Quick Tips to Plan for Great Wedding Photos

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I believe it is part of my job to educate my clients on how I am able to get the images I get on a wedding day. While I know photography isn’t the most important part of a wedding day, if a couple has hired me for their wedding, I know photography is important to them. There are some simple choices you can make during your planning stages that won’t disrupt the overall day but will help me to get the photographs I know you want.

1.Plan for great lighting. Yes, I am totally one of those photographers that is constantly aware of her light. In fact, the word photo MEANS light in Greek. Yes, it’s super important! If you look at the images on my site, the photos all have clean, soft lighting. There aren’t harsh shadows across faces or hard background light. Plan your ceremony to be in soft, shaded light or next to a tree with the sun behind you, filtering through the leaves. It’s all about flattering light!

2. Give me details. When I get there, I like to start with your details. The night before the wedding, put together a box to get things rolling right away including your shoes, jewelry, a bottle of the perfume you’ll be wearing, the rings, a copy of the invitations and any other details that might be special to you.

3. Plan where you’re getting ready. If your getting ready images matter, where you get ready matters! Get ready in a neat, tidy room with plenty of space and light!

4. Have an unplugged ceremony. I cannot tell you how many times I line up my shot at a ceremony only to have several guests jump right in front of me with their cell phones on camera mode. I don’t want to hand over images of your guests backsides, however lovely they maybe! Invite your guests to be present with you during your special moment while I take care of the photos. I recently blogged a full post on this with a gorgeous free printable that you can check out here.

5. Have a first look. I don’t have a strong preference on having a first look but you need to know that you have to designate time for portraits while the sun is still up. If you want a sunset ceremony with sunset lighting, then you will need to take care of formal portraits before the ceremony. If you want portraits after the ceremony, you will need to plan an earlier ceremony and take care of where the ceremony is held so no one is in harsh light.

6. Hire a great DJ! Dancing photos are the BEST! They are full of life and laughter and movement! If people aren’t dancing, they are likely sitting at their table, a dirty plate in front of them, talking quietly. Not much for me to shoot there…. a great DJ can make your reception epic, get people partying, and as a result, give you great reception images. Arizona couples check out DJ Trego with VOX and Gary with SKM Entertainment!

7. Light your reception. Dark reception rooms are hard to work with. I am great with flash, but twinkle lights and tons of candles can really help! That ambient lighting will help tell the story of reception a lot better than keeping everything super dark.

8. Have a timeline. I know a lot of couples who say “I don’t want everyone on a strict timeline. I just want everyone to have a good time.” And while that might make sense, it’s also going to have the reverse effect. Without a timeline, the day tends to drag, dinner gets served late to guests who expected to eat an hour before, and people leave soon after dinner thinking the party has died down. Keep the day moving so that your guests don’t get bored and so you’re not rushing to play catch up later in the night.

9. Have an engagement session. Wedding day time is completely different from normal time. Your wedding day goes by in the blink of en eye. I would rather spend an hour on a no stress afternoon learning your angles and getting comfortable with one another than on a wedding day. Your wedding day photos will go much more smooth if you know what to expect beforehand!

Any wedding vendors up in here? Add your own tips below in the comments!

For photographers, looking for some serious workflow and editing help? ShootDotEdit has a fantastic article that you need to read right here!

Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

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