Post by Mandy Stephenson
When it comes to planning your big day, one thing most photographers will always tell you is, “Make a list!” Providing your photographer ahead of time with a list of essential images you would like to capture for your big day will help streamline the process and allow them to get a better idea of your creative vision. We hope these 15 ideas offer an easy to follow guideline and give you a great jumping off point for how to get the most out of your wedding day photography.
When it comes to all aspects of your wardrobe remember, “details details details!” From the essential ring shot (which can easily be done before the ceremony), to the hanging wedding dress, shoes, garter, or other jewelry, capturing these shots is easy and since preparation does not always leave much time for reflecting, you’ll be glad you got these later on.
Photo Courtesy of Mariia Berezina Photography
From capturing the bouquets and the boutonniere to close-ups of the cake, table settings, and favors, remembering to send your photographer off for fifteen minutes can be a quick and easy way to fill the time and ensure that the photos are when everything is looking it’s best (and freshest!). *Photographer Tip: Try doing some of these shots when you are already working with the rings, because sometimes using the bouquet’s is a great way to add texture or a pop of color to your image.
Photo Courtesy of Wedding Chicks
13. Getting Ready – The Bride & Bridesmaids
Some of the most intimate photos of the day start with the preparation of the bride. This is a special time and there is so much happiness and gorgeous smiles that you won’t want to miss how excited you looked. If your dress has bead work or ties in the back it can be nice to include the maid of honor and mother of the bride in this special moment. Close-ups here are timeless and elegant, especially in black and white, and don’t forget to show off your hair! We loved this shot of vintage bride getting ready with her girls.
Photo Courtesy of Ruffled Blog
12. Getting Ready – The Groom & Groomsmen
It’s not unusual for some of the men to shy away from having their photograph taken, but appealing to their sense of commrodery is always a great option. Try group shots of them racing to tie their tie or shoes the fastest and they’re sure to forget about the camera in no time. Also, since they might not take as long to get ready as their female counterparts, consider setting up a card table for a quick round of Texas Hold Em’ and a few classic photographs, these in-between moments are usually the best.
Photo Courtesy of Laced In Weddings
11. Bridal Party
This motley crew is expecting to be put to the test on the wedding day, so ensuring that they get a few nice photos of themselves is a great way to say “You’re important to me” and “Thank you!”. Have a photographer ready to take photos of each pairing up and down the aisle and try integrating a few unique concepts when photographs involve the bride and groom respectively. We appreciated the interesting perspective that this photographer used to capture the bridal party.
Photo Courtesy of Jason & Anna Photography
10. Wedding Kids & Pets
Few things are cuter than adorably dressed up children and animals! From the ring bearer to the flower girls and all the nieces, nephews, and cousins in between, rangling them together for a group shot will be fun, and it will also be nice to look back on how young they were in the years to come. As for dogs and other furry friends, we understand that for those of us without children, it is easy for pets to hold a special place in our hearts – stamp of approval!
Photo Courtesy of Flory Photo
9. Bride & Father
The first look of the father and the bride is almost as special as the first look with the groom, and everyone knows how even the most stoic dad can get emotional over his little girls big day! Make sure to have a photographer ready to capture your first look and preferably the moments before you walk down the aisle as well, your father will be so thankful to have that special moment forever.
8. Play Around
Why so serious? It is important to carve out some fun for yourself during the preparation stage, because the closer it can get to the ceremony the higher emotions can run. Take a quick walk around the grounds or play a game like cards or Bananagrams to release some stress and let loose a little. Candid silly photos with the girls and the guys is a great way to stay relaxed and excited.
Photo Courtesy of Maria Vicencio Photography
7. Be Our Guest
Though it may seem obvious to some, requesting that your photographer makes an effort to capture the guests is something that can be easily overlooked. They may be more inclined to stay close to the wedding party because they will have already developed a repertoire with them from earlier in the day. Try to get have a photographer around to capture images of the guests walking to their seat for the ceremony, leaving to head to the reception, or enjoying the rehearsal dinner. It will be nice to see friendly faces from individuals outside of your immediate family and wedding party when you get the photographs back.
6. The Ceremony
Capturing a great angle on the ceremony is very dependent on the location you select – indoor versus outdoor, day versus night - and so it is important that the photographer has plenty of advanced warning so they can scout out the location and find the best angles to capture the most from this event. Try alternating between close-up shots of the bride, groom, bridal party, and guests, with pulled-back images that showcase the venue as a whole. Oftentimes ceremonies can run shorter than you may anticipate, so having a photographer ready and waiting to get your walk down the aisle, kiss, and celebration is completely essential to the process.
Photo Courtesy of Jagger Photography
5. The Reception
While lighting can often be the biggest struggle for photographers when it comes to a reception, the candid images of friends and family sporting dance moves that you would never believe makes it well worth the extra effort. From the end of the reception dinner to the first dance, cake cutting, garter toss, bouquet toss and goodbyes, there are many great elements to this part of the day that are well worth capturing, if only to use later on for blackmail purposes.
Photo Courtesy of 100 Layer Cake
4. The Couple’s Shot
After the ceremony and reception are in full-swing, it can be difficult to achieve that simple, elegant, and timeless couple’s look that you will want of the two of you together. Make the time to have at least thirty minutes of just the two of you in full wedding dress, and have your photographer scout out locations for an intimate setting. You two will be able to relax from all the pressures of the day and spend time reflecting together on how far you’ve come.
Photo Courtesy of Intimate Weddings
3. The First Dance
Obviously one for the books, your first dance (and first song selection) are the start to the wonderful celebration at the reception to honor you and your new partner in life. Whether you opt for a short dress during this part of the day or select a dress that allows movement, try to practice this dance beforehand and give your photographer some tips if you get a routine down. Whether you’re being playful or serious, the first dance is a wonderful moment that you’ll want to remember.
Photo Courtesy of Brooke Courtney Photography
2. The First Look
This shot is an absolute essential and must not be missed, and it also makes the decision to opt for at least two photographers very tempting. Whether you’re opting for a traditional first look down the aisle or if you decide to take photos prior to the ceremony, try and get one photographer to capture the groom’s reaction and one photographer to capture the bride’s. That mash-up is absolute perfection and remember, it’s called a first look for a reason! However, if you already made the leap before the ceremony, still use a photographer for the walk down the aisle.
Photo Courtesy of Green Wedding Shoes
1. The First Kiss
While it may seem like an obvious shoo-in for number one, the first kiss is a symbol of permanence and it seals the deal for the union you have entered in to. You are going to want to see this kiss from multiple perspectives, so having two or more photographers on hand to capture this moment (while still staying out of the way of each other) is ideal. Whether you choose to keep it simple or go with something flashy, you’ll never go wrong with following your heart.
Photo Courtesy of Once Wed
Are we forgetting any must-have wedding shots???