Guide to Getting the Best Wedding Photos
You are engaged and on the exciting journey of planning your wedding day. There is so much to keep track of – the venue, cake, flowers, catering, décor, music, dress… the list feels endless. You are investing a lot into your wedding day because you want to make sure that every little detail is perfect. It is similarly important that all these details are captured beautifully to be remembered and appreciated long after your wedding ceremony.
How do you make sure that you and your photographer get the most out of your wedding photos? This guide will help you navigate the process…
Dramatic? Elegant? Bohemian? Romantic? Sophisticated? Vintage? There are so many options to choose from. They key is that the style you choose should reflect your personality. Discuss this with your wedding photographer.
Take time to plan what you want to say, every little detail counts, from your dress to your shoes, your hairstyle and look, the Bridesmaids attire and not forgetting the Groom and his Bestmen.
The location and every detail right down to table décor play an important role in setting the style for your wedding.
From the bridal room to the church, venue and reception areas, location and lighting plays a very important role. Spoil yourself and take time when choosing where you and your bridesmaids are going to get dressed, whether it be at home, a hotel or a wedding venue, make sure you have adequate space in the room.
The final moments of dressing and preparations can be tense and by giving yourself more room to move you will make it easier for all. Keep it tidy and get rid of all those bags, vanity cases, dress covers and shoe boxes, which will clutter the room.
A good storage option for these items is a large cupboard or even the bathroom – ask your Bridesmaids to keep the room tidy for you and get these loose items out of sight: When time starts running out, you will appreciate an uncluttered room.
Time waits for no one, and on your wedding day the clock seems to tick faster, timing is a vital key to the success of your wedding imagery. Giving yourself enough time prepares you for any unexpected mishaps – mishaps that can cost you dearly.
The more time you give yourself, the less rushed you will feel on the day. Remember it takes one Service Provider to arrive late, a button may break, a Bridesmaid’s dress may no longer fit, and the hair and makeup often takes longer than expected.
The weather may change, it could be a rainy day or a scorcher of a summer’s day, so prepare for the unexpected. You want to take it easy and you want to look your best for your man when you walk down the aisle, so give yourself enough time to do so.
Good practice is to have all your personal things completed at least two hours before the church service. Your bridesmaids should be dressed and ready to assist you when the photographer arrives. Your portrait session should be fun and relaxed, not a stressful photographic shoot.
If possible, have your parents with you during this time for a short while, so that they can also be included. This insures that we can spend more time with you after the service as you will already have photographs with your parents.
Ladies | make-up & that dress!
Take time choosing a dress that complements your body shape and makes you feel beautiful
Preparation is key when choosing your dress, shoes and jewelry. Choose a dress that you are comfortable in, because you are going to be in it all day. Don’t just slip it on and off and say, “that’s the one!” Find all those niggling things that may bother you and sort them out before the wedding day.
Walk in the dress, sit in it, roll over on your left and right hip, cross your legs, fold your arms, lean forward and make sure the dress doesn’t squeeze too tight.
Take along your wedding shoes and walk and walk until you are sure nothing hooks or keeps slipping down your figure.
The last thing you want is to be in an uncomfortable dress which may irritate you for most of the day – be aware that it will show in your photographs. The same applies for those beautiful shoes! Keep the makeup simple, natural and clean, the way you would like to be seen in years to come. Think soft and gentle, just enough to give you confidence.
Although your bridal makeup will be slightly heavier than day to day makeup, avoid the dark and heavy stuff, and that includes your fingernails too. Going for a makeup trial a few weeks before the wedding is essential.
Avoid using sunbeds or tanning after your makeup trial, as your makeup artist will take note of which shades were used during your trial and may have to make unexpected changes to your foundation on the wedding day due to changes in your skin tone.
Drinking at least two litres of water a day in the weeks leading up to your wedding will leave you more radiant than any amount of makeup could accomplish. Stay well hydrated and the results will speak for themselves.
Choose a hairstyle that matches your face. Grace and elegance are key, and your hairdresser will be able to tell you what look works best for you. Avoid the “hanging hair” look, unless it suits you, and ensure that it does not cover your face. Bring along extra hair clips as you never know when they may come in handy.
Choose your bouquet wisely and make sure that the flowers can stand up to the demands of the day. Choose colours that reflect the style of your wedding and avoid big, heavy bouquets as they can become cumbersome to carry around all day
Gentlemen, be cool and calm, it’s a very big day for you too. Choose your Bestmen wisely; they are there to assist you and make your day as enjoyable as possible. Your style and attitude play a great role on the day.
Give yourself enough time to get dressed. Grooming is key to how you look and feel on your wedding day. Be ready for your photographs at least one hour before the photographers visit the Bride. You can always undress after the photo session and relax by the pool for a while before the ceremony. And remember, never have your bachelor’s a day or two before the wedding, it’s very unfair on your wife to be if you are exhausted or dehydrated on your wedding day.
Stay out of the sun the week before the wedding, and wear sunblock if you are going to be outdoors. Oh, and don’t forget the rings!
The most important part of the day has arrived, so think about the following when planning the service. If it is an outdoor service, think about where the sun will be. It is better to have the sun behind you than in front of you, and that includes your guests.
If the ceremony is taking place under a tree, remember there will be dappled light which may create sunspots all over your dress. The same applies for a manmade structure, you don’t want sun stripes and shadows across your face. A simple solution for this would be to put up a small canopy to stand under during the ceremony which will create even light over your clothes and faces.
Consider umbrellas for your guests if they are going to be exposed to the sun, and don’t forget the possible heat on the day. For an indoor ceremony, make sure that there is enough space for you and the bridal retinue. If not, rather have them seated to give you more space to breathe. Big flower arrangements indoors may look great, but often they are a serious hindrance.
Place them carefully so that they do not obstruct the view of the photographer or your guests. Large speakers for the PA system should also be placed with care so that they are not an obstruction. Fresh air is of great help, and a large amount of light – preferably natural light, will ensure beautiful ceremony photographs.
Try to avoid dark gloomy churches, as romantic as they may seem to be. Remember that your videographer may require bringing in spotlights in a dark location and thereby add to the summers’ heat!
Take your time when walking down the aisle and ask your Bridesmaids to do the same, no need to rush in on top of one another. Leave enough space between each other so that the photographer can get clear photographs of each Bridesmaid and the Bride walking down the aisle. It’s vital to be able to capture those important moments. Consider how close to the alter you will stand during the ceremony, it’s not only you who would like to see the exchange of the rings.
Remember these are important images that you would like captured, so consider your photographer and where they will be standing at the time.
Take a slight pause during these moments to enjoy the moment and allow the photographer to capture it. Please do consult with the photographer before the wedding day concerning your church or minister’s policy regarding photographs during the service.
Although the photographer will remain discreet, some may not like images taken during a particular part of the wedding and others may not like fill in flash if there is not enough light in the church.
Family & Friends
Make a list of family members you require in the formal family photo session after the service. Try to limit these to your immediate family, grandparents and spouses.
There is no need to include a long list of aunties, uncles and cousins unless there is someone in the extended family that you would specifically like to include. Make a comprehensive list and send it out to all the family members required to be at the family photo session before the wedding so that they are well informed. So often family members that need to be in the photographs wander off to see long-time friends and family forgetting that’s its eating into your personal photographic time.
Choose somebody who knows the family well and has a commanding voice to organize the groups of people for the photographs. If planned well, it should not take longer than saying “I Do!”
This is the only time that you will be alone together on your wedding day, so take time to enjoy it. It’s the defining moment, not only for yourselves but also for your photographer to create images you will cherish for a lifetime. Let your photographer take their time, the guests can be kept busy with light snacks, drinks, good company and some music too. At most it takes you a little while to get into the swing of things when taking your personal images, but once we get going you won’t regret it.
Have something light to snack on or a refreshing drink before we start, remember you haven’t eaten since we met. Enjoy one another’s company during the session, remember you are going to be together for a long time to come. Have fun with each other and your photographer and be yourselves – these are the images that will grace your wedding album to come.
Consider the placement of the main table, and who will be seated with you. Remember that big flower arrangements will obscure your view and the photographer may find it difficult to find you. Avoid alcoholic and coloured water bottles spread across the tables, as they too can obscure a clean view of you and remember only champagne bottles will do. Keep family, friends and important people close to the main table if possible.
There is no point in seating them at the far end of the hall because your photographer will never get to capture them during those all-important speeches. Keep the speeches short, sharp and effective and a remember a good MC will make for a lively occasion.
Ask your DJ to play gentle lounge music during the course of the starters and main course as it creates a far more pleasing atmosphere and guests can talk to one another too. Ask your DJ to position the speakers out of your view and away from the main table, and never behind the MC. It’s better to use a lapel mic rather than a mic stand that always gets in the way.
If you are going the traditional route, never leave the cake cutting and bouquet throwing for too late. If you can do these right after one another while everybody is in the reception hall that will be good for all.
Photographers often see good, expensive cakes go to waste because they were cut too late. For the opening dance, why not break with tradition and do so when you enter the reception hall. It creates a great atmosphere and is totally unexpected. You can always open the dance floor again with your father, or bridal retinue.
Remember to cater for your photographers, they have been on their feet as long as you have. Depending on your venue, ask the photographers where they would like to be seated, based on experience they will know what works best for your imagery and their equipment.
Traveling is fun, so if you can, consider traveling in style in between your locations on your wedding day, but do remember the time it’s going to take. Choose a vehicle which reflects your style, make sure it’s comfortable and reliable. Last thing you want is a tow-truck hauling you into the Church grounds, as comical as it may be! Remember open top cars are cool, but you may find you have a new hairstyle by the time you get to church.