10 Tips for Having Kickass Wedding Photos

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Your wedding photos will be your first family heirloom after the big day.  They will help you (and future generations) relive your big day after the cake has been eaten, your dress has been hung up in the back of your guest room closet, and you have resumed your normal daily life.  Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most kickass photos for your wedding photography investment!

1. Love Your Photographer
You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with your photographer, make sure you choose someone you get along with and know you can trust.  I want to build a relationship with every couple that I work with.  When I arrive on your wedding day, I want you to feel like one of your bridesmaids just showed up.  A year down the road, I want you to call me up so we can go grab a coffee.  An engagement session or bridal portrait session is the perfect opportunity to test drive your photographer and to get to know each other.  This will give you an idea if the photographic style, their personality, and amount of direction is a good fit for you.  

2. Time
My goal is for you to spend as much of your wedding day celebrating with your friends and family members as possible, but you still have to leave time for formal photos to happen.  If you end up hiring me as your photographer, I will create your wedding day timeline for you to make sure we have adequate time for photos - plus that is one less thing for you to worry about!

3. Light
Look for areas with shade when you are choosing your outdoor ceremony location.  An hour or two before sunset is when outdoor lighting is the most beautiful - try to have some bride and groom photos taken at this time even if the reception has already started.  For the reception, ask your DJ to skip the laser light show, it looks REALLY weird in photos, see if you can swap it out for up lighting services instead. 

4. Hire a Pro for Hair and Makeup
There will be SO many photos taken of you on your wedding day.  Hiring a pro helps reassure you that you are looking your absolute best.  Make sure you do a trial run before your big day (maybe even have bridal portraits taken afterwards to see how it will look in photos).  I know some truly gifted hair and makeup artists if you need a referral.  

5. Nix the Shot List
I promise you that your favorite photos from your wedding day will be captured spur of the moment and not reproductions of something you have seen on Pinterest.  Give your photographer a list of important people (with names) and details so they don’t miss beautiful candid moments while they are checking off items on a checklist.  If your photographer is experienced and has a copy of your wedding day timeline, they will know exactly what to look out for.

6. Have Your Accessories Ready for Detail Shots Ready When Your Photographer Arrives
Any important items that will be included in detail shots should be kept where the bride is getting ready so they can be photographed early.  This includes your save-the-dates/wedding invitations, engagement ring and both of your wedding bands, bouquets, something old/new/borrowed/blue, etc.

7. Plan Your Family Formals Ahead of Time
Create a list of every family grouping that you would like to have taken during your post-ceremony formal photos and have your fiancé do the same.  Give the list to your photographer before your wedding day (including names is even more helpful).

8. Bring an Emergency/Touch-up Kit
Include items to touch up your hair and makeup, a sewing kit, water, some snacks, and ibuprofen. 

9. Have an Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
I am a firm believer that there are times when putting down your electronics and being fully present are of the utmost importance - weddings are one of these times.  Having your guests focused on your ceremony will not only make it more meaningful and special, but you will have the added bonus of avoiding photos of iPads in the air and of your first kiss with guests standing in the aisle.

10. First Look
Seeing your fiancé before the ceremony helps take the edge off and gives you the opportunity to knock out most of your formal photos before your guests even arrive.  [You might also want to check out my blog post 7 Reasons You Should Have a "First Look" (and 3 Reasons You Shouldn't) for more info.]