8 tips on how to plan ahead for your wedding day photography | forestheartphoto.com

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Weddings + Engagements

August 4, 2018

8 tips on how to plan ahead for your wedding day photography

Wedding Photography is one of the biggest investments for your big day. Years after that day, all that remains are the emotions and memories captured by your wedding photographer.  Aside from finding the perfect photographer that you connect with and trust, there are other important steps you can take to guarantee that your wedding photos will be incredible.  Below are 8 tips you can follow to get the best wedding day photos


1. Hair and Makeup

When planning your timeline for the big day, ask your hair and makeup artist how long the process will take, then ADD 1 hour to that.  Delays with hair and makeup can and will set the whole day behind.  99.9% of the time we see brides being rushed through the day due to unexpected delays.  If they end up finishing early that’s great!  Then you will have time to relax and enjoy the day.

2. The Getting Ready Area

This is your time to enjoy the process and hang out with your favorite people before the wedding.  Listen to music and make sure to have fun!  When deciding on what location you should get ready in, make sure your room contains lots of window light.  Natural light will create the most beautiful pictures of you getting into your dress and doing your finishing touches.  (don’t let the makeup artist set up directly in front of the windows either as they will block the way for photography).  Keep the room clean, no clutter!  Find a second area outside the room for everyone to keep their belongings, snacks, and extra things.  Make sure the bridesmaids are dressed and ready prior to your photographer arriving to ensure they look great in the photos too. 

3. Don’t Forget the Boys!  (groom getting ready)

Boutonnière…… This is one of the most important items of the day and the most complicated for the poor guys haha.  Find a few Ladies that you trust and give them the one and only job of putting the Boutonnière’s on the guys prior to the photographers arrival. Make sure to also have your florist bring extra pins.  And most importantly, if the Boutonnière has a rose in it, then order at least 3 extra, roses always break and its great to have backup.

4. First Look

This should happen 2 hours prior to your ceremony.  We HIGHLY recommend that all of our couples do a first look.    This way you both can have a moment together before you are swept away with all the rush of the day.  First looks also free up time.  You will be able to get your couples portraits and wedding party photos done prior to the ceremony.  This way there will be only family photos left for after the ceremony, freeing up time for you both to enjoy cocktail hour, or sneak off somewhere private to relax and celebrate together alone for a bit.

5. Formal Post Ceremony Family Photos

Only immediate family member photos should take place right after the ceremony.  Parents, siblings and grandparents.  If you have more family that you would like pictures with then no worries, just have another list on hand for your photographer and let the DJ know to make an announcement during the reception.  It is best to find someone to trust to gather the family members listed on your photographers timeline to help keep everything on track.  Photographing family is one of the moments during the day that is out of your photographers control.

6. Pre-Wedding Session

Yes, we are talking Engagement Session!  These sessions help you get comfortable with your photographer and can get you some needed practice for the big day, especially if you don’t feel too comfortable getting photos taken.    If your Pre-Wedding Session gets you relaxed, you can probably expect the same vibes for your wedding day.

7. Avoid The Shot List

In case this is your first time hearing of it, a wedding shot list is like an instruction manual for your photographer with each and every image you want them to capture on your big day. While couples being excited about their wedding photography is obviously awesome, shot lists can actually keep you from getting the photos you really want.  If you hand your photographer a shot list with photos you found on online of newlyweds in cute poses, you hinder their ability to capture you genuinely basking in the glow of your day.  What makes those photos you love so special are the authentic moments occurring without regard for the camera. When you and your photographer try to recreate something, you lose the natural element that made the image so striking in the first place.

8. The Reception area

Venues tend to be dark and flashy in photos unless properly lit. They may look just fine to the naked eye, however they translate much differently with a camera. Check with your venue to see if they provide up lighting, (lighting on the floor that points up the walls) and Color Washes (a blanket of colored light covering an entire area). Those types of lighting are so important for reception photos because the camera is able to detect them in the background and they will make the photo 3 dimensional.  If your venue does not provide additional lighting, you may want to seek out a professional lighting company for your set up. They are very reasonably priced and will work wonders in the space.