11 Tips for a Photogenic Wedding

As your photographer, I want the very best for you! While it is my job to capture beautiful photos of your wedding day, allow me to give you some tips on how to make your wedding day even more photogenic!

1. UNPLUG… at least during your ceremony! There is no bigger distraction in a professional photo of your wedding than someone’s iPhone in the background, or worse, a guest stepping out in the middle of the aisle to get a shot of your first kiss ruining my chance to capture that moment. I cannot fix those distractions in your photos.

There is a reason you hired a professional photographer to document your wedding day, more importantly, the wedding ceremony. This is the time when everyone should be respectful, by keeping their hands in their laps, and witnessing the two of you sharing your love for one another. Wedding ceremonies last all of twenty minutes. Your guests can wait that long before pulling out their phones and cameras. They have the whole evening ahead of them to take selfies at your wedding. [If you cannot tell, this is my BIGGEST pet peeve and challenge as a wedding photographer.]

2. Think about your getting ready photos. Preparing for your wedding day is part of your story. This is the time when you and your closest friends, mom and grandmothers share intimate moments of laughter, tears, and excitement. I’ve taken getting ready photos in all sorts of spaces, but nothing beats a spacious area with lots of window light! Natural light is very flattering because it softens lines and makes your eyes pop. The more space your room has, the less likely clutter will end up in the corners of your wedding photos. Invest in a great hotel room if your venue does not offer a bridal suite. P.S. Bring a pretty hanger for your dress.

3. Give me enough time to capture details before the ceremony. Your veil, your dress, the rings, your gorgeous heels, your wedding invitation and program, your gorgeous bouquet, etc… these are all important details of your wedding story! It takes longer than ten minutes to capture these details because I like to be creative. When planning out your day, please allow me enough time to capture your tiny beautiful details, photos of you getting ready and putting on your dress.

4. Consider having portraits captured outdoors. I love a beautiful sanctuary but lighting is not always ideal. This is why I advise against having portraits done in the sanctuary. Natural light is always better and there is nothing more scenic than the outdoors. Plus, this isn’t 1980 anymore. Your formal portraits do not have to be taken inside the sanctuary. I know weather is always an issue so resorting inside for portraits may be your only option, but I can get creative. You don’t always have to stand at the altar. [Okay – we can take a few at the altar for grandma, but no more than a few.]

5. Invest in a professional hair and make-up stylist. Trust me. A true professional will know how to fix your hair and apply your make-up to last all day and be camera-ready. Yes, there is a difference. Besides, you are the bride. You deserve the very best on your wedding day! (P.S. I know GREAT people in the industry. Just ask me for recommendations.)

6. If you are getting married outdoors, avoid a mid-afternoon ceremony.

Natural light is not very flattering during the mid-afternoon hours (i.e. between 12 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.). The natural light can create harsh shadows and does not produce photogenic images. In the spring months, the earliest ceremony time I would suggest is 4:30 p.m. An ideal ceremony time would be 5:00 p.m. In the summer, a 6:00 p.m. outdoor ceremony would be ideal. You have two factors to think about – the light and the heat. In the fall months, an ideal ceremony time would be 4:00 p.m. (pre Daylight Savings Time). NOTE: My recommendations are based solely on ideal light situations for ceremony and post-ceremony photos outdoors.

7. Location, Location, Location. This applies to more than just real estate. When choosing your reception venue, think about what it has to offer, scenery wise. Take into account the time of year you will be getting married especially if your venue has outdoor scenery or seating. You deserve a picturesque venue.

8. Consider a “first look.” First looks are gaining in popularity because they give the two of you a chance to have some quiet time together before the chaos of the day sets in. They’re intimate, relaxed, and just really special. Plus, it allows for you to get the majority of the pictures of you as a couple taken without holding up the rest of your guests prior to the reception. In return, you will feel less rushed after the ceremony which will make your photos even more photogenic! I highly suggest allotting 35-minutes for this special session prior to your ceremony.

9. Make a list of your formals ahead of time.

I require this of all my couples. About six weeks ahead of time, I ask my couples to start making a list of all the family combinations they want photographed. Completing this task ahead of time will keep things running as smoothly as possible after the ceremony.

10. Photography should be a priority. Photographing your wedding day is definitely my priority. Part of my service I offer each of my wedding couples, includes a timeline that incorporates the photography throughout the day. Oftentimes, my couples send this timeline to vendors and members of their wedding party. If you, the wedding couple, truly make photography a priority on your wedding day, it will be reflected in your images.

11. Tradition is beautiful. There is a lot of beauty in tradition. It’s more beautiful when it’s complimented by things that highlight you as a couple. What am I referring to? i.e. writing your own vows, unique wedding favors that couldn’t be more YOU as a couple, tablescapes that highlight parts of your love story, vintage heirlooms (cuff links, veil, grandma’s lace wrapped around bouquet, grandpa’s handkerchiefs), etc.