Here it is—the moment everyone’s been waiting for! The music is playing and the guests have been seated. The coordinator is lining up the bridesmaids while giving the musicians a five-minute warning. You’re about to walk down the aisle and see the love of your life. You’ve probably dreamed about this moment for a long time! Vows will be shared and promises will be made—this is what it’s all about.
No matter where you decide to get married, here are a few tips to make sure you get the best wedding photographs possible.
The way your ceremony is lit is very important, especially if it’s going to be outdoors.
The lower the sun is in the sky, the more romantic the lighting. If you decide to get married outside at 12PM, not only will there be harsh lines of light on your faces, you will also be squinting. Try to plan your ceremony later in the day if possible.
For outdoor ceremonies, the best light will be 2 hours before sunset if you plan on seeing each other beforehand. If you don’t plan on sharing a first look, I recommend having your ceremony 3 hours before sunset. This will make sure you will have plenty of time for all of your portraits afterwards.
If you are having an indoor ceremony, make sure to have even lighting at the altar. If, for example, there are two spotlights on the bride and groom, they will be very bright and your bridal party will be very dark. It is much better to have soft, even light across everybody.
An unplugged wedding is when you kindly ask your guests to put away their phones, iPads, cameras and other devices for the duration of the wedding ceremony. I always recommend unplugged ceremonies, for a few reasons:
For one, your guests can be present and enjoy the ceremony, rather than focusing on taking pictures.
As you’re walking down the aisle, what would you rather see—your guests beaming with happiness as they watch, or a bunch of phones and iPads blocking their faces?
Your ceremony photographs will look better without the clutter of electronic devices in the audience. When you eventually look back at the photographs of you walking down the aisle, it can be distracting if there are phones and iPads all around you.
As a photographer, one of the biggest ceremony mistakes I see is when a couple never faces their guests!
Talk to your officiant and ask them if you can face the audience instead of the alter. You want to make sure your guests can see your lovely faces, and not just the back of your heads! This also makes for better ceremony pictures, so it’s a win win.
The ceremony is the whole reason you’ve planned your wedding, so don’t forget to enjoy it! I recommend hiring an officiant you connect with who also has a sense of humor. A few jokes here and there can help you relax and really be present.
An added benefit of this are pictures where you and your guests look happy! Although everyone may feel over the moon, without a few smiles and laughs here and there it can be hard to convey those emotions in pictures.
Hiring either a full event planner or just a day-of coordinator is so important. You’ll realize very quickly that if you do not have a coordinator, that responsibility will automatically fall on either the mother of the bride, the photographer or you!
When a photographer is in charge of the coordination, the images will suffer. All of the most stressful wedding situations I’ve seen were caused by a lack of organization and coordination. It’s so important to make this a priority.
In a world full of wedding blogs, Pinterest and bridal magazines, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and consumed by the “prettiness” of the event. While details do matter and planning is necessary, it’s important to never lose sight of the real purpose of this amazing day—the connection and love you two share.