How to Get Wedding Photos You'll Love

A lot of details go into planning a wedding, which is why it’s key to find a photographer that will perfectly capture those special moments that you’ll look back on and cherish forever. Here, three top wedding photographers share their expert advice on how to get the best photos ever. 

bride and groom wedding photo
Photo Credit: Rebecca Yale Photography

Determine Your Style

Every photographer has a different shooting style, which is why it’s important to decide what your personal style preference is first. Wyoming-based wedding photographer Carrie Patterson noted that you should be inspired by a photographer’s work from the start. ”If you can see yourself in a photographer’s images, then you’re on the right track,” she said. 

Just because you’re scoping out an award-winning photographer’s portfolio doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right fit for you. “You can’t change someone’s style, and style and taste should be an important factor to consider,” said New York-based photographer Jean-Pierre Uys. “You are in charge of your wedding style, so choose a photographer who naturally fits you,” he added. 

Also, never assume that a photographer will be able to adjust their style to achieve the type of photos you’re looking for. “Photographers are artists, and while we adapt to different environments and assignments, our shooting style is somewhat intrinsic,” said Los Angeles-based fine art wedding photographer Rebecca Yale.  If you have even the slightest hesitation, it’s best to keep searching until you find the right fit. 

Browse Through Full Galleries 

Most photographers will put a collection of greatest hits, including both editorial and real wedding photos, up on their sites in order to showcase their most prized work. However, you should thumb through full galleries before making a final decision. “You can get an idea for your photographers styling, posing, and use of light from an editorial shoot, but you really need to see a full wedding in order to get a comprehensive understanding of what your own wedding will look like,” said Yale. 

Don’t forget to pay special attention to portrait shots. “[They] reveal the most about a photographer’s style, as this is when they have full control,” relayed Uys. 

bridal portrait
Photo Credit: Rebecca Yale Photography

Go Over a Shot List With Your Photographer

Most photographers will provide you with a shot list prior to your wedding date. This not only gives them an idea of important family members and groups but also allows you to discuss any inspiration you may have. Uys noted that while inspiration photos can help, that it’s always best to pull them from your actual photographer’s portfolio. “It will be much easier to remember on the day while shooting and is great for the photographers’ confidence to see the work you like from their portfolio,” he said. 

As for the shot list, Patterson recommends keeping it short. “It’s most important for your photographer to be able to capture your unique day as it really happened,” she noted. “If you provide them with a ton of Pinterest photos to capture, then you’ll be spending more time re-creating somebody else’s work and not capturing what is really happening around you.” 

Take the time to think about photos you’ll cherish forever. “I always like to tell my couples to think about what photos you'll actually frame or put in your album and those should be the ones you take. Otherwise, you get into the wedding hokey-pokey and you get tired putting one family member in and pulling another family member out for hours on end,” added Yale. 

Discuss Lighting 

Lighting can make or break photos. In addition to a shot list, have a conversation with your photographer in regards to venue details, timing, and any specific shots in which photos may be affected by lighting. “You may love a spot in your venue, but the light is terrible there, so I wouldn't naturally take a photo there,” relayed Yale. Your photographer will be able to give you insight on when to take certain shots to ensure they’re timeless. 

wedding ceremony recessional 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Yale Photography 

Get Comfortable with Your Photographer 

Instead of waiting until your wedding day to work with your photographer, book them for an engagement or rehearsal dinner session if your budget allows. “You get comfortable with both your photographer and being photographed together, you learn what angles you like best of yourself, and you get the wonderful slice of life photos you'll look back on in 20 years and cherish,” stated Yale. 

Patterson also noted that a rehearsal dinner shoot is a great way to get your closest family and friends acquainted. “This is where the photographer will learn names and relationships,” she said. “Otherwise, it’s okay to include a list of important people and names on the provided shot list — and be sure to introduce them to each set of parents.”

Speak Up If Things Aren’t Going Your Way

If something isn’t going as planned, speak up. A wedding is a huge investment after all. “Talk to your wedding planner and have them communicate your concerns to your photographer,” noted Patterson. “If you don’t have a wedding planner, have your maid of honor politely address any concerns.”

The biggest piece of advice, Yale suggested, is to try and stay calm. It’s your big day, and you don’t want to risk getting upset over something that can easily be resolved. “Don't have a freak out or meltdown because then you’ll let it ruin not only your photos, but also the memories of the day itself,” she said. “Instead, reflect on what you don't like about what's happening and what constructive ways it could be fixed.”

bridal party wedding photo 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Yale Photography


These are some great photos by Rebecca, and she is obviously an expert in her craft. So often we have couples come to us after a failed engagement session with another photographer, or are told horror stories about the photographer that their best friend hired. I think couples often forget that just as much as they want a photographer who is fun and creative they also want someone who is consistent, professional and has a great history of happy clients. Absolutely pick someone who's style you love and who you'll enjoy having around all day, but remember to hire someone who has a history of performance, not just a few nice photos in their portfolio.