Are you recently engaged and planning your wedding? If so, you’re in a good company. There’s an average of 44,230 weddings every weekend in the US, adding up to a whopping 2.4 million unions each year. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that wedding photos are a booming business. But let’s face it–you’re not reading this for business purposes. You’re reading this because you want your wedding photos to perfectly capture the beauty and joy of your big day. How can you ensure that happens? Here are seven surefire tips.
1. Select Your Style
Just like every couple has their own unique style, so do wedding photographers. You need to ensure your styles align, or you won’t be happy with the end results. Traditional photographers act as a director during your big day. They’ll pose you and stage you and your family for beautiful, classic portrait-type shots. Photojournalistic photographers become a fly on the wall. They’ll snap mostly candid shots and seek to capture those genuinely joyful moments. If you’ve admired close-up shots of wedding cakes, veils, and decor, you’re admiring the work of an artistic photographer. These types look for creative and unexpected ways to use lighting, filters, and angles. Of course, many photographers can (and will) do a little bit of everything. Still, you should choose your perfect vision ahead of time and seek a photographer whose work reflects that vision.
2. Determine Your Budget
The average couple will spend over $4,300 for wedding photos and videos. Depending on your personal budget, you may be able to double that figure–or you may have to cut it in half. Research different wedding photographers in your area. Ask about pricing for different packages they offer. Beware of anyone who promises exceptional results for a price that’s too good to be true (it probably is). If you can’t afford your dream photographer, perhaps they can recommend a colleague who will work within your budget.
3. Make Sure You "Click"
The truth is that you’ll see more of your photographer than your spouse on your wedding day. They’ll be there from the moment you sip your coffee in the morning until you make your final exit from the reception venue that evening. Before you make your final choice, make sure the photographer is someone you actually like. How do you feel when they’re around? Do they make you feel calm and self-assured, or anxious and annoyed? Your emotions will already be running high. You need a photographer who will help you relax and catch your breath, not add to your stress level. One way to test your chemistry is by scheduling an engagement shoot. Not only will you see how well you work with the photographer, but you’ll have a preview of how your wedding photos will turn out.
4. Scout Out Locations in Advance
Depending on your venue, you may wish to take most of your wedding photos on location. But what if there’s somewhere else you want as a backdrop? Perhaps there’s a beach, a park, or mountains nearby that would make the perfect outdoor background for your photos. Decide in advance exactly where to stage these shots. If possible, bring your photographer along to scout it out with you. They can provide their expert opinion on how to capture those dream shots for you. If you’re planning some classic shots like the first look or large family portraits, you should also choose the setting for those ahead of time. That way you’re not scrambling to find a suitable location the day of.
5. Practice Posing
No, we don’t mean stand in front of a mirror and smile at yourself. The best wedding photos always look natural, so you don’t want to overthink them. Still, you should consider your posture and body language. What makes you look best in front of the camera? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Hold your head high to avoid an unflattering double chin.
- To appear thinner, turn your torso at a 45-degree angle towards the photographer.
- Keep your arms slightly bent and away from your sides (this makes them look smaller).
- Lean more weight on one leg for a more relaxed and curvaceous appearance.
- If you don't know what to do with your hands, hold your bouquet, dress, hip, veil, or another prop.
If you feel too nervous to smile, force yourself to laugh. A fake laugh will almost always produce a genuine smile!
6. Make Use of Natural Light
Your photographer should be well-versed on how to use light, but it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the basics. Natural light will always look better than artificial light. For indoor shots, stick close to windows and let sunlight work its magic. Candles are also a great way to provide soft white light for indoor settings. Outdoors, try some shots with the sun behind you to capture your wedding day glow. Full sun will make you squint, so try to take photos in full shade whenever possible. You may also choose to arrange your photography schedule to include some outdoor shots right after the sun sets. This is generally considered the prettiest time of day and best lighting for photos.
7. Don't Forget a Touchup Kit
Between all the tears, hugs, and laughter, your hair and makeup are sure to need a few fixes. To keep yourself photo-ready at all times, enlist a bridal party member to carry an emergency touchup kit. This should include:
- Blotting papers
- Waterproof mascara and eyeliner
Tell your photographer to let you know when it’s time for a touchup. Keep your helper and the kit nearby so it’s right there when you need it.
Wedding Photos and Beyond
Now that you know our expert tips, you’re ready to get amazing wedding photos on your big day. Are you still in the early planning stages of your wedding? Would you like more helpful advice to make the process easier? Check out our recent post on planning a beautiful wedding that won’t break the budget.
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