practical tips for successful wedding photos

Successful Wedding Day Photos

- Better wedding day experience -

Fact is, the bride & groom make all the difference on how well the wedding photos turn out. So what can you do to help your photographer achieve better results?

In this article, I tried to focus on the practical few tips that can help, not only your photos but hopefully your overall wedding day experience. So let’s dive into it. For more details read my article Better Wedding Photos.

You will be nervous, and most likely a few things (some important) will not go as planned. Just know that that’s normal, accept it, and know that all will be well.

Engagement Session

An engagement session can work wonders on your wedding photos simply because it will give you and the photographer the opportunity to get to know each other. Spending a couple of hours together will help you connect and have a better understanding of each other’s needs. I may be over-simplifying however, just think how much communication there can be regarding location, posing, expressions etc. It will also give you a good idea how long things take so you can plan your time better.

There are a couple of things you can do to make the engagement session truly productive. For the bride, if you can (and it is highly recommended), have your trial makeup done just before the session. Having your engagement session wearing wedding day make make-up will provide you with a good idea of how you are going to look at your wedding day and adapt if needed.

Have a white shirt on hand and ask your photographer to take a few closeup photos, with and without flash, with the white shirt on. The reason? Makeup looks different when wearing white and maybe after looking at the photos you might want to tweak it a bit. Showing it to your makeup artist and having a printed copy at hand when getting ready at the wedding day can make a huge difference.

So just go and spend a couple of hours with your photographer, take lots of photos, have a coffee or an ice-cream and talk things. You might not remember all you talked about (neither will the photographer) but hopefully, it will create a trust and a comfort level that will help your wedding day. Not to mention some great photos of you two.


Wedding day: Getting Ready

Getting ready is a lot of fun. Generally, your family members and friends are all around and the hoopla helps relieve a lot of stress. Having photos of you and your family while getting ready is truly priceless. But there is another advantage. You see, when photographing the bride or groom getting ready, we get very close and personal, no choice. Most times it takes place in a hotel room or your home and with all the people around it can get very cramped. After being so close to the camera for a couple of hours, the rest of the day will be a breez. However, there are few things to remember when getting ready: For the bride, make sure your makeup is done either outside or next to a large window. For bride and groom, you should gather all your little details like jewelry, shoes, garter belt, bouquet, rings etc. and have them ready in one place for the photographer. One small detail when doing makeup, a lipstick color couple of shades brighter and bolder than what you normally wear is recommended. Oh yes, it is so much better if no alcohol is consumed prior to the ceremony. Keep the liquer to the party.


Wedding Day: First look…? Maybe?

If time allows and if you are willing to “bend” tradition a bit, the First Look is a great opportunity to get some awesome photos.

So what is the “First Look”?

The First Look is when a Bride and Groom see each other the first time dressed in their wedding outfits before the wedding ceremony. Either alone or escorted by the immediate family members, it is usually done away from guests and even the wedding party. It is a moment that the couple can enjoy alone and in peace.

Although some fear that seeing each other before the ceremony takes away the magic, it can never replace the excitement of watching her walk up the aisle. If anything, seeing each other prior to the ceremony can relieve a huge load of stress from you, and can make for some awesome photos.

The pre-ceremony photos can be all about the both of you or allow for photos of family and friends, as you wish.

Here are some points of benefit to the First Look.

  • A huge stress reliever, your other half is with you.
  • An opportunity to have a few moments to yourselves.
  • Extra time to capture awesome photos.
  • Get to your party on time. Taking photos beforehand means that once the ceremony is done there are less photos to take care of.
  • Your family will appreciate this time with you before attending to the guests.

Some disadvantage to the “First Look”.

  • You need to start getting ready earlier. At least 60-90 minutes earlier.
  • Not a tradition and might disappoint some family members.


Choosing a capable and efficient Maid of honor

Having a right-hand person who can take care of the little things during the wedding day is priceless. Many brides assign this “honor” to their best friend or close family member as a sign of friendship and respect. However, it is such a bonus if that person is also organized, initiative and on top of things.

Having someone that can help round up the troops (family members, bridesmaids, groomsmen etc.) for the family portraits, help with makeup retouches, hold the wedding dress, carry the bride’s kit etc. can be of a tremendous help. If you can choose someone close to you that can handle the day’s tasks,your day will be that much better.


Be realistic with schedule & shoot list


No matter how small or large your wedding is, writing down a detailed timeline is a must for a well organized day. Since the one event that has to start on time is the ceremomy, we plan the day based on the ceremony. Go backwards and write down the parts of the day before the ceremony all the way to the first planned event of the day, usually the make-up or hair-do. Then, again from the ceremomy, go forward to the last planned event of the evening, may it be the garter belt or cutting the cake. Very important: When doing so, make sure to be generous with your allowences. Remember,everything takes longer than planned, including the ceremony. Give yourself and the photographer plenty of buffer time.

Shoot List

Create a minimal list of special items that must be photographed or special people that you want photographed together. Download my Shot List and use it as a guide and only as a guide. Remember, when you are hiring a photographer, he/she should do their best to have a mix of posed photos and documentary shot. Giving your photographer an endless list of photos will only ensure that your photographer spends the day looking down at a piece of paper instead of doing her/his job. Keep it minimal for special photos that are unique to you.


Here are a few more:

  • Drink a lot. Water, not alcohol
  • Go easy on the make up and go brighter. Two main mistakes brides make is 1. Using too much makeup, especialy foundation and blush. 2. Choose neutral and pale lipstick colour that looks washed out in photograph. Wearing a bright white wedding dress calles for bolder colors.
  • Also, use lip stain instead of lipstick and DO NOT use gloss.
  • Have a Bride Kit with you the whole time and pack comfortable shoes in it

My Pre-Wdding Questionair Form will help you plan your wedding day time line. Then use my Wedding Day Schedule form to put together a detailed timeline. Note that you can fill in the forms and send them to yourself (make sure to fill in the email fields) or just jolt it on a piece of paper.

Do you have any tips for our futures brides? Comment below and I will add them to the article.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.