Secrets of a Photogenic Wedding
If you're into details, you'll love this list I've created of things to consider to ensure an even greater number of remarkable photos in your gallery! An awesome photographer helps, but preparation can take your photos to the next level!
All of the below are suggestions and absolutely non-essential, so no stress if they can't be achieved.
Send the Photographer an Invitation They can take a pretty snap of it, and it ensures they have all the correct information as the guests see it.
Limit People at Getting Ready Location Your nerves may be running a little high at this point, so a calm and quiet environment will help you to stay relaxed, and enjoy the photography process. Usually just the bride and bridesmaids, and perhaps the Mother of the bride too. If anyone tends to stress you out in high pressure situations you might consider politely giving them a job to do at the ceremony site so they're not with you while you get ready.
Consider the Look of the Prep Room A light and spacious location is ideal. If it's a dark house you might need to utilise an outside area for great photos as darkness can affect the quality of your images. Most hotel rooms are great, and you might also like to consider a light and spacious Airbnb as this can add a bit of character to the images.
Keep Prep Locations Tidy It makes all the difference to have a tidy backdrop in your getting ready room! It's amazing how quickly it can become cluttered with water bottles, empty glasses, food packets, wallets, and hairspray cans when lots of people are trying to get ready in a small space.
Schedule your Hair and Makeup Early It's best to have Bride's hair and makeup finished at least one hour prior to when you plan to depart for the ceremony. These things often run late, and can cut into valuable pre-wedding portrait time with your bridesmaids and family. The makeup artist may even like to finish up before the photographer arrives and then simply do a couple of finishing touches on you when the camera is ready.
Gentlemen, Prepare for Prep Photos Prep photos are about capturing the finishing touches, and cheersing your last moments of single-hood and good times ahead! In order to use the photographer's time more effectively during groom prep, it's a good idea to have the groom and groomsmen showered with pants and shirts on, but with top 3 shirt buttons and cuffs undone when the photographer arrives. You might also have your suits, ties, cuff links, belts, shoes, etc, all laid out ready with tags/labels/stickers all removed before the photographer arrives. Special underpants are of course an exception to the above 'pants-on' principal!
Unplugged Ceremony This one is a popular choice. It means you're requesting your guests to switch off their phones and cameras and be present to enjoy your ceremony, while the photographer does their thing. If you request the celebrant to make an announcement that you're having an unplugged ceremony, you reduce the risk of having a bunch of outstretched arms with phones and eager Uncle Bobs in the aisle in the way of the photographer capturing the key moments.
Request the Celebrant Stand to the Side Many celebrants do this now anyway so they're not in every close up photo at the alter, and most will step out of the way for the kiss anyway, but this might be something to consider chatting to them about.
Hold Hands During the Ceremony and look at each other! This will ensure you're nice and close together and connected for the duration of the formalities. It will also stop you wondering what to do with your hands!
Give Instructions for a Confetti Exit I know from plenty of experience that simply placing flower petals or confetti near the aisles isn't enough instruction for guests to know what to do with it. Ask the celebrant to tell guests before the ceremony what it's there for (so guests don't sprinkle it out prematurely), and then the celebrant might also instruct the guests to get ready to throw before you begin your walk. Then when you make your final walk back down the aisle, try to come all the way down the aisle at a nice slow pace. This is a very quick moment that looks amazing when captured well. If you can slow it down you'll increase the number of awesome shots!
Appoint Someone to Round up Guests for Family Photos Someone that knows who is who, with a commanding voice, and is reliable of course! This will save tonnes of time for the photographer to capture more beautiful candid moments.
Consider logistics of an All-Guests Photo No doubt these are the nearest and dearest of your friends and family if you have under 30 guests so why not get a quick shot of everyone together. If you've got a larger guest list the process of rounding everyone up may call for a couple of helpers to assist in pulling the guests away from their mingling.
Keep your Bridal Party Happy for the Photo Session Have someone organise to bring out drinks and nibbles for the bridal party and yourselves when you're doing your special photo session after the ceremony. Otherwise with all the adrenaline you'll be running low on fuel and may consider cutting the session short!
Keep Phones Out of Pockets for Photos Groomsmen tend to be guilty of keeping rectangular lumps in the pockets of their slim fitting pants. It can be very distracting in shots of the bridal party! Pop the Champagne! One of my fave shots to capture is a champagne pop with just the couple, or the bridal party too. You might like to get a cheap bottle of champagne specifially for this purpose. Don't forget to give it a good shake first!
Last and most importantly... Consider the Sunset Time At the end of the day, you may have a few keepsakes, but the most precious thing you will get to keep will be your photos. Photography literally means 'Writing with Light'. A photographer's paintbrush is a camera but our medium is light. Our favourite light to work with is during 'Golden Hour', the last hour before sunset. Tip: If you Google your wedding date + location + sunset you'll be able to find out the sunset time. I recommend that you aim to have the ceremony finish 1-1.5hrs before that, so there's just enough time for hugs and kisses, family photos, bridal party, and bride and groom portraits. If more than 50 guests, lean closer to 1.5hrs as it may take longer to round up family.
Remember, all of the above is completely optional - It's YOUR day, so do it YOUR way.