For brides hoping to get the wedding photos of your dreams, here are 10 steps to help get you there. Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking and full of big decisions. It can be overwhelming! Not many things will last as long as the photographs you will have after your special day. These are pictures you will treasure forever and it makes sense that you want them to capture all the detail, beauty, and emotion of your wedding from start to finish.
1. Do your local wedding photographer research
This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s so important! Finding a photographer who you can picture yourself working with, shares your vision, has an editing style you love, and can communicate well with you is an absolute must. When it comes to your big day, you want to have complete faith that your photographer has you covered and that you will feel comfortable working together throughout the day. Take the time to look around, fill out some contact forms, and hop on the phone. Make sure you check off all the boxes that are important to you. There are a lot of photographers out there. You might like a photographer’s style, but they are tough to talk to. Or you could really enjoy a conversation with someone, but their editing style is a little dark (or bright, or editorial, etc) for you. The perfect match exists, don’t worry!
2. Create a wedding photography inspiration board
I love a beautiful inspiration board! And brides, this is perfect for planning how you want your wedding photos to look. Hop on Pinterest and Instagram and start saving what you like. Aim for the overall feel that you want to get from your photographs. Do you want mostly candid pictures, posed portraits, or a combination of both. Is there a particular photographic and editing style that you are drawn to? By exploring what you like the most, you can narrow things down to the photographers who have a style matching your own. Your inspiration board can also serve as an easy way to communicate with your chosen photographer what you are dreaming of.
3. Communicate your wedding day vision
Your inspiration board can help you easily communicate your vision. You can discuss this at your initial consultation, and again as you get closer to the wedding date. Make sure you are as specific and detailed as possible. While photographers are artists with their own style, they also want to make sure you get the wedding photos of your dreams.
4. Don’t skip the initial consultation
You will be working closely with your chosen photographer, so make sure you don’t skip a consultation. Whether you get on the phone, video call, or meet in person; this is the perfect time to really connect with your potential photographer. Every photographer will conduct their consultation a little differently, but here are a few things they typically go over: Amount of coverage, timeline, gallery delivery, products, image delivery, turnaround time, contract, and payment. This is also a time for you to come prepared with some questions for the photographer. It’s a nice time to get any questions answered, find out more details, and get an overall first impression.
5. Create a detailed wedding day photography timeline
In order for your photographer to make sure they get all the most important details for you, it’s important to give them a detailed timeline. I always get every little detail I can from invitations and getting ready photos all the way to your exit. But, if your photographer is unaware that something important is happening, then they won’t be able to position themselves to catch it. So be as accurate, detailed, and specific as possible. And be sure to include which items and events are most important to you and your significant other. Sometimes, photographers will need to choose between two events happening at the same time. And consider asking about a second photographer or assistant if you would like to ensure every moment is captured. Some photographers always use a second photographer, and most others will offer one as an addition to your package.
6. Put someone in charge of formal portraits and details
Be sure to put someone in charge of coordinating and communicating formal portraits throughout the day. Even with a detailed timeline and list of important events, your photographer will need help locating people and coordinating formal portraits. For example, while you and your significant other are having your formal portraits taken, the person in charge can be helping to gather all the bridesmaids for the next formal shots. This keeps the timeline moving along and organized.
7. Allow plenty of time for each part of your day
Events throughout the wedding day often take longer than anticipated. Begin hair and makeup earlier than you would think necessary and make sure you allow enough time for everything. Your photographer will want to photograph you getting ready, your bridal party, final touch ups, and candid moments. You don’t want to rush those fun memories. Formal photos can also take much longer than you would think. Putting someone in charge of tracking down the various groupings will go a long way toward speeding things up. Build in plenty of time to track down a missing uncle or bridesmaid with a wardrobe emergency. With some extra time, little problems are easily smoothed over and the day can stay on track.
8. Remember your invitation suite, jewelry, and other items for detail photos
Don’t forget to set aside all the little details you would like your photographer to include in your final gallery. I love to deliver a gallery filled with details, formals, and candids. They all go together to tell the story of your wedding day and your love. You will be busy the day of your wedding, so set these items aside ahead of time and assign someone in your bridal party to be in charge of them. Be sure to include your invitation and all paper goods with it. You will also want to include jewelry, accessories, shoes, headpieces, groom’s accessories, florals, and any other little details that are meaningful to you.
9. Give your photographer all the vendor information ahead of time
All the vendors for your wedding are a vital part of your day and a photographer will want to be sure to acknowledge them. Make sure you list all the vendors and their information (including social media accounts). I always like to make sure I am able to photograph every vendor, their work, and details important to them and give them credit for their work.
10. Plan a first look and an exit for amazing pictures
The first look and an exit are amazing opportunities for stunning and special images. Each of these will need to be coordinated ahead of time and planned with your photographer. The first look is a special private moment between the couple before they get married. There is so much emotion, love, and joy wrapped up in this one moment. Your exit is another emotional moment. But this one is usually full of fun and excitement at the end of the night. Make sure you plan a time and communicate your plans with the photographer. They will want to position themselves in the right place at the right time to catch all the fun.
If you are a bride planning your wedding and thinking about photos, it’s an exciting and often overwhelming time. Begin early, take your time, and get in touch with some photographers that fit your style and budget. Opening up your wedding gallery year after year to enjoy is something every couple should be able to do. Get in touch if you are in the PNW and are ready to begin planning for your dream wedding photos. Please click on the buttons below for more information or to inquire.
Thanks for reading!