As a wedding photographer, I'm of course biased towards brides planning their day around getting the best photographs they can. Good photographers will always be able to make a plan to get the best photographs they can in any situation, but being aided by little things along the day will make sure you get the best photographs you can period. Here are some wedding photography tips I've put together to make sure that happens.
1. This isn't 100% essential (or in many cases, feasible), but think about booking an engagement shoot with your wedding photographer. I'm a Durban Wedding Photographer, but a lot of my brides are coming down from other locations to have their wedding, so this isn't always possible, but planning an engagement shoot helps in a couple of ways:
- You spend time with your photographer, and build a relationship with them. This will only help when it comes to the wedding day, where chances are that you will be far more relaxed than having to spend the entire day with someone you haven't met before, which can add just a tiny bit of stiffness on a day as highly emotional as a wedding.
- You get a save-the-date card out of it, or maybe table setting pictures for your Wedding Day decor.
- Your wedding photographer will be able to get feedback from you on the engagement shoot, which will let them know exactly how to interact with you on the wedding day.
2. Scheduling is King. The more I as your Wedding Photographer know about what is happening and at what time, the more prepared I can be on the day. The more prepared I am, the better the pictures will turn out. Are you having a surprise musical guest? I need that info to make sure we can capture the surprise. And on that note, be realistic when you're scheduling your day. Allow for some delays, and remember that travel between venues won't always go according to plan.
3. This one is related to the above point, but if you're looking for warm, dreamy, romantic creative shoots with you and your betrothed, schedule them toward the later afternoon. Google "The Golden Hour" and have a look at the images that pop up. This is pretty much the exact time when you want to be out taking pictures. Photography is painting with light, and we want to use the best paint available to us. Also remember that creative shoots scheduled during midday are more likely to have some negative physical effects - sweating, squinting and fatigue... This is Durban after all!
4. Bridal prep photographs are some of the most revealing, fun part of the day. One thing to remember is to keep the room as free of clutter as possible. Bigger rooms with beautiful natural light (big windows facing the light helps) are your best bet, and it's better for applying makeup too.
5. This is currently a sticky issue, but... Guest photographs. Personally I don't have many issues with it during the day, but it's it's a pet peeve of most wedding photographer in certain situations, like the bride walking down the aisle - cue the phones and worse(!), the iPads making an appearance in the official photographs as the photographer can't get a clean angle. One I'm particularly not fond of is the over the shoulder phone pics as I'm getting the group shots. People get distracted easily, especially if they aren't used to being photographed, and with the introduction of a new lens, they very often don't stay focused on my camera and look into the camera phone off to the side. It's not an easy call to make, but if you mention to your MC that you'd prefer as little phone photography as possible during certain times, most people are happy to oblige.
6. Communication regarding the day: Editing, shot lists, relationship to focus on during the wedding (and the entire day). This is important to make sure you aren't disappointed. Not a fan of a certain edit your photographer has shown you? Mention it to him/her. They won't be offended but grateful they can service you better. Likewise, if there are certain shots you're after, make sure to mention it before the day so the photographer can plan for it. Lastly, the relationships: Either point out well in advance, or assign a bossy family member as a liaison during the day that can guide the photographer when it comes to special relationships to focus on or to avoid. Divorces, special friends, long-travelled guests etc. It can avoid potentially embarrassing moments and make sure other moments are definitely caught.