Wedding photographers are always writing tips for couples–where to look, how to stand, what to do with your hands. But there’s a few things we wedding photographers forget to mention, and I think we should talk about them. From a professional wedding photographer of 10+ years, shooting HUNDREDS of weddings, here’s the top 10 wedding photography tips for couples that will make your wedding photos incredible.
1. YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER MATTERS. A LOT.
Our relationship affects your photos. Not only will you remember the person who made your photos as you look at them, but you’re letting us into a really intimate time of your lives, and that’s some vulnerable space! If we truly click, like you would honestly go out for a beverage with me, your photos are going to show that. You’ll feel more comfortable, and we’ll be able to collaborate together to make authentic goodness. Your guests will feel it, too. If your wedding photographer feels like part of the inner circle, your loved ones will trust me, too. And that means honest, authentic photos of your day.
2. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AT THE CAMERA.
We’re conditioned to stop what we’re doing and look at the camera when it comes out. We’re expected to smile or “do something” and seriously… it’s my mission in life to make this stop. When you stop what you’re doing to look at me, the moment is over. And that’s no good. You want you to be able to feel what you were feeling in that moment. And that means you get to be in the moment, not stopping to look at the camera. Don’t worry, we’ll definitely make photos where you’re looking a the camera for your Aunty Linda to paste on her fridge, but I promise… the photos of you being you with the people you love in the moment you’re with them are the photos you’re going to forever love the most.
3. I LOVE IT WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR EXCITEMENT.
You know what builds our relationship and trust, which in turn makes your photos better? When my couples email me after they find their dress or suit, and they want to show me a picture. Or when they can’t wait to share how they’re going to arrange the venue, or the beautiful design their stylist and wedding planner have brought together. Though I’m not a wedding planner and obviously not the best person to advise your planning choices, I absolutely LOVE learning about the process and helping you out in any way I can.
4. CHOOSE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER BASED ON MORE THAN BUDGET.
Find a wedding photographer that you’re completely in love with–not just their work. You’re going to be spending the entire day, and then some, with this person! They’re going to be with you at the most intimate of times. Choose. Someone. You. Click. With. After the wedding is over, the flowers have wilted, the food is devoured, and your friends and family are gone… your photographs are the ONLY thing that remain. Here’s a great article on choosing a wedding photographer.
5. YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHS ARE NOT JUST ABOUT YOUR WEDDING.
You’re going to use these images at reunions and funerals, they’ll be on your fridge and your screensaver. You’ll pull them out when you miss someone, and so will your family. Invest in a talented person who gets you, a person who will give you images not just for you but for the generations to come. Your wedding photography is part of your family history. It’s a big deal.
6. YOUR DRESS IS GOING TO GET DIRTY.
Another wedding photography tip for couples: Your dress isn’t meant to remain pristine. I’ve shot several weddings where the bride and/or her mom were SO WORRIED about keeping the edges of the dress–the ones designed to drag on the ground–clean, that they were noticeably anxious and stiff, and it totally affected their ability to move around and enjoy the day.
Now I’m not saying to spill red wine on your chest and to sit in the mud (unless you want to, of course). Will I help you carry your dress over puddles? Yes. Will we lift it up when we’re walking around in the dust and dirt for your epic outdoor photos? Absolutely. Will we pick off the nature that gets stuck to it? Of course. But truthfully, DIRT HAPPENS. Try to embrace it. It’s evidence of a day well spent.
7. BE READY FOR ANY WEATHER.
Rainy days, freezing temps or hot hot heat may not be ideal, but I promise that we can still capture beautiful photographs despite them! But… please don’t expect your photographer to have enough rain boots, umbrellas, warm mitts, warm hats or cooling misters and beverages for you and your whole wedding party. SOME photographers MIGHT have umbrellas (I always carry a couple), but really it’s up to the couple and the planner to make a weather plan and provide the gear to make it more comfortable. Wedding planners are invaluable to help you figure this stuff out. It’s what they do! If you don’t think you need one, I promise you… you need a wedding planner.
8. TRUST MATTERS MOST WHICH MEANS… YOU DON’T NEED TO GIVE US A SHOT LIST.
You know how the BEST photos happen? It’s when a couple says, “We totally trust you! We are up for anything!” When you choose an EXPERIENCED wedding photographer whose style you love AND you trust them to make it happen, your photographs will be exactly what you want. Period. We don’t need a shot list. Most of these lists are checklists found through Pinterest or a Google Search filled with things like “wedding party laughing” and “closeup of rings”. They’re standard images that every professional wedding photographer is going to get.
Instead of a stock shot list, I want to hear special stuff specific to you and your people. You’ll answer questions about that when we meet numerous times before your wedding. And I promise… if it’s happening, I’m going to shoot it. So if you have a special gift for someone you want me to photograph, give that person the gift and I’ll be there!
Now I know this a controversial one, there’s lots of wedding blogs and magazines that insist you have a shot list. But hear me out: if your wedding photographer is an experienced pro, they already know what’s on that shot list. And if that shot list has something on it that isn’t happening, why would you need a photo of it? What’s MORE IMPORTANT is that you talk with your photographer about what and who is truly meaningful to you, and an experienced pro will diligently watch for those moments and opportunities.
9. PLEASE DO NOT PUT FILTERS ON YOUR PHOTOS WHEN YOU SHARE THEM ON SOCIALS.
Your wedding photographer is an artist and will spend DOZENS OF HOURS meticulously working on every image to make it perfect. When you add a filter, it looks… bad. I’m sorry. It really does. It’s generally understood between you and your photographer that you trust their design choices–that’s why you hired them! But if you’re really wanting it to look another way, talk to your photographer. Maybe they can tweak it. And if you’re inclined to do this, see points 1, 4 and 8. You won’t need to add a filter if you hire someone you trust.
10. ALSO… PLEASE CREDIT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WHEN YOU SHARE THEM ON SOCIALS.
Why do we ask you to credit your wedding photographer? This is a really good question! A credit is an acknowledgement of who we are and the work we created together. This goes for your designer, HMUAs, florist and wedding planner, too! Word of Mouth referrals are the backbone of all our businesses. Tagging us each time you share one of your images ultimately helps us to stay in business, and it also helps us find more like-minded people like you!
BONUS TIP: SAY HEY WHEN YOU GET YOUR GALLERY 🙂
I am so invested in you. Most of us have been in a relationship with you for over a year by the time gallery delivery day arrives. After all the communication and being there for you on a day of your life you’ll remember forever, and then staring at your faces for hours as I carefully edit every moment of that day, I’ve grown pretty attached, LOL! You have been my literal focus for a long time and now I’m waiting on pins and needles to know what you think. So just shoot your photographer a text, call, or email once you see them. Seriously. We’re dying over here!
I hope these 10 wedding photography tips for couples help you to understand a bit of where your wedding photographer is coming from, and this helps you have the most amazing photos imaginable. Click here if you want to learn more!