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Photo Tips For Your Wedding

The goal is to take as many beautiful photos of you on your wedding day as possible. Many years of experience will help to make that happen, but you can help to make the best of your day. The following tips are helpful, and in the end will ensure that everything is totally successful.

1. Plan ahead to have enough time for photography. Some brides have given me as little as one half hour to create a wonderful selection of photos to fill their album. That will not happen. From the ceremony to the reception most photographers ask for three hours of photo time. For an average size wedding, this breaks down to one hour for the families, one hour for the wedding party, and one hour for the bride and groom. If your families and bridal party are larger or smaller than average, then you can adjust the time. This three hours does not include time after the ceremony for a receiving line or travel time.

2. Have your receiving line at the reception. A full receiving line at the church at the end of the ceremony can take up to an hour, and this may mean fewer photos if you have not budgeted for this time. One suggestion that works very well is to receive your immediate family at the church, and the rest of your guests at the reception. There will be lots of time there to have a receiving line or visit each table between reception events.

3. The photo location. If it is possible, plan for your photo location close to your ceremony of reception to cut travel time. When choosing a location, look for shade! This will be true if you are planning an outdoor ceremony as well. Direct Sun will result in everyone in your photos squinting into the Sun, their make-up running from sweat, and some loss of detail in skin and light clothing. That is why all photographers love bright cloudy skies.

Dad Taking Pictures 4. Guests at the photo location. If you wish to have guests that are not being photographed at the photo session come and watch, or even take photos, that is great! They are all welcome, but there are a few rules to follow, so that I can be able to do the job you hired me for. Small children must be controlled by an adult, especially if they are near my (easily breakable and very expensive) equipment. (I have had three equipment 'accidents' in the past, and do not wish to have a fourth.) All guests must not be taking photos the same moment I am, or there will be pairs of eyes looking all over the place in my photos. I will (I promise, promise, promise) have all the groups keep their pose after I have taken my photos so that anyone who wants to take their own pictures can step in and take them. Everyone wins! The father of this bride was an amateur photographer as well!

5. Plan breaks. If your photo session will be over two hours, plan a short break in the middle. A container of bottled water etc. is also appreciated by all, and some even bring snacks to hold off the 'growlies'. This is especially important if there are small children present.

6. Reception seating. At the reception you will have the most, and the best photos of you and your wedding party IF I am seated as close to you as possible. If I am behind other guests, they will have to move their chairs every time I move forward to capture a photo of you. After awhile, listening to me say, "excuse me, excuse me, excuse me" wears thin. They may also not appreciate me standing up in front of them while I take photos. The best option? If I am seated in front of you, I do not need to move at all, as I will be able to photograph you instantly where you are with a telephoto lens.

7. The first dances. Ambiance is great, but total darkness means I can not take any photos of you dancing. The camera and flash can focus in very low light, but my eyes looking through a tiny viewfinder will only see a shadow, and will not know when the best moment arises to capture on film. Your other guests will also be capturing you with red eyes. I ask for the lights to be dimmed - a little. After the first dances my photos are finished and the lights can go way down.

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