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Getting the Wedding Pictures You Want

 October 20, 2023

Going into your special day, you want to be sure the moments you want are captured forever!

We’ve gathered tips from experienced wedding photographers to help you get the wedding pictures you want.


Details by Hannah Hotchkiss Photography and Cake by Red Cedar Studios


Decide on your style and photographer.


Vows and Couple Portrait by Lisa Prins Photography


What feel do you want your photos to have? Do you want them to be glowy, moody, cinematic, candid, editorial, or another style? Begin looking for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, and find photographers whose portfolios include a similar feel and style. Don’t expect the results you want if all their previous work is in a different style. Additionally, try to draw from realistic inspiration. Some photography you come across may be from a staged shoot. Try to look through real wedding examples, or if you come across staged ideas, check with your photographer if they are feasible to recreate on a wedding day.


Black and White by Hannah Hotchkiss Photography


Finally, choose a photographer you feel comfortable with! For best results, you want to be relaxed and comfortable when shooting photographs, as the photographer will be capturing intimate and personal moments during the day.


Prioritize key moments throughout the wedding.


The Kiss by Zach Nichols Photography


There are certain elements or moments that wedding photos tend to focus on. An experienced wedding photographer will be in touch with what these are. However, not everything is of the same importance to everyone. Depending on how you have planned your timeline, the moments could include detail shots, getting ready, a first look, the ceremony, couple portraits, family portraits, cocktail hour, toasts, dinner, dancing, and a final exit. Are there any moments you want to prioritize over others?


Plan your wedding schedule to maximize photo opportunities.


Getting Ready by Red Cedar Studios


How you plan your wedding timeline will affect what photos you get. The longer the time allotted to certain activities, the more time to gain quality photos. This includes things like how long the ceremony is, how rushed your get-ready time is, or how much is allotted for couple portraits. If you have a brief ceremony, you should expect fewer shots of the ceremony. If you have a short getting-ready period, fewer touching moments may occur. Therefore, be sure to allot time to the moments that are most important to you.


Couple Portrait by Zach Nichols Photography


In addition, make sure you leave gaps between activities for your photographer to move to a new location, get set up, or line people up for a particular shot. They may need time to get to the reception area before guests or to simply change batteries or lenses between activities. Make sure you have scheduled time for them to eat or take a break when needed, as you don’t want a big moment to happen when they are finally getting to eat dinner!

You can run the schedule past your photographer and your coordinator to ensure that the schedule is realistic and prioritizes what you want it to.


Consider if a second photographer is needed.


Just Married by Red Cedar Studios


Are you planning on a short ceremony, love lots of candid pictures, or want photos of something like the cocktail hour while family portraits are being taken?  You may want an additional photographer to maximize the shots taken during the events. A photographer will often arrange the second photographer themselves, although there may be an additional charge. Be sure to discuss this option with your photographer.


To shot list or not to shot list.


The Wedding Party by Lisa Prins Photography


A shot list can be used to plan photos you want to be sure to get. Some photographers recommend the shot list for moments like family portraits, as this is a time that could run more smoothly when planned out. You call all the grandparents, then the siblings, and so on. However, working from a specific shot list may stifle or interrupt capturing free-flowing and candid moments as they occur during other activities. Once again, you should discuss this choice with your photographer, as it could vary based on how they like to work. If you are hiring an experienced wedding photographer, you can trust their familiarity with the main moments to capture. This is their craft!


Communicate your priorities!


The Look by Hannah Hotchkiss Photography


What is our most important tip for achieving the pictures you want at your wedding? Communicate with your photographer! If you have specific expectations or desires, make sure you get them out of your head and into your photographer’s. Communicate your priorities, style, and necessary logistic details. Priorities could range from certain moments in the wedding to the people who are most important to you. Be clear in your consultation when you first choose your photographer, and then throughout the period leading up to the wedding. You cannot get photos that match your expectations if you are not clear about what those expectations are!


Final Exit by Hannah Hotchkiss Photography


To begin exploring wedding photographer options and inspiration, check out our list of local photographers in our Vendor Directory!