touch, Nutella, and this (absolutely incredible) song (that you should go listen to with your beautiful ears because they will thank you.)
Drop her a line if you, too, are into authentic, unique wedding photography–she’d love to hear from you!