A Guide to Bride: How to get the best Wedding Photographs

For most Bride and Grooms, their wedding is a day full of firsts; first I do’s, first kiss, first day as a Mrs. You spends months, even years and thousands of pounds thinking about and planning every moment and maticulous detail to ensure your day is the defenition of perfection. In my profession as a photographer, I have gained vast knowledge and experience over the past five years that have allowed me to offer you some useful tips and tricks that will hopefully help you to get the most out of your wedding photographs. Below, you will find a few little snippets of advise that as a couple planing their big day may have previously given little thought to, but can very much enhance the overall look of your day, both in person and through your photographs..

For most couples, the legality and commitment of the actual wedding ceremony is the most integral and special part of their whole day. Sadly, it is a fairly common, but unknown, practice that many religious venues do not allow photographs to be taken throughout the legal ceremony, if at any point at all. Strangely, there doesn’t really seem to be any set pattern or rules regarding this and seems to be strictly down to your Priest/Vicar ect views. This may be something to consider when choosing your venue. Make sure to ask your Priest/registrar if you have photographic permissions throughout the ceremony or if there are any restrictions to be followed before the big day to avoid any last minute disappointment and maybe try to negotiate ahead of time.

This is an important one! Every bride wants to relive the moment they saw their husband turn around and catch the first glimpse of their soon to be wife walking down the aisle, or seeing what they looked like themselves and the emotions they felt whilst walking towards their happy ever after. However, this view is often not possible when your bridesmaids or even potentially your priest are walking down the aisle and block the shot. This is something that can easily be avoided. Find out if your Priest likes to walk down the aisle before you and if so ask them to go quite some distance ahead of you. It’s also nice to be able to get photographs of your bridal party as they walk down the aisle, so leaving a decent sized gap between yourself and your bridesmaids will make this possible as well as the aisle to clear for you to have centre stage whilst arriving to your soon to be husband.

3. Consider ‘Unplugging’ your wedding!

One of the latest trends to hit weddings is to ‘Unplug’ your day. This invloves inviting all of your guests to leave their cameras and smart phones at home or at least refraining from using them throughout the day. It is also common for the Bride and Groom ask that no photograhs are uploaded to facebook until they have received their professional photographs. This allows your guests to fully enjoy their day without any distractions, prevents you posing for pictures all day long and leave’s the photographer to do their job with as few obstructions in their way as possible. This ensures that no important moments, such as walking down the aisle, go missed due to guests blocking views by trying to get their photo ect.

4. Add contingencies 

Like in life, things often take alot longer than you expect. Small things, such as the time it takes to simply travel between your two venues, are often overlooked and therfore missed out of your timing schedule. Things like this can really add up and the result is the time must be shaved from somewhere else. To prevent this, try to add a little extra time to each of your estimations, it seems silly but will result in a much more accurate plan of your day. This will give you reassurance that everything you want will fit in to the time provided and, more often than not, leave you plenty of time to relax, mingle with friends and family and thoroughly enjoy your day.

5. Trust your photographer!

Chances are you spents hours searching through huge amounts of photographers work to find yours, and booked them ultimately because you loved their work. So trust their judgement! Sometimes ideas or things they ask you to do may seem a little whacky and you may seem a little silly, but the result in the camera is a totally different scene. You would never be asked to something they didn’t believe would produce an amazing outcome or put you in any form danger, so trust their creativity and just go with it! The results will be worth every second.

6. Don’t stress the dress!

Brides spend months searching and trying on hundreds to find the perfect wedding dress, it’s probably the most planned aspect of your day and as a result a major part of your wedding. It also more than likely cost you a small fortune, however, the reality is, it is going to get slightly dirty. Even just walking along a carpet is going to pick up a bit of dirt. Dont let this put you off and don’t avoid going outside to prevent it from getting dirty. You wont be asked to drag your dress through a soggy muddy field and photographers these days can hide a multitude of sins with a little photoshop magic resulting in your dress looking as good as new on all of your photographs. Dont spend your day stressing over it, just let it go.

7. Bring something to wrap up warm in!

On a cold day, and this particularly applies to a winter wedding, it can get a little uncomfortable being outside for portrait photographs (although definitely worth the results!). To make things a little more comfortable for yourself, it may be worth bringing a warm jacket or throw to wrap around you in between shots to keep some of your warmth. You won’t win any awaards for the most glamorous wedding look, but it is practical and no-one will ever know you cheated!

You may have bought the perfect pair of expensive bridal shoes and want to get your wear out of them, however, fairly often your wedding venues best photographic locations are on a grassy field or in between trees. Understandably, you don’t want to ruin those new designer heels, so to preven you sinking your heels into the mud and them being stained forever, its worth considering bringing a spare pair of flat shoes that you dont mind getting potentially a little dirty or potentially a pair wellies. The best thing is you will be a little more adventurous in where you will venture, resulting in more interesting photographs and you will never see them under all that dress!

9. Think about your lighting

When planning where you are going to stand during the ceremony or positioning of the top table dont just stick to what is considered the norm. Ask what your options are and if possible try to ensure you are facing the largest light source, which is usally a window, and avoid having your back towards the light. This natural light is the most flattering on you and will ensure your photographs are the best they can be. Having the light source behind you means you are heavily backlit which is very difficult to combat with a camera and will result in your images being fairly dark. This is the same with yout top table positioning, Couples tend to have the window view behind them for people to admire, however, try to face the window rather than having your back to it meaning you can enjoy the view too.

10. Have speeches take place before the wedding breakfast

If not for anything else, spare a thought for the best man! As you can imagine, the nerves often get the better of best men with the intense pressure of the looming speech! But from a photographic perspective, think of the tables. You spend all that time planning and preparing for your tables to look fantastic, so show them at their best! When speeches take place after the meal, the tables are scattered with glasses, bottles and napkins, and honestly, look a little worse for wear. Speeches before hand ensure that your tables look as fresh as a daisy, and the napkins are clean just incase you need to have a little dab at your eye!

11. You get what you pay for

There are a huge range of photographers for you to choose from, all varying in style and price, however you really do get what you pay for. After all good isn’t cheap, and cheap isn’t good! If a photographer seems to be giving you a too good to be true deal, ask yourself why? The time, effort, experience and quality that comes with a premium photographer will make them worth more than every penny. Make sure you take the time to really look at your potential photographers work and love everything they do before you book them!

The best photographs are always from thr Bride’s and Grooms who are brave and willing to try something new! Wether it be battling the weather for a dramtic rain shot (You would always be under cover so dont worry about your hair!) or hopping over a fence to get to an interesting location, the resulting images will always be more than worth it! After all you get out what you put in.

At the end of the day your wedding day is exactly that, a wedding not a photoshoot. It is lovely and important to get lots of photographs of you and all of your friends and family enjoying your special day that you can look back on for years to come, but it is also important to enjoy your big day and relax. A large amount of your day is natural photography, capturing the moments you lived through, but also the moments you didn’t even realise had happened, from the tears to the laughter and everything in between. Dont try to cram too many things into your day, not allowing you to actually enjoy the moment. Everything in moderation!

14. Find photographers and videographers who work in a similar way

If possible try and find photographers and videographer who have a similar style or shoot in a similar manner. It is important that the two are able to work alongside each other rather than competing for positions and getting in each others way. From a photographers perspective, it is exceedingly difficult to avoid videographers who use large tripods from being in the background of shots. There are lots of videographers who work with handheld cameras, similar to those of photographers, which allows us to work around each other and preventing us from, most of the time, being in each others shots.

We totally understand that your First dance as man and wife can be a nerve racking experience,all those eyes on you with the fear of messing up your dance moves, but try to fight the urge to invite your guests up with you too early. Give plenty of time for the photogrpaher to catch those special moments of just the two of you caught in the moment. Photographs of the two of you having fun with your guests will most certainly follow as you boogie the night away , so try to battle the nerves and the results will be a priceless memory.