As a Bride, How to Plan for Photos

From the weddings I have now shot, I have gathered opinions about what matters most (outside of having a good photographer) in getting better shots.  Yes, a lot still depends on you, the couple and how you communicate with your photographer. It's an important day and we're all out to make it as perfect as possible!

1. Time. I cannot stress this enough. Everyone is so crazy the day of the wedding and you're trying to visit with a hundred plus people, which makes things challenging when it comes to time.  Leave at minimum an hour before and/or after the ceremony for couples shots, bridal party shots, and family shots. Think about your venue. Do you have time to walk around and find a good place for shots or can you do it at the ceremony location?  The less staged the pictures are, the better, so you don't want to be in a rush.  Leave time to just have fun and enjoy laughing with friends and family.  Taking bridals before hand is also beneficial for this same reason, but it's understandable if you don't want him to see you in your dress until after ;)

2. Location. Having a good venue makes a huge difference as well. Is there greenery?  Is there textured walls?  If it's inside, how high are the ceilings? Is there enough lighting from large windows?

3. Lighting. People always underestimate the importance of lighting. You don't want it at noon because the sunlight is shining directly and washes out skin tone, but you also want to make sure there is plenty of overcast light/shade for all outdoor photos.  It's hard to plan for weather, but be sure to factor in the sunlight when you're planning out our wedding agenda. 

4. Prep. these pictures are some of the most memorable and characteristic of your day.  Don't forget to plan out getting ready with the bridesmaids and groomsmen.  Tell your photographer where both parties will be getting ready. Plan to have a dress photo, and all other details captured.  These are fun things to remember and it's nice to have the memories of all the nerves and excitement before the rush of the ceremony or reception.

5. Speak up.  If you have something specific in mind that you want your photographer to capture, speak up!  Give them examples of shots you have seen and would like to have.  I honestly love when a bride knows what she wants.

6. List - along with #5, make a list of important shots and people.  The photographer will probably not know who's who and will need someone to help point out the bride's family and the groom's family.  Sometimes certain family situations aren't always understood, so just make sure your photographer knows what's most important to you.

7. Ceremony.  The photographer will most likely ask, but find out what restrictions the ceremony may have on photography.  How close do you want them to get?  They will need to plan out where they can stand and will need to be there for the rehearsal if available to see the general program.  Communication is very important.  The photographer needs to plan out the best angle to get those precious moments.

8. Videographer. If you have someone doing video, you need to get these two parties together.  You realize now that you are having to double up on space and photo time.  They have to avoid being in each others way and working to get the shots they need at the same time.

9. Other Cameras. Inform other guests who may bring their "professional" camera that you have hired people and they should be mindful of them.  This is kind of a pet peeve of mine and it is just wonderful when I don't have to go around the mob of family friendly cameras.

I hope this helps!  It all comes down to good planning and getting awesome people in charge of the things they are best at.  Once you make your decisions, make the most of it and just remember to smile and have fun. That reminds me . . . 

10. Smile and Laugh. a lot.  This is your day and you get to marry the person of your dreams; don't forget how amazing that is!

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