Wedding Photography Guide: Comprehensive Handbook for Couples to Confidently Navigate Wedding Photos
This is a mini guide I created mainly for my wedding couples, though portrait subjects and families may find this helpful too. I’ve put together a few suggestions and ideas to help you prepare mentally and emotionally. My goal is that you go into the process feeling confident about having your photo taken and also not overthinking the process. When in doubt, focus on your partner, I will take care of the rest!
–To prepare in the last two weeks
Get as much rest as you can, eat well, stay out of the sun, and drink water. Avoid processed foods, sugar and alcohol. It will make a difference in your skin, body, and overall attitude. Practice your first kiss. Be mindful of hand placement, don’t let it be too fast [or too long]. Also think about the ways you hold each other’s hands, how you hug and embrace. Think about the ways you physically touch each other and how you maybe want that expressed in your photos.
–Don’t feel like you have to look at the camera and smile
There’s an art to feeling the presence of the camera without the need to pose. I’m constantly looking for your best sides and obsessed with finding your perfect angles and moments during the day. That said, if you feel pretty and want to get posey here and there, I’m here for ya. Try to forget I’m even around for everything else. Educate your wedding party and family members on this too. Everyone could be photographed at any time, not just for the staged photos.
–Embrace the imperfections
Even the most perfectly planned days don’t go fully according to plan. Prepare for the pivots. Your dress won’t lay flat for every shot, your hair won’t always fall into place, you may cry [happy tears], it may rain or be windy, you may rip your outfit and you may be running late. Let it be and let it go.
–The timeline may change
This will be the first and last time all of your people will all be together in the same place. I know photo time is valuable but I also know that you will never have this same kind of exciting time with your family and friends. I’ll fight for things I really think are worth it but overall I go with the flow of what you want. I am here to support you fully on this day.
–Portrait Mood & Vibe
In portraits, there’s a time for moody, more serious looks and a time for more relaxed, laughing, in-the-moment, happy looks. I try to maintain a balance but it’s ultimately up to you on how you want your photos to feel. I may show you a shot here and there so you can fall into the right mood or if we need to adjust. Sometimes I may be doing a silhouette or a reflection or I may ask you to hold something a little longer than what feels normal because I am trying to get a focus or mood perfectly orchestrated. Never be afraid to ask if you have questions. I’m happy to share as much [or as little!] as you need.
Three of my personal tips for posing:
- Slightly open your mouth without showing teeth
- Smile with your eyes
- Always maintain a little bit of mystery
–Making photo suggestions
I always appreciate it when you trust the process but if you have an idea I’m happy to play. I’ll usually check in and see how you feel about a backdrop or give you options if we are short on time. Have opinions and feel free to make suggestions, within reason. The same goes for requests from family and friends. I am here to help provide an excellent experience for them as well and will encourage them to be in photos throughout your day. I generally will not take cell phone photos for your guests, thanks for your understanding.
-I take breaks
You are my priority on your wedding day but please don’t be alarmed if I disappear! I’m likely charging or changing a battery, swapping out an SD card or film, working with the planner, venue coordinator, videographer, or second shooter to make sure the big ceremony and reception moments are set and ready, getting details or photos of guests, looking at the light and shadows [they always move] or planning a fun sunset or night shot for us. I rarely keep my phone nearby on a wedding day. Remember, too, that I am human and may just need water or a snack or a bathroom visit. I try to time these moments where you don’t even notice but if you want something photographed and I’m not there just wait. Chances are I’ll be right back 🙂
–Wedding Party Photos
I will do my best to line everyone up and get traditional and creative/fun something with the entire group. By nature, I am not a very loud person so please try to help with getting everyone quiet or having them listen for our photo time. I will show everyone with respect, I only ask the same of them.
–As a general rule of thumb
Focus on each other. Take time to check each other out, even when the other person isn’t looking. Have conversations with each other, do those things that make the other person smile or laugh. Whisper the sweet nothings, let the hugs linger, err on the side of extra tenderness and love. You will both look phenomenal, take it all in and I take care of capturing it all.
-It’s okay to cry! Don’t hold back.
-I’m not just snapping photos, I’m capturing the motion, the mood, the moment as it’s happening. Take your time throughout the day and during our portrait time.
-Encourage wedding party, friends and guests to keep their cell phones away. Moments look better when captured without screens.
-The day will fly by. There’s nothing in space-time continuums that can change this. Enjoy every, single freaking moment.
-My goal is to make you look incredible, to do the most I can in our time together and to capture this day as accurately and authentically as I can. Thank you for trusting the process.