Must Have Photography Tips for Your Wedding

Have you noticed how much I really and truly enjoy collaborating with other wedding vendors on blog posts?

Part of it is because it can be tough to churn out a blog post every single week (for what is currently going on 40 months), and part of it is because my brain has a serious malfunction. Well, not that serious, but I find it impossible to talk about weddings without thinking about YOU.

Thinking about how I could benefit you with whatever I’m talking about by writing it here in this blog on this website. And when I’m around other wedding vendors, inevitably, we talk about weddings. They have opinions too and they have tips that I’d like to share with you. Like Lauren Baker’s opininons, and the Must Have Photography Tips we thought up for your wedding. Enjoy!

SET UP EARLY

Have your reception decor set up as early as it possibly can be. This will allow your photographer time to take the absolute best ‘details’ photos of the things you spent your money on, without interfering with the rest of your timeline (making it rushed) or your guests (gently forcing them to wait to enter the room and plop their purse down on your perfectly polished place settings).

Lauren suggests at least 15 minutes of time during which the entire reception room is setup and NO one is in the room, but prefers 30. Remember, forgoing a second shooter means you will be absent a photographer for 30 minutes. It’s cool because usually this will happen after family photos and before the ceremony, or during cocktail hour (which is usually an hour, so not the entire time). Also keep in mind why you might want these photos.

BECAUSE MONEY.

You spent money on the napkins, the linen, the tables and chairs, the place cards, the table numbers, the centerpieces and the flowers. Not that you’re going to create a complete gallery wall in your home with said photos (though if you do PLEASE tag me @sixpenceeventsmn) BUT you likely will want to have photos of your hard work and your hard earned money in the form of wedding decor.

What if we cannot set up our reception decor early?

This could be the case f you have a room flip or if there’s just no way to keep guests out of the reception hall after the cocktail hour. No worries. Have at least the head table and 1 guest table set first and completely, candles lit and all, and have your photographer snap a picture of those tables immediately.

FYI: this is a long effing tip…. FYI: tables look even better without salt and pepper shakers, without glassware, so if this gets forgotten, it’s probably for the best.

HAVE A FIRST LOOK

Lauren feels so strongly about this (as do I but remember I am the King of Weenie Hut Jr. when it comes to putting my foot down about first looks). Why is a first look so damn great?

  • It allows time for family photos, the kind where both you and your spouse to be are present, at the same time. Alternatively post-ceremony family photos can really end up being a hot mess of emotion - nobody really wants to do them, but they are literally the only time you can (people leave early, get sloppy drunk, or get their outfits amess).

  • It gives you both time to take in the moment. A ceremony is already overwhelming. It’s a big fricken deal! Give yourself some time to ease into the fact that today’s the day, your doing the deed, there’s no turning back. See each other and hug and kiss and ease your nerves.

  • It can be the perfect time to practice your vows. Quick story:

    Sixpence client’s Ned and Ryan wanted to practice their vows because they were self authored and incredibly moving and personal and deep. They didn’t want the first time they were saying those words to be in front of everyone with the added pressure of ‘being on stage’. They were SO smart to have done this, because let’s face it, your vows are for each other, not really for the us that are taking up pew space. Also because they were incredibly moving and personal and deep and we all pew sitters cried like little babies, imagine what it was like for the grooms!?

Not convinced? I’d love to hear why! Please comment below and keep my mind from being so narrow :)

LIGHTING MATTERS

You don’t need to be a photography expert to implement this tip. The goal is to trust your photographer. Natural light is going to yield the best photos PERIOD. Your getting ready photos (specifically getting into your dress), your family photos (unless they are on the altar in the church) and all the important photos you want should take place, IF POSSIBLE, with natural lighting present.

Outside photos should be schedule so they don’t take place when the hot blazing sun is directly in everyone’s eyeballs. If it is a hot or sunny day you’ll need to brainstorm a shady spot. One that everyone in the photos can fit and one that isn’t splotchy. Like the leaves of the tree provided shade but not complete shade.

Also transitional (indoor to outdoor) glasses will probably need to come off, no sunglasses and for goodness sake, can someone else please hold grandmas purse!?

SENSITIVE FAMILY DYNAMICS

Along with looking for the best spot to take family photos, make sure you’ve already thought of the best combinations for those photos. Always, ALWAYS, tell your photographer (and your planner) if there are any sensitive family dynamics.

Remember, your hired vendors are likely strangers and do not know any one’s marriage status. Nor have they (we) been privy to the 5 year feud between Marlo and Sharon. If there are people who you want photos with, make a list! Then highlight if someone should get to go first (because of the amount of people in the photo) or if they should be sitting (because of physical limitations), or if the photo should take place somewhere that isn’t a far walk, trek or hike away from the festivities.

The more prepared you are, the more prepared your photographer will be and the better your experience with capturing family photos will be (but also just navigating the day in general).

HAVE A PRO PRESENT

This isn’t just a pitch to hire me and make your day easier, it’s a matter of safety and efficiency!!

WHO SHOULD PIN THE BOUTONNIERES?

These photos are adorable and totally meant to be treasured, however these need not be 100% candid. As in, if your groomsmen have never pinned a boutonniere in their life, PLEASE do not charge them with the task of using harp objects to harness expensive flowers to their rented suit (or brand new).

Don’t do it.

Have a plan A. Like your planner or your florist or your photographer (if able) pins the boutonniere and you stage these photos. Or have your groomsman try and then make sure someone swoops in to ensure that your bout is both safely and securely attached to your lapel.

No suit jacket, vest, or suspenders? You might want to rethink the whole idea of boutonnieres for your groomsmen. It is not the easiest to attached flowers to a shirt, unless you have an amazing florist who uses magnets and not pins.

WHO HELPS THE BRIDE INTO HER DRESS?

Similarly, ladies wearing a button backed gown beware. Buttoning all of those buttons will take time if you have a novice attempting to do so.

Step 1: ensure that your buttons are indeed real and do need to be looped in the first place.

Step 2: whomever is buttoning needs to WASH THEIR HANDS thoroughly. Seriously, nobody wants a concealer colored stain on their backside.

Step 3: If present, have your planner button almost all of the buttons, and then have them step out and whomever you want pictures with to step in and finish the last few. Or vice versa, your photo pal can start the buttons and your planner can finish them up. Take into consideration where the buttons start and where your underwear ends. You might not want your undergarments photographed as part of this special moment (or you might).

Either way this can save you 20 MINUTES or so, meaning you will stay on track with your timeline and your first look or family photos. Whatever is happening next, you’ll be fully clothed for it.

GOLDEN HOUR

Kind of my favorite wedding photos - especially when you have STUNNING backdrops like we do here in Minnesota. And actually, this photo session is SO easy to implement and execute (save for the weather which cannot be controlled).

All you need to do is leave a bit of time, at least 15 minutes, to escape from your wedding around 30 minutes prior to sunset. For more on this topic read 10 Reasons to Take Photos During Golden Hour and check out my Pinterest board completely devoted to the topic.

Lauren also wants us to think about blue hour. Yup, I had never heard that term before either but I have absolutely seen the images. After sunset and when the sun is below the horizon. This gives you some wiggle room on when you should go take your private couple photos. I love wiggle room.

LEAVE IN STYLE

Let me just give you the short version of this tip: your send off can be staged and it need only involve a few people.

Whatever you plan on doing, ensure that it is announced, well planned for, and allowed by your venue.

Sparklers, kabuki streamers, bubbles and cheering out the front door. All great ideas. I love the photo that Lauren captured above of her couple because you can see their faces and the sparklers and well, you want the photo to be good if you’re going to be spending any amount of time away from the dance floor, don’t you!?

6 Wedding Photography Tips with a bonus tip - what are you still questioning when it comes to your wedding photos?

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,
Josey