You’re engaged, with the sparkly rock to prove it, and you’re eager to start planning the wedding of your dreams, right?! You’ll likely start with finding the perfect dress, ordering the coolest invitations, finding a florist to create the bouquet of your dreams, booking the ultimate wedding venue, buying the adorable shoes in just the right color, hunting down the most talented hair and makeup artist in the city and choosing the food and cake options that your guests will be raving about weeks after the wedding is over! But don’t forget finding and booking a fantastic photographer! … Because while all of those things are important, when the day is over, you’ll have your memories and YOUR PHOTOS, period. This is why choosing a great wedding photographer and knowing a couple tricks of the trade will ensure the kind of wedding photos you’ll likely gawk over for generations!
Tip #1:Find a wedding photographer whose style you like! Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of different compositional and editing styles out there. The days of traditional wedding photography, in my eyes, are long gone though. Today’s wedding photographers like to push their artistic boundaries and get creative by shooting into the sun, cropping subjects heads off and taking a more photojournalistic approach to shooting. Do you like these new styles? Also, every photographer edits their photos a little differently, which ultimately impacts the overall mood of the final image. Just like with shooting styles, there are a few trends in editing as well. Are the photos really bright and vibrant or are they dull and muted with a more “vintage” feel? Here’s the same photo edited 3 different ways. These are 3 popular styles in the market right now. Which do you like?
Tip #2: Try to set up a phone date, or meet in person, with the wedding photographer who you’re leaning towards. See if it’s someone who you’d feel comfortable hanging with on your wedding day. How do they make you feel? Are they getting you excited about your wedding? Are they relaxed and approachable? Are they knowledgeable and professional? Are they interested in YOU or only photography! Would you want them to be the one with you and your girls while you’re getting ready, or the person to walk with you over to your fiancé for your first look?
Tip #3: Don’t worry if they’ve never shot at your venue! If they’re professionals, they’ll come out to the venue beforehand to check out the area, scout the perfect portrait and family spots, and look for the optimal lighting to make sure you’ll get the photos you’ve always dreamed of having! Even if you think your venue doesn’t have many beautiful spots for portraits, your photographer will work their magic and put you in a spot that’ll give the impression that your surroundings are stunning! If you’re worried about this, ask if they’ll come out and meet you at the venue to do a walk through so you can point out all the spots YOU’VE DREAMED of having your wedding photos taken!
Tip #4: When you’re booking a place to get ready, try your best to find a large room, preferably with white or very neutral colored walls, and LOTS of natural light! It’s amazing what good natural light will do for a “getting ready” photo, or any photo for that matter!
TIP #5: Sunset ceremonies can be beautiful, but photographers call the hour prior to sunset “the golden hour” and having the photos of you and your hubby taken during this time of day will ensure that you’ll have optimal lighting for the photo you’ll likely hang above your mantle!
Tip #6: Get on board with “the first look” train! I know that seeing your fiancé before the ceremony is a traditional no-no, but sometimes it’s good to break tradition! First looks give you a chance to have a moment together with your fiancé with no one else around! (Well, except for your photographer… but they’re not eavesdropping, they’re focusing on capturing your fiance’s “WOW face” as he turns around and sees you for the first time, or you wiping the tear from your eye. It may be the only moment you two have alone together, all day, and it’ll also give your photographer a chance to capture some of your portraits together pre-ceremony, so you’re not taking time away from your guest by doing your photos after the ceremony!
Tip #7: When you’re planning on how much time to allot for family photography, give yourself about 2 minutes per family combination. Usually it’s much faster, but sometimes grandma takes a while to walk over and get in place, little kids like to look the other direction or be naughty and throw a fit, and someone is always looking off into the distance to watch what family member is going to be coming around the corner who they haven’t seen in year! So your photographer will need some time to get everyone situated, and even more time to snap enough photos to make sure EVERYONE’S looking at the camera with their eyes open! J This is a great example of a beautiful family photo, but the mom is looking left and the little girl in the front has her eyes squinted tightly. Your photographer may not have enough time to get it perfect if you don’t allot enough time.
Tip #8: Let your photographer know if there’s something at your wedding that’s really special to you. These are things that your photographer can get creative with and make sure that a beautiful photo is snapped in order to commemorate the piece. Examples: The bride’s 90 year old grandma was a performing pianist for years and sat down to play the day of the wedding and her rings were sitting in her jewelry tray where she would always place them before playing. The mother of the bride had planted purple daisies, from a seed, the day her daughter got engaged and brought 3 to the wedding! The bride wore her aunt’s jewelry from her wedding over 20 years ago. The groom held a locket with a photo of his beloved grandfather. The parents of the groom kissing behind their 30 year old wedding photo!
Tip #9: If you’re wanting a journalistic approach to your wedding photography, find someone who your guests will LOVE! When your photographer engages with your guests, they’re able to get silly photos like these, that you’re guests will likely laugh about for years, or sweet photos of the maid of honor cuddling with her grandmother, and will ultimately show the mood of the wedding!
Tip #10: Try your best to focus on your fiancé during the ceremony! I know this seems obvious, but when you’ve got a room full of 150 people looking in your direction, your mind starts to wander a bit. Someone told me right before I walked down the aisle to pretend like there’s no one else in the room but my fiancé, and take in every word the officiant says! Not only was our ceremony one of our favorite parts of the whole day, we have some of the best photos from it because you could read the true emotion on our faces!
Tip #11: After the ceremony, there will be be A LOT of people who you’ll want to catch up with and feel like you need to speak to, but remember to take time to connect with your new husband throughout the reception! Dance together, laugh together, kiss each other! You’re married to your best friend! Celebrate and try your best to focus on that! Your photos will provoke emotion, excitement, and beauty because they’ll portray YOU and how you felt that day!
Now you’re ready to get out there and start planning, and ultimately finding a photographer who’ll capture your wedding day just the way you dream of it being captured! You’re ENGAGED! Woo hoo!
xoxo, Jill and Aaron Osteen
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