Get ready for some wedding photography tips for Brides from a professional wedding photographer with over a decade of experience!
I’m going to tell you what you actually need to know and do to get great wedding photos.
But perhaps, more importantly, I’m going to tell you what you don’t need to do.
Your wedding planning has already filled your to-do list with too many things.
I’d like to help you simplify.
To start, if you hire the right photographer, your wedding day gets easier rather than more complicated and you can focus on what’s really important.
The marriage. (Just in case that needed to be said.)
So let’s get stuck into these photography tips for Brides.
Table of Contents
8 Wedding Photography Tips for Brides
1. Hire the Right Photographer
The most important thing you can do to ensure you love your wedding photography is to hire the right photographer.
Don’t worry about creating the most elaborate Pinterest board or stressing over a detailed wedding shot list of every photo you think you want.
Don’t dive into timelines and try to figure out what your photographer needs to do when.
Hire the right photographer and all of that is their job.
The right photographer will create the photo timeline and tell you what they need to capture your day for you.
Every bride might be looking for something different in their wedding photography and therefore they should look for something different in their wedding photographer.
The right photographer for you will be different from the right photographer for someone else.
If you love posed group shots make sure your wedding photographer shows a lot of group photos in their portfolio.
If candids are your thing, make sure you see candid photos in the portfolio.
You want to find a photographer that fits your budget, values, style, and personality.
While budget is certainly important, the cheapest wedding photographer on Craigslist should ring alarm bells.
Make sure to do your research and read plenty of recent reviews before making your final decision.
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2. Follow Your Photographers Lead
If you choose the right photographer, then they will help guide you through the wedding photography process so that you don’t have to worry about everything.
Feel free to ask your photographer what they need from you and get to know both them and their process.
For example, if they want you to create a mood board full of Pinterest photos, do it. If they don’t, don’t.
The way to get the best photos is to let your wedding photographer do what they do best.
Whatever the reason that you chose your photographer, make sure you let them achieve that on your wedding day.
Your wedding photographer will work hard for you but you might have to work hard for them too.
If you want a star photo portrait, you are going to have to go outside in the cold night air and stand super still for a star photo.
Now this tip doesn’t work if you didn’t hire the right photographer in the first place. (Return to tip #1.)
The more inexperienced your photographer is the more you might need to be clear on your expectations from them.
The best wedding photographers, the most experienced ones who have been doing this for a long time, already know what photos they need to shoot and when they need to shoot them.
Additionally, your photographer can help you plan things around good lighting when possible.
3. Communicate Your Priorities
I know I just said to follow the photographer’s lead but it’s also important to communicate with your photographer about what is important to you.
Your photographer might ask this in a pre-wedding consultation but if they don’t, you can do this in a flattering way such as saying, “I hired you because of the emotions that I saw in your portfolio and I really love those moments.”
Your photographer will be flattered to hear that and they also will be sure to focus on the things they know are important to you.
It also helps in case there is something your photographer doesn’t always focus on that you want them to.
Most photographers do their best to capture everything about the wedding day.
However, time spent on reception detail shots is time not spent on cocktail hour and time spent photographing your wedding gown and shoes is time not spent photographing you getting ready.
It doesn’t hurt to ask the photographer about their typical process and then communicate what additional things are important to you or what photos you’re most excited about.
4. Remember What’s Important
It can be easy to get swept up in all of the numerous details of the wedding day that you lose sight of what’s really important about your wedding day.
Focus on what is happening rather than what isn’t.
Having every perfect detail and a schedule broken down by the minute isn’t always realistic and is often stressful for everyone involved.
If you want great wedding photography focus on having an amazing wedding day and the photography will almost always take care of itself.
It’s the same advice I give photographers who are stressing out about delivering perfect photos and not missing a shot.
I tell them to focus on the amazing photos and moments that they are capturing rather than any they might be missing in the meantime.
The higher your expectations the more important it is that you hire a wedding planner.
A good wedding planner will not only help you accomplish all of your goals but they’ll tell you when your goals are unrealistic too.
Your wedding planner can help make sure the reception setup is done on time so that your photographer can get detail photos of the centerpieces if that’s important to you.
But here’s the thing. You may think you want a picture of every single thing at your wedding resulting in the hundreds of pictures that your photographer will deliver.
What you really want is that one perfect photo of the perfect moment when you were at peak happiness during your wedding day.
You want that one photo that you’ll print for your wall or that tightly edited collection that you’ll print in your wedding album.
More is not always better, quality is more important at the end of the day than quantity.
5. Do an Engagement Session
Taking the time to do an engagement session with your photographer is a great way to get to know your photographer and how they work prior to the wedding day.
Additionally, it will save time on the wedding day because you already know how your photographer poses and they already know how to give you direction during bridal portraits.
We love when we show up on a wedding day and our couple is already familiar with us because of the engagement shoot or mini session.
Their stress levels go down when we walk in because they’re comfortable with us and they trust that we’re going to make them look good.
6. Consult Your Photographer About the Timeline
I alluded to this above but if you want the best photos, you’ll want to time things for the best possible lighting conditions.
Your photographer can help you create a timeline that results in beautiful portraits during the golden hour.
Golden hour or sunset portraits are well worth the extra effort of planning them into the schedule.
All it takes is a little foresight and an understanding of natural light.
Your wedding planner or venue might have a recommendation or a set time for the ceremony and reception but your wedding photographer is a good person to ask too.
You can also ask about the best time to do family photos and bridal party pictures based on your priorities and logistics.
For example, we almost always do group photos after the ceremony because after over a decade of experience, we’ve learned that it’s typically the most efficient way to get them done without wasting precious time due to unexpected delays.
7. Prioritize Bride and Groom Portraits
Regardless of your preferred style and your love for candids, I find that the photos that couples print for their walls are portraits.
Therefore, prioritizing portraits is a worthwhile thing to schedule time for.
Depending on your photographer, venue, and timeline this might mean considering a first look so that you have more time to go to a different location.
It might mean planning around sunset when there is soft and romantic light.
Or it might mean finding some nice window light to utilize.
There are a lot of ways to get great photos so I’ll send you back to #2 Follow Your Photographers Lead but I’ll add my strong personal opinion about planning portraits during nice light if at all possible.
8. Small Details that Can Make a Big Difference
If you want some things to focus on that you actually have control over I’ll give you some simple tips that can make a difference.
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Often the getting ready room gets insanely cluttered and results in a ton of distracting things in your photos.
Designate one of your Bridesmaids to try to keep the room clean so that there isn’t as much clutter in the background.
It could be as simple as throwing away trash or having a designated place for people to put their bags.
Your bridal party are your closest friends and they’re there to help so communicate your priorities to them otherwise they won’t know how to help.
When you do the ring exchange, hold the ring in a way where your guests (and photographer) can see it, then you might actually see that tiny wedding ring in the picture taken at that moment.
Don’t rush your first kiss, walking down the aisle, or walking anywhere for that matter.
Have the groom and groomsmen take their car keys and cell phones out of their pockets and sunglasses off their faces and have a designated space to keep them so they can find them later.
Tell your wedding planner exactly how many wedding guests you have and how many seats you need to reserve so that the first two rows of your ceremony aren’t needlessly empty.
In fact, I know ushers are less common than they used to be but if you have someone in charge of seating guests then you can make sure that the crowd looks nice in your wedding photos without empty chairs in weird places.
Lastly, if candid moments are important to you and your photographer is fairly photojournalistic, you might let your friends and family know.
Sometimes the bridal party or wedding guests think they’re in our way when really they’re in our photo composition.
The more we’re around and immersed in the day the more comfortable people are in front of our cameras.
Therefore, if you’re interested in photojournalism book a package with more hours.
Wedding Photos for Brides | Conclusion
In conclusion, hire the right photographer for you and then follow their lead and trust them.
But be sure to communicate your priorities and expectations so that they can serve you well.
Speaking of expectations, try to think ahead about what will be important to you in the future and what actually matters.
A few meaningful photos are more important than whether you had every perfect detail go smoothly.
Get to know your photographer during an engagement session and utilize their wisdom when drafting your photography timeline to include the best time for portraits.
And finally, control what you can control to make better photos.