Your wedding images will be a part of your family's history forever! So when it comes to your photos, a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring an optimal environment for great photo-taking! Here is a list of our top 10 tips for getting the BEST photos on your wedding day.
1. Make Time
This seems like such an obvious answer... but it's worth repeating, a thousand times over. Your photographer is not a magician. They cannot create time out of thin air!
If you want photos of you and your girls getting ready, and photos at that cool park across town, and 25 combinations of family photos.... you absolutely have to not only MAKE time for them in your timeline, but you also need to add buffer time (because nothing at a wedding runs on time... pretty much ever).
Work with your photographer (and your wedding planner!) to create the optimal timeline for photos and events.
If your actual wedding day is going to be tight on time, or if you simply want a more relaxed day... consider a bridal portrait session (pre-wedding... works well to coincide with hair and makeup trial!) or a post-wedding newlywed portrait session (get dressed back up in your wedding attire for some additional, amazing portraits!).
2. Hire Professional Hair and Makeup -- Specifically, Airbrush Makeup
You want to look like a million bucks on the best day of your life? After all is said and done, your photos will remain. And your makeup will be seen on you in every image that is taken. Make sure it not only looks GREAT, but that it will last.... ALL DAY.
Airbrush makeup is an incredible option that every bride should absolutely consider for her big day. Particularly for brides with summer weddings or live in areas that are prone to heat or humidity, quality airbrush makeup application will not only last all day, you'll still look AMAZING... even at the end of the dance!
3. Splurge on a big, beautiful bouquet
There are 3 things you'll see in almost every photo of yourself on your wedding day: your dress, your hair and makeup, and your flowers.
Your bouquet will enhance the beauty of your images and bring in a beautiful focal point for detail images. A stunning bouquet can really help a good image become a WOW image!
If you can, splurge on a big, beautiful bouquet of blooms and greens for yourself and your girls. If you have to cut costs and want to DIY or order simpler bouquets for your bridesmaids, just make sure to get a fabulous bouquet for yourself.
3. Skip the fake tan
95% of the time, "fake tanning" before your wedding is just a bad idea. I've absolutely had brides who come back to me and say "Can you make me less orange?"
Remember ALL TAN LINES, not just the ones on your shoulders/chest! If your dress back is open... you need to remember that area too.
If you're desperate for a sunny glow, do a trial run (or 2!) before the wedding day. We highly recommend not "fake" tanning any later than 48 hours leading up to your wedding day.... If you're not normally "fake tan", just remember... you'll be seeing these images for a lifetime! Natural is best when possible.
4. Get your teeth cleaned (and whitened!)
You'd be surprised how many clients wish their smile was brighter and whiter in their wedding images! A quick cleaning at your dentist followed by a whitening treatment (professional or home kit) can leave your smile sparkling and photo ready. Be sure to follow your dentist's recommendations, and also avoid dark soda, tea and coffee in the days leading up to your wedding.
5. Hydrate and Sleep
Going hand-in-hand with hiring a fabulous hair + makeup artist... make sure you're getting enough water and sleep leading up to your big day! Beautiful, glowing skin doesn't happen easily with wedding stress and sleepless nights. So make sure you're hydrating well and get a good amount of sleep, at least for the 2-3 days leading up to your wedding, if nothing else.
I speak from experience... do not think you can wake up and feel great and look great on your wedding day if you're dehydrated and tired! Staying up til 2am the night before your wedding is not a good idea... ;-)
6. Prep your "details" ahead of time
Have all of your "details" set aside on a separate table or counter space and ready to go! This works especially well if you can set everything out the night before the wedding and double check that you have everything.
Everything from your dress to jewelry, perfume bottle to invitation suite.
REMEMBER TO STEAM YOUR DRESSES (Bride + Bridesmaids) before the wedding day to avoid delays on the morning of.
Once everything is in one place, your photographer will be able to quickly and efficiently capture all of your details before you need to get ready!
6. Have your bridesmaids (and moms!) ready before you put on your dress
Who will be helping you get into your gown on your wedding day? Whether your mom, or all of your bridesmaids, whomever is assisting you into your dress should be ready prior to your "getting in the dress" photos.
Another option is to have bridesmaids either fully dressed or in matching robes and to allow for a "reveal" of the bride once she's dressed -- which also makes amazing photos!
7. Follow the LIGHT
There are certain times of day when the QUALITY of light is infinitely better than other times of the day, particularly for your portraits. If you're drawn to the soft, romantic glow of the "golden hour" (the hour before sunset), make sure to SCHEDULE time to take portraits. If you miss this window of time, you cannot get that beautiful light back!
Same goes for mid-day photos. When the sun is directly overhead, it is usually vital that any outdoor portraits are taken in a well-shaded space. Photographing in direct overhead sun (around noon, let's say) will either create "raccoon eyes" with shadows under your eyes from the light placement, or your photographer will have to add flash to every image to fill in those shadows. Most couples prefer the soft look of natural light in "open shade" at those times of the day.
Lastly... finding a good space for your "getting ready" (for both bride AND groom) with ample natural light will create a much better "light environment" for your photos. Take a look around... the "temperature" of a bedside lamp (warm) versus daylight (cool) causes a temperature imbalance in your photos. Most photographers will turn off indoor lighting and concentrate on the beautiful natural light tone versus artificial light.
Remember.... QUALITY light is much better than QUANTITY of light! Trust your photographer on this.
8. De-Clutter Your Spaces
If you want beautiful images throughout the day, ensure that the "clutter" is kept at bay. That means all those plastic dress bags, sandwich platters, bridesmaids' duffel bags of stuff, random curling irons, red solo cups perched on every ledge with the morning's mimosas.... etc. etc.
If you cannot keep the "clutter" in a separate room, keep it on one side of the room, preferably away from any beautiful natural light sources.
6. Skip the crazy DJ lights -- at least until after the "first dances"!
Have you ever seen a bride look fabulous with green dots all over her face from DJ lights? Me either. While DJ lights and uplighting can look great under the right circumstances, evaluate how and when you want them used. Our preference is that all DJ lights (except possibly a spotlight) remain OFF during all "traditional" dances (first dance, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance). This will allow us to candidly move around the edges of the dance floor to capture your beautiful moments *without* having to sacrifice that "perfect shot"... because you're covered in green dots of light!
10. Hire a professional photographer
I can't believe I even feel like this needs to be mentioned.... but this is the BIGGEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. You're likely spending MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS putting on a fabulous party, getting dolled up like a princess and having the very best time of your life! But oftentimes, couples will start feeling the money pinch and look to cut costs -- sometimes, this comes in the form of ditching a professional photographer and simply hiring a "family friend" or your cousin with a "nice camera".
DO NOT DO THIS!!!
We cannot tell you how many horror stories we've heard over the years when couples choose an inexperienced photographer to capture their most precious memories. Awful exposures, blurry photos, weird angles, missed moments, or... in the worst situations.... the complete loss of all digital files or film... meaning, NO WEDDING PHOTOS AT ALL. Or mostly unusable images.
Trust a professional. Hire the best you can afford, and stretch your budget to get the best. You will NEVER regret having your memories preserved for a lifetime.
You only get one chance to have amazing photos. :-)