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The elaborate details of your wedding day are like a Cinderella story. At midnight, the magical spell will be broken. But like the glass slipper, your wedding photography is the one thing you can hold onto and look back on. It’s real, it’s tangible and it’s forever.
Brides-to-be, this one’s for you! Here are six tips for capturing the best wedding photos:
1. Do Your Research
Your wedding photographer is your most important vendor since you’ll have these photos the rest of your life. With that said, take your time and do your research! Talk to married couples you know, browse wedding websites and blogs, and read reviews. It’s also important to browse through photographer portfolios to get a sense of their quality and style.
2. Schedule an Engagement Session
Having an engagement photography session will help you become more comfortable in front of the camera, which translates to better, more natural-looking photographs. Use this time to ask questions and get a feel for your photographer. Plus, you’ll score some cute engagement photos of you and your fiancé to display during your reception!
3. Make a Shot List
Developing a wedding photography shot list will save time and stress, but the key is to communicate with your photographer ahead of time so he or she can be prepared. A shot list helps map out your vision so your photographer knows exactly what you want to be covered.
4. Consider Lighting and Time of Day
Since the light changes throughout the day, you’ll get a different result with photographs taken in the morning versus photographs taken after sundown. If you’re having a winter wedding, keep in mind that it gets dark around 4 p.m., so you’ll need to snap your group shots pre-ceremony. If you go this route, having a first look is strongly recommended.
If you’re leaning more toward tradition and want to nix the first look, consider having an early ceremony. This way, your wedding photographer can get some group shots while it’s still light out. Since many religious ceremonies take place after sundown, take your group shots early and talk to your photographer about bringing the proper lighting equipment.
Getting-ready photos are iconic, so you’ll need to consider the natural light at your venue. Does the bridal suite bring in natural light? Are the ceremony and reception walls dark with minimal windows? There’s only so much your photographer can do without a flash.
5. Have a First Look
There are a few moments more special than the first look - that’s when the two of you see each other for the first time before the ceremony. This is a must-have wedding photography moment for several reasons. First, your wedding day will go by fast. It’s nice to slow down and connect with each other before the craziness begins. From a photography standpoint, this is the perfect photojournalistic moment. Your wedding photographer will capture the pure emotion of the two of you in your element.
A first look also frees up your time later, so you can enjoy cocktail hour with your friends instead of using that time for photographs. Plus, it’s best to snap as many photos as possible when your hair and makeup are fresh!
6. Trust Your Photographer
While a shot list helps save time, trust that your wedding photographer is a pro who will capture everything you want - the dress hanging on a door, a bridal portrait in front of a window, your shoes, the rings, mom helping you fasten the buttons. Allow them to do their job and be creative.
If you’re wearing or carrying something particularly sentimental - perhaps a handkerchief that was passed down to you or family jewelry - bring it to your photographer’s attention. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of what they see. They’ll document the day as magically as you lived it!