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9 ways to get the most out of your Wedding Photography experience

July 19, 2019

You’re engaged! You finally found your wedding venue, maybe even have a few other details squared away, and now its time to book your photographer. Whether you decide to book Dana Rae Photography or someone else here are some great tips to help you get the most out of your wedding day photos. After all, once the vows are said, the cake is eaten, and everyone danced the night away all you have left are your memories, your images, and maybe a video if you hired a videographer. So let me help you make sure you get the most out of your wedding photography.

1 – Find the right Photographer

Not only should you hire someone whose work you love but find a photographer you connect with, someone who you can spend an entire day with. After all, chances are you will spend more time with your photographer than anyone else on your wedding day. So make sure you click because when you are comfortable and having a good time, it shows. You don’t want to hire a photographer that you don’t feel like you can be 100% yourself around.

2 – The Engagement session

I know not everyone thinks they want an engagement session. I mean, you’ll get enough photos of the two of you on your wedding day, right? Sure. But having an engagement session means you get to spend more time connecting and working with your wedding photographer. This is a big part of why I include a complimentary engagement session in ALL of my wedding packages.

I love shooting engagement sessions with my couples, it helps you understand how I like to pose, and you’ll likely remember the poses, making your wedding day portrait session a breeze. This makes you even more comfortable in front of my camera, you will have enough nerves (good ones!) for your big day. Don’t be nervous because there is a camera there, let’s save the butterflies for when you first see each other on your wedding day.

3 – First look

When will you first see each other? Do you want to meet eyes for the first time while you walk down the aisle? Or would you rather have a more intimate moment with each other before the ceremony? There is no right or wrong answer. Traditionally a couple will not see each other before the ceremony. But first looks are fantastic for connecting in a more 1 on 1 setting. They are another way to help with the nerves and jitters.

Choosing to have a first look before the ceremony allows you to get portraits, bridal party pictures, and sometimes even family formals out of the way. Leaving less time between the ceremony and reception and more time for you to spend with your guests.

Do you know the reason for not seeing the bride before she walks down the aisle? It goes back to times of arranged marriages when the groom hasn’t seen his bride before the wedding day. The tradition came out of fear that he would not be happy with his bride and would run if he saw her before the ceremony. Of course, over time it has changed into something a little different, but only you can decide if a first look is right for you.

4 – Sunset Portraits

The hour before sunset is known as “golden hour” and is the best time of day for portraits. The soft, glowy, golden light is impossible to replicate. It is the most flattering time of day to take photographs that will take your breath away.

You only need to schedule 15 minutes for sunset portraits. Be sure to talk to your photographer about scheduling golden hour portraits, 30-45 minutes before sunset. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

5 – Timeline

Whether or not you have a wedding coordinator you need a timeline. It helps keep everything on track and allows everyone to be on the same page. Most photographers are more than happy to help you put together a timeline. I have helped many of my couples with their timelines to not only allow the day to run smoothly but to ensure that they have the right amount of photography coverage. When there is a time crunch portrait time is the first thing to be cut, so allowing your photographer to have input on the timeline will help ensure you get the number of portraits you want.

6 – Important details

Be sure to tell your photographer about all the important details of the day. Knowing ahead of time if there are going to be any surprises, like vows to the bride’s daughter, or a special dance you put together for the reception, will allow your photographer to be in the right place at the right time. Even if your future spouse isn’t aware of a surprise let your photographer know.

Other important details would be letting your photographer know about any family heirlooms so they can take extra time to be sure to photograph them properly. On the same note be sure to let them know about special family members you may want extra images of, like Aunt Sally who travel 2000 miles to see her Niece get married.

7 – Shot List

This one is a little bit of a faux-pas in the photography industry. A lot of photographers don’t like getting shot lists. I think they are a great way to know what you want and what I can do for you. Sometimes they help me manage expectations, like a bride who wants 100 completely different poses in 10 minutes, we will either have to narrow it down to a more manageable number of images or increase the portrait time. Having a shot list and knowing what is important to you helps me ensure you are happy when you receive your final images.

100% build a shot list for family formals. Designate a family member from both sides who knows everyone so they can gather them up for pictures, this will save a ton of time. These images will be super important when you look back on your wedding day, you want to make sure that you didn’t miss anyone. It is very easy to leave someone out when everyone is trying to wander off and get a drink during cocktail hour.

8 – Purchase Prints

In this day and age of the digital world far too many people don’t print their pictures (even I am guilty of this). But your wedding images should be printed and framed! Seriously, you spent so much time, effort, and money into making your day perfect so be sure to display your images.

Albums are 100% the best way to tell the story of your wedding day. Flipping through your wedding album in the years to come will bring you back to the day like nothing else. Be sure you are purchasing heirloom quality albums that will withstand the test of time. Computers break, USB’s corrupt, so be sure to have your images backed up in print (and in the cloud!) so you don’t lose your irreplaceable memories.

9 – Relax and trust your Photographer

You hired them for a reason, right? Take a deep breath and trust them. Want to share Pinterest images that you would love to recreate? Sure, but understand that every photographer has their personal style and will not be able to recreate something perfectly. A big reason you hired them was because of their style and portfolio so be sure to allow them to create their magic.

Remember to be fully present in the day and trust that your photographer is doing everything they can to capture those memories for you.

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  1. Michelle says:

    Yes! These are some great tips to get thinking about what your priorities are for your wedding photographer and what memories you want to be remembered forever. I also am one of those weird photographers that like to ask for your shot list. I want to know your expectations are! Definitely sending my brides over to read this!