Are you planning your wedding and looking for some useful tips on wedding photography? After shooting weddings for nearly a decade around the globe, here are 10 "dirty" little secrets for perfect wedding photos. I have learned these during my years as a wedding photographer, so they are all tried and tested. I promise.
Planning a wedding? Read this first.
#1 - Love Your Hair & Makeup Artist
This may sound like a no brainer, but it's an extremely important thing. Hair and makeup is something that can't really be photoshopped afterwards, so it is essential that you are happy with how you look before the ceremony starts.
I strongly recommend doing a hair and makeup trial before your wedding, and it's even better if you can do your trial on the day of your engagement session, because you want to rock those pictures, right?
Being unhappy with your hair/makeup is going to set your mood on your wedding day. Plus, it will all come back every time you look at your wedding photos. This is even more important if you are having a destination wedding, because brides often spend a lot of time planning abroad, but don't actually get to sit down and do a trial until their wedding day. Morale of the story: Your hair and makeup are two things that are vital; make sure you’ve got them covered to perfection.
#2 - Precious Lighting
The more lights and colors you add to your reception, the better, so feel free to unleash your creativity in this department. A winning color palette includes orange, red, purple, blue and pink, while lights can be anything from candles to chandeliers and lanterns, and any other type of accent light in between. Besides impressing all your guests, this detail will make a huge difference in photos, helping yours truly considerably. You know what they say: “you know you’re a photographer when your favorite room is the one with the most light”. Yeah, my lens just loves ambient light and colors, and you will too when you look back at your photos!
#3 - The Getting Ready Space
Before your wedding, you can either decide to have a quiet morning to yourself, or get ready surrounded by your family and bridesmaids. Regardless of what you choose, the more space and the better lit the room (big windows are wonderful), the more fun it is to get ready and get great shots. While it's true that a great photographer can find amazing photos in any space, a luminous room with generous windows will offer more opportunities for spectacular wedding photos in the morning.
#4 - Schedule an Engagement Session
Not only will you have a lot of fun posing together with your better half during your engagement session, but this will also prove a fantastic way to get comfortable in front of the camera and experiment with hair/makeup (once again, have your trial on the same day with the engagement session, you will be so happy you did). For most of you, this will be the first time in a long time working with a professional photographer, so look at the engagement session as a great reason for the both of you to warm up for the big day. It will give you the chance to get used to my style of photography and way of shooting, plus you'll get gorgeous photos in the process.
#5 - Rehearsal Dinner Coverage
If you are planning on having a rehearsal dinner, remember this is the more intimate party before the actual party. Often times there will be speeches and toasts from your family that won’t happen again on your wedding day. Often times, those speeches and toasts will be looser, possibly funnier, and more spontaneous than the ones you will hear on your wedding day. And after shooting your rehearsal dinner, on your wedding day, your friends and family have already met me, so they are used to being photographed, and there's no adjustment that needs to take place on the wedding day. Your rehearsal dinner photos are an important piece of the puzzle that is your wedding experience. Click here for more information about rehearsal dinner photos.
#6 - The Second–Photographer
Nothing enhances your wedding photos more than having a second photographer. I only work with highly skilled shooters, and when we are two, there are so many more opportunities to capture memorable moments for you.
In the morning we can split up, so that the second photographer can shoot the guys, immortalizing what happens on their side. Working with a second photographer also allows us to take extra risks on your wedding day and get even more amazing shots.
A perfect example is this first dance photo from Michelle and Joel's wedding at Tribeca Rooftop. I knew they had been working with a wedding planner to set up the decor for the reception, so it was important to get all the balloon-decor in one photograph during the first dance. I went to the second floor to take a further shot but, as I was doing that, I made sure the second photographer stayed on the ground level taking close-ups of Michelle and Joel dancing.
Another great example of a second shooter playing a huge role is this ceremony photo from Mili and Prak's wedding at Oheka Castle. The scenario was similar. I knew how important the outdoor ceremony was, and how show-stopping the landscaping at Oheka looked, so the only way to shoot that angle and show off the ceremony was to stay inside Oheka Castle on a balcony. However, the only way to have the important close-up photos of Mili walking out to the ceremony was by having my second photographer stay close to the action.
#7 - Portrait time
The "cool" shots, a.k.a. the creative portraits, are often a fun collaboration between the couple and the photographer. They are usually the most special photos of your big day hence they require a little extra planning and time. Sometimes this means we need to walk to a cool spot near the venue (e.g. by the beach), or take ten minutes to reach a hidden location, so it's important to carve out enough time in your day to do so. The more creative the photos, the more patience required to take them.
Remember, you will look at these pictures for the rest of your life, so make sure you leave between 30 to 60 minutes on your wedding day for them, and we will create something really special together.
#8 - Add STAK to Your Guestlist
For meals, it's best to have us in the reception room with you. We're happy to sit with the guests, or at a separate table, whatever works for you. If we are on the guest list, we will be seated with the guests which ensures we are always with you and will never miss a moment of your reception. It's important to see what's happening at all times so that we can photograph any surprise speeches or unexpected moments. We could never do so if we we're outside the room (which is where the vendor meal is).
#9 - Ceremony Matters
For the ceremony, brides have the power to get us full access. Sometimes (not often) a church or rabbi will put rules and restrictions on where the photographers can or cannot be. From my experience, the bride is able to set the rules on her big day. If you explain to your church or rabbi that the photos are really important to you, you can get us permission to move around and get the perfect angles for you. I have a silent camera and I don't use flash, so I won't interrupt or distract the ceremony in any way, but it is important to make sure we capture your ceremony from wherever it looks best at that moment.
And for October and November weddings, if you are having an outdoor ceremony, it's very important to schedule it at least two hours before sunset (let’s say 4 pm, to play it safe). This is not just for your photos (because we can shoot in the dark, if necessary), but it's more enjoyable for your guests as well to witness a well-lit ceremony.
#10 - Logistics for Travel
Always have us ride with you. In the car, make sure there's room for one of us on the way to the ceremony, and also in the limo going to the reception. You will get some very intimate moments captured this way, and also some of the most unexpected shots.
#11 (Bonus!) - Calculate Distances
This detail often gets overlooked, but I recommend having your getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations within 10-15 minutes from each other. You won’t believe how stressful traffic and unexpected road closures can be, before and during the wedding day. I have seen limos stall and drivers arrive late, which completely throws off your schedule and can eat into your ceremony. All this can be avoided or eliminated if you can manage to have all venues fairly close to each other.
Now that you’ve got these 10 "dirty" little secrets for perfect wedding photos, feel free to plan your wedding accordingly. Get inspired by checking out my wedding portfolio, or feel free to contact me here, and I will see to capture that crazy feeling of love, where life stands still and a story unfolds!