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How to Help Your Photographer Get You the Best Wedding Photos Ever

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So you picked your wedding photographer; you love her personality, her style, her work.  But let’s be honest: she’s human.  You’ve seen her wedding photos that are good and her photos that are AMAZING.  What can you do to help your photographer do her very best work for you? Here are a few tips to help your photographer get you her best wedding photos ever:

1.Trust her to use her Creative Eye

Skip the shot list.  You may have seen a photographer do photos in front of a fountain or a gazebo on your wedding venue’s property,  but remember, you didn’t hire that photographer for a reason.  You hired YOUR photographer because you love the way she composes photos, creates scenes, uses light and creates candid moments.   She may see lighting issues you don’t see, or she might realize how awesome the light looks in what you thought was just a drabby little staircase, or and how magical it’s going to look when its blurred out in the background of your photos.   If you want her best work, trust her to do what she does best.  Give her a general idea of where you want to go and leave it to her to find the magical gems you would have never looked twice at.

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2. Allow Double the Time You Think You Need

If anything goes wrong on a wedding day, guess what’s the only thing you can cut time off of?  You guessed it: the photography.  The more rushed your photographer is, the less chance she’ll be as creative and seeing those opportunities for jaw-dropping photos or the amazing moments unfolding.  To avoid this, make sure to leave extra time for photos and any traveling between locations.  Especially if you aren’t doing a first look, make sure your cocktail hour is sufficiently long to fit in all the photos you want.  I recommend 45 minutes to an hour for bride and Groom portraits. Why so long?  This allows us to walk around the property to different locations,  to play with different techniques and most of all to give YOU time to get comfortable in front of the camera and for me to discover what angles and poses are the most natural and flattering for you.  If you are considering doing photos off site, which I sometimes recommend if the venue doesn’t offer many options, leave double the time you think you need for travel.  Keep in mind that photographers have a lot of equipment to pack and unpack at every location, so be sure to leave time for that as well.

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3. Make and Manage Your Family Photo List

Everyone wants family photos, but no one wants to pose for them.  To keep them moving as fast as possible, I ask my clients in advance to provide a list of each shot they want with each family members name listed out. Moving from larger to smaller groupings allows us to move through the photos very quickly by pulling people out rather than having to repose a group several times.  Always make sure family knows when to arrive for family photos and I recommend telling them 10  minutes before the real start time if you don’t want waiting on your notoriously late aunt to hold up the day.  I do not recommend family photos in the middle of cocktail hour as gathering everyone can be impossible.  Doing family photos directly before or after the ceremony usually works best.

Sample Family Photo List:

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, Fred, George, Ron

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur

-Harry, Ginny, Molly, Arthur

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4. Consider an Engagement Session

Though I don’t require that all my couples do an engagement session (and indeed for some of my out-of-state couples it’s not possible), but I do highly recommend it whenever possible.  So many brides and grooms come into their  wedding day unnecessarily nervous about the photo portion of the day, and the photographer ends up spending the first 15 minutes getting you relaxed and warmed up.  That’s time that she could have been getting “Best-Photo-Ever” material, if you had already been warmed up to your photographers style of working before the wedding day.

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5. Sunset Photos

It’s true what they say!  On a sunny day,  the 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after sunset gives of the most beautiful, soft, light.  That’s why us photographers call it “Golden Hour.”   If it’s at all possible to do your portraits during this time, or to take 15 minutes for sunset photos, I highly recommend making time for it.

6. Complimentary Videographers

Your photographer, whether they know it or not, has a method for getting her best photos out of her clients.   Some photographers, like myself, chat a lot to their couples to keep them feeling relaxed and at ease and to create candid moments during portraits.  I will also move very fast from one pose to the other to keep clients from getting bored or feeling embarrassed or stiff.   I never interfere in the real moments of the wedding day or ask couples to “redo” their first look or cake cutting or to smile at the camera during moments like that.  Whether you know it or not, the videographer you hire could affect your photographer’s ability to  get those relaxed, candid-looking portraits  or real candid moments if they have a different method.  In my case, I do not produce my best work when I work with videographers who are directing the couple during portraits, interfering with real moments (or even worse, trying to create cheesy fake moments).  Chances are your photographer has a list of videographers that she loved working with who were a great compliment to her style and a list of ones that were not.  Check in with your photographer for her recommended videographer list, and if you don’t see what you are looking for on her list, talk to her about it.  What kind of video are you envisioning?  Show her vendors you are looking at and like.  She will probably be able to tell from their website sample videos if she thinks it would be a good fit or not.

 

To Keep in Mind: Obviously picking a gorgeous venue, a great florist, an amazing wedding designer etc.  is going to make some weddings photos stand out more than others; however, the above tips paired with an excellent photographer will help your photographer give YOU her best photos for YOUR unique wedding story and venue.  The fact is, weddings are living breathing organisms.  Every wedding is different and every day plays out differently.   While no wedding is perfect, and a good photographer should be able to adapt to any situation that might come up, the above are just a few tips to help avoid unnecessary problems that can affect your photos!

 

Jim Pollard - August 5, 2014 - 2:33 am

Beaut of a write up Caroline

Bob Patterson - August 7, 2014 - 3:09 am

Dan Moore Designs, check this article out.

Bob Patterson - August 7, 2014 - 3:10 am

Dan Moore Designs, check this article out.

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