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30 Easy Ways to Ensure That You'll Love Your Wedding Photos

Fifty years from now, your wedding album will be one of the few items you have left to relive all of the precious memories from your big day. Lay the groundwork for your photographer to capture amazing photos you'll cherish by outlining all of your expectations in advance. Here, pro shutterbugs share how you can prepare for your experience in front of the lens and help make it a positive one.

By: Stefania Sainato

Enter Slideshow
  • Don

    Don't decide who to pick based on the prices of their wedding packages alone.

    Take into account their experience level and how they make you feel. Factor in how personable they are and the vibe that they give off. "Your photographer is the mouthpiece for all of your planning, designing, and execution. Securing someone who speaks your language is important," says Britt Chudleigh from Britt Chudleigh Weddings.

    Related: What to Ask Before Booking a Potential Photographer

  • Determine your photography style before you book.

    Determine your photography style before you book.

    "Are you more of a traditional pose kind of bride, do you like a more journalistic approach, or do you love the quirky, silly poses? I knew what I wanted but let myself be talked into something else by the photographer and have always regretted it!" says Gilit Cooper from The Bannerie. You don’t want to have to ask them to emulate someone else’s style.

    Photo Credit: La Candella Weddings

  • Ask to see the photos from an entire wedding — not just their best shots.

    Ask to see the photos from an entire wedding — not just their best shots.

    "Viewing an entire album from start to finish will give you a better idea of the photographer's style and the types of photos you can expect to receive. Also, pay special attention to their portraits: Detail shots can be beautiful, but portraits are most likely the ones you will select and hang in your home, so make sure you can see the energy and personality of the couple in these photos," says Kristin Watkins of Stephanie Rose Events.

  • Choose a professional who specializes in weddings.

    Choose a professional who specializes in weddings.

    "While you may stumble across some talented photographers in your search, it is very important that they have some experience in wedding photography. You need a photographer who understands the flow of the event and will be able to take charge when necessary," says Isaac Coffy from Coffy Creations Photography.

  • Make sure you contract for enough hours of photography.

    Make sure you contract for enough hours of photography.

    "I can’t tell you how many photographers will sell a client on a five to seven-hour package," says Aviva Samuels from Kiss the Planner. "Sure, the price is more appealing. However, when you sit down to create the wedding timeline, you will most likely discover that you don't have enough hours to capture all of the special moments and details." She recommends an eight to ten-hour package in order to capture the wedding prep, the first look (if you have one), the family portraits, and all of the key reception moments.

    Photo Credit: Juan Euan Photography

  • Go with a smaller photo package up front.

    Go with a smaller photo package up front.

    "Our biggest tip for keeping the budget down with photography is not to focus too much on the 'extras' offered in packages. You can always save up and purchase albums, prints, and canvases later on. Spend your money on hiring the photographer whose style you truly love, not on who offers the most products in their packages!" say Troy and Aimee Grover from The Grovers.

    Related: 101 Ways to Save Thousands on Your Wedding

    Photo Credit: The Grovers

  • Confirm your shooter in advance.

    Confirm your shooter in advance.

    "Larger studios may have more than one photographer on staff, and depending on your contract, the main shooter may not be the one that you meet in the consult. Every professional has a different style, technique, and personality, so you need to make sure the photographer you interview and 'click' with will be the same one who works your wedding," says Maik Hassel from Nirvana Photography Studios.

  • Schedule your engagement photo session early on in the wedding-planning process.

    Schedule your engagement photo session early on in the wedding-planning process.

    Not only will this give you ample time to incorporate your gorgeous photos into your save-the-date, but it will also validate your choice of photographer and give you a sneak preview of the big day. "We use this session to get to know our couples and teach them how to stand, how to sit, what to do with their hands and feet so they look their best when being photographed. Every time we do an engagement session for our couples, their wedding images turn out better and they have a great time," says Jerry W. Venz from The Storytellers, a member of Professional Photographers of America.

    Related: 25 Fun Locations for Your Engagement Photos

    Photo Credit: La Candella Weddings

  • Create a list of must-have details you want photographed.

    Create a list of must-have details you want photographed.

    When it comes to capturing the details you've worked so hard to plan, it's key to have a list of the still-life shots you want: the cake, the centerpiece, your wedding gown on the hanger, place cards, bouquets and more. "Some things, like escort cards, are time-sensitive, so it's good to know when they'll be placed, so the photographer can get to them before the guests do," says Lisa Lefkowitz from Lisa Lefkowitz Photography. It's also just as important to tell your photographer about little things that have special meaning to you, whether it's an heirloom locket from your parents or a hidden "something blue."

  • Do a fun bridal shoot before the big day.

    Do a fun bridal shoot before the big day.

    "Your wedding gown is likely to be the most expensive garment you'll ever own, yet you only get to wear it once. And the one time you do wear it, it's on a hectic day when you're being rushed from preparation to the ceremony to the reception, and hurriedly taking zillions of photos along the way. Why not honor the dress with a fun fashion shoot before your big day?" says Chris Smith from Chris and Cami Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America.

    Related: 33 Tips for Taking Beautiful Bridal Portraits

    Photo Credit: Chris Smith from Chris and Cami Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America

  • Consider hiring a second shooter.

    Consider hiring a second shooter.

    While you’re caught up in the joy and happiness of the day, you’ll be relying on your photographer to capture all the important highlights. But what about those spontaneous moments you haven’t accounted for? That’s where your second shooter steps in! "It’s moments like the glow on your fiance’s face when you walk down the aisle, or the happy tears your mom sheds during your first dance, that are too beautiful to go unnoticed! By hiring a second shooter to work with your lead photographer on your wedding day, you’ll sleep well knowing that no sweet moment will go un captured," says Amanda Liberatore at George Street Photo & Video.

    Related: 200+ Emotional Wedding Moments

    Photo Credit: Riverbend Studio

  • Get ready for your wedding in a beautiful, well-lit space.

    Get ready for your wedding in a beautiful, well-lit space.

    Make sure there's plenty of room for the number of people you intend to have with you while you're getting dressed. "The setting for these photos will greatly influence your wedding photos so try to match the décor of this space to the vibe of your wedding so your album will be consistent. Boutique hotels are great (my personal favorite is the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg) and there are also some great options on AirBnB," says Rima from Rima Brindamour Photography.

  • Consider hiring a professional makeup artist.

    Consider hiring a professional makeup artist.

    "The camera captures at least 50% less makeup than what's visible in real life. Therefore, even if you want a subtle beauty look in your photos, you still need to exaggerate the makeup you're applying, because it won't show up as strong through the lens. Hire some professional help for your engagement photos, bridal shower or the wedding day to be sure that you have just enough makeup to be a bright and shiny bride!" says Kimberly Nicol from Nicol Artistry.

    Related: 90+ Stunning Ideas for Your Wedding Makeup.

  • Schedule enough prep time.

    Schedule enough prep time.

    "You'd be surprised how long it takes to get ready and photograph your big day! Double the amount of time you think it would take to get photos of your wedding dress, accessories, bridal portraits, and you with your bridesmaids," says Lauren Agresti from New Love Photography. She suggests having your "wearables" (dress, garter, jewelry, shoes, etc.) all in one place so the photographer can take detailed shots of them before you get dressed.

    Related: 60 Must-Have "Getting Ready" Photos

    Photo Credit: New Love Photography

  • Set aside time for a "first look" with your father and ask your photographer to capture it on film.

    Set aside time for a "first look" with your father and ask your photographer to capture it on film.

    "Your dad will be forever grateful," says Mark Motichek of Mark Eric Photography. Motichek explains that all too often, he sees "Dad happens to stumble into the chaos that is the bridal suite looking for his boutonniere, only to discover that his little girl is being transformed into a glamorous young lady wearing a white dress over in the corner. Just as he begins to approach her to tell her how beautiful she is, he's whisked away to check on some other wedding task...that's it, that was his moment." Alloting time for this special encounter will prevent this from happening.

    Related: Our Favorite Father-Daughter Moments

    Photo Credit: Mark Eric Photography

  • Most photography shots completely conceal a bride

    Most photography shots completely conceal a bride's feet, so bring a pair of backup flats.

    "The number of brides I hear lamenting about how much their feet hurt is way too high. Sometimes, their pained expressions will even come through in the photos," says William Petruzzo from Petruzzo Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America. "The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you'll be. You'll also enjoy a lot more mobility in flats, particularly during the formal photos, where traveling off the beaten path might be an attractive option," he says.

    Photo Credit: William Petruzzo from Petruzzo Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America

  • Be aware that the time of day and season you choose to get married in will impact your wedding photos.

    Be aware that the time of day and season you choose to get married in will impact your wedding photos.

    "If you want beautiful, natural light photos or gorgeous sunset snapshots of you and your groom, but you also want a six p.m. ceremony in November, it's not going to happen. It'll be pitch black by the time you get married. Work with your photographer to determine what is most important to you and heed their advice on how best to achieve it," says Renee Sprink from Renee Sprink Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America. In this scenario, she suggests either moving the ceremony start time up (probably by several hours) or having a "first look" with the groom before the ceremony.

    Photo Credit: Renee Sprink from Renee Sprink Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America

  • Don

    Don't freak out if it's an overcast day.

    “If you’re having an outdoor wedding and the sun refuses to shine on the big day, all is not lost!” says photographer Hannah Arista from Hannah Arista Photography. She says: “If the sun is being fickle, console yourself with the knowledge that the most gorgeous photographs are taken on overcast days with diffuse light.” Arista points out that the sun is high contrast and tends to be less flattering. “On an overcast day, colors will also be richer and more vibrant, and faces will be more open and natural — expressions won’t be marred by squinting eyes.”

    Related: 25 of the Best Rainy-Day Wedding Photos

  • Have a plan in place.

    Have a plan in place.

    "One of the best ways to ensure that your photographer meets your expectations is to have a planning session with them about two weeks before the big day. They'll help you put together your wedding-day timeline, a list of 'must-have' photos, and a checklist of who needs to be available when and where," says John Gentry from John Gentry Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America.

    "Your photographer will be the only vendor who will be with you for every portion of your wedding, so it’s important to be in agreement with them before you arrive," Gentry explains.

    Photo Credit: John Gentry from John Gentry Photography, a member of Professional Photographers of America

  • Make sure you have ample time for formal portraits.

    Make sure you have ample time for formal portraits.

    "The biggest mistake that brides make is underestimating how long it takes to photograph and gather friends and family for portraits," says Britt Chudleigh of Britt Chudleigh Weddings. Assign someone to help you wrangle everyone up for snapshots. If you prefer not to see your fiancé before the ceremony, then stagger your portraits with each side of the family separately, leaving only the photos with you as newlyweds and a couple of combined group photos for the cocktail hour. 

    Related: 50 Fun Family Photos to Take at Your Wedding

    Photo Credit: K Hulett Photography

  • Fill your photographer in on key relationships or things that may not be obvious at first glance.

    Fill your photographer in on key relationships or things that may not be obvious at first glance.

    "For instance, if your parents had a terrible divorce and they haven't spoken in years, we will actively (and subtly) ensure they aren't positioned next to each other in photos. If someone has passed away, or there is any other sensitive issue happening, please let us know that as well," says Ashley from Ashley Garmon Photographers.

    Related: 5 Tips To Help Your Photographer Capture Magical Moments

  • Choose a private location for your portraits.

    Choose a private location for your portraits.

    For your bride and groom portraits, choose a location that won’t catch the attention of Uncle Harold, who brings his camera everywhere! "It’s important to spend the time alone, as a bride and groom, with your photographer to make sure they are getting a real moment. Too many spectators or amateur photographers can ruin those precious moments and leave you with stiff portraits," says Lauren Kearns from Lauren Kearns Photography.

    Related: 75+ New Must-Have Photos With Your Groom

  • Schedule a few nighttime shots.

    Schedule a few nighttime shots.

    "If you're having an evening reception, consider stepping out to take some awesome nighttime shots, which can be unique additions to your bride and groom portraits," says Sarah Maughan from Urban Anchor Photography. She advises discussing it with your photographer ahead of time, so they know you're interested and to make sure they have the right equipment to get you that artsy, dramatic shot.

    Photo Credit: Juan Euan Photography

  • Practice picture-perfect posture.

    Practice picture-perfect posture.

    When you’re getting your bridal portraits taken, pretend that you have a wire attached to the top of your head, gently pulling it upward. This will help you stand straighter. Also, lift your chin slightly and pull your shoulders back. The result is a longer, leaner, and more beautiful you in all of your stunning bridal portraits. And keep this tip in mind during the actual wedding reception as well.

    Related: More Tips on How to Improve Your Posture

  • Find your most flattering angles.

    Find your most flattering angles.

    "Women come in different sizes and shapes, and that's awesome! Do your research before getting in front of the camera and tell your photographer what your 'best side' is," says Nicki Metcalf from Nicki Metcalf Photography.

  • Hold your bouquet the right way.

    Hold your bouquet the right way.

    "Try to hold your bouquet at belly button level to prevent it from obscuring your dress details and parts of your face," says Michele Graves from Michele Graves Photography.

  • For gorgeous wedding photos, just say "yes."

    For gorgeous wedding photos, just say "yes."

    According to Terilyn and Koby Brown of Archetype Studio, this relaxes the jaw line, separates your lips and automates a naturally pleasant expression.

    Photo Credit: Browne Photography

  • Decide on a social media strategy for your wedding in advance.

    Decide on a social media strategy for your wedding in advance.

    Your photographer needs to know the plan of attack so that they can come up with fun ways of capturing everything. "You have two options: ask your guests to go "unplugged" for the ceremony (meaning no electronics) or embrace technology with a photo scavenger hunt and put a list of must-have pictures at each table. If you opt for the second approach, then your photographer can shoot from the perspective of your guests' phones or tablets," says Jessica Williams from Jessica Williams Studio, a member of Professional Photographers of America.

    Related: How to Choose Your Wedding Hashtag

    Photo Credit: Jessica Williams from Jessica Williams Studio, a member of Professional Photographers of America

  • Ask to see the back of the camera.

    Ask to see the back of the camera.

    "The photographer might instruct you to do something that will seem silly or awkward, but seeing the pictures will show you just how amazing you look and give you the confidence to continue," says Ashley Beasley from Luke & Ashley Photography.

  • Remember that you selected your wedding professionals for a reason.

    Remember that you selected your wedding professionals for a reason.

    Trust in their vision! "Micromanagement and extended instructions are counterproductive and greatly restrict creativity (particularly with photographers and cinematographers). The best results come not in mimicking other photos but in letting your photographer or cinematographer visualize the scene, the two of you as a couple, and execute the best vision for that particular time and place. That’s when the magic happens!" says Jessica Tincopa from Jessica Elizabeth Photography.

    Photo Credit: Snowdrop Photography

30 Easy Ways to Ensure That You'll Love Your Wedding Photos

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