People often ask me what the wedding photography process is like with Ramblefree Photo Co. and how they can get the loveliest wedding photos possible. There are definitely things you can do to help get gorgeous wedding photographs, so I decided to write a little blog post with my top tips for getting great photos on your wedding day.
1. Book a pretty space to get ready
Photos of people getting ready before the wedding can often be some of my favorites of the day. There’s something about the anticipation and excitement for everything that is going to happen on the day that is just really sweet. Of course, the moments that happen are the most important, but it helps for photos if those moments also unfold in a beautiful, light-filled space. If your wedding venue doesn’t have a space for you to get ready that has natural light and is conducive to good photos, consider renting a room or AirBnb. Instead of booking a hotel room that has only one small window or getting ready in the basement room the venue provides, renting a space can make all the difference in your getting ready photos. Look for somewhere that has lots of natural light and is clean, uncluttered, and decorated in a way you like. Neutral colored walls help avoid strange color casts on people’s faces, and walls that are light in color reflect light, creating a brighter space (although you all probably know I also love nothing more than some moody pockets of window light in a darker room haha) If you have a large wedding party or you will have a lot of people there with you, also consider the size of the space you’re renting. Small hotel rooms can get crowded really quickly and giving people a little room to relax is nice.
On the day of the wedding, have people consolidate their bags, coffee cups, etc. into one spot and tidy up the room before your photographer arrives. There’s no sense booking a beautiful space and then having 17 starbucks cups and shopping bags in the background of every photo. If you’re getting hair and makeup done, have the artists set up next to a great natural light source like a big window. It’s also really helpful to have details like invitations, wedding clothes, jewelry, and anything else you want photographed ready for the photographer to take.
Click the links below for some examples of AirBnbs from all over the world that would make awesome spaces to get ready in:
2. Think about light
This is a big one. Light is SO important in photography. The kind of light you have will influence the entire look and feel of the photo. So, when you’re scheduling your ceremony or other events, think about light. For example, I am primarily a natural light photographer and most of the portraits you see in my portfolio were shot using natural light. So if you are getting married in December and you are having a 5:30 pm ceremony that takes place after sunset, you will need to plan on definitely doing a first look and all portraits beforehand in order to get natural light. A good place to start when planning ceremony time and other events is to google the sunset time on on the day and place you are getting married. I also always strongly suggest that couples make time to go outside for some portraits right at sunset to take advantage of that golden hour light, so it’s helpful not to schedule important reception events like speeches and dances right at sunset.
It’s also really important to take light into consideration for outdoor ceremony locations. For example, if you’re getting married at a really sunny time of the day, you may want to find a nice shady spot to have your ceremony. Or if you’re getting married an hour or two before sunset, the light will be strong and directional, so it’s better to have the sun behind you instead of shining directly on you. Direct light can be harsh on the skin in photos, and you might be uncomfortable if you have to squint into the sun for your entire ceremony. I am always happy to help people plan events and locations around light.
3. Let everyone know where they need to be for portraits
This one is simple but can make a huge difference. Tell family, friends, and wedding party beforehand about what time they need to be ready for portraits. If people were supposed to stay behind after the ceremony for portraits and they go to cocktail hour, it takes lots of time to find them and pull them out of the party. We always want to get portraits done as soon as possible so everyone can relax and celebrate. Also consider having someone who knows who friends and family are be designated as a helper during formal portraits.
4. Have an unplugged ceremony
I love my smartphone as much as the next person, but I get really sad during wedding ceremonies when everyone is taking pictures on their phones or ipads. Not only does this look bad in the background of photos , it can sometimes create problems if guests who are trying to take photos step in front of your photographer. Plus, it’s just nicer for everyone at the ceremony to truly be present and paying attention to what is happening.
5. Allow enough time for portraits
Another really, really important one. I want you to enjoy your wedding day, and that often means not feeling rushed or stressed during portraits. Be sure you schedule ample time for portraits, both with family and friends and with just the two of you. This does two things:
I require a bare minimum of 30 minutes scheduled for couples portraits on wedding days. Because it takes time for you to forget about me and work out your nerves in front of the camera. Creative photos take time, and prioritizing scheduling time for portraits is so important. If you simply can’t schedule enough time on your actual wedding day or you really want to spend all of cocktail hour with your guests, consider booking a day after session (note that these don’t have to take place the actual day after your wedding). You’ll get a chance to wear your wedding clothes and get all gussied up again, and we’ll have a ton of time to have an adventure and get amazing portraits without the pressure of the actual wedding day.
6. Embrace the day
Ok – I am going to be real for you for a second. Sometimes, things happen on wedding days. Sometimes it rains or is super cold or windy. Sometimes, the train of a wedding dress ends up in some leaves and gets a little dirty (actually this is often if you hire me for your wedding photos). I always joke with people that if your clothes are a little dirty after a portrait session it means that we did something right. Instead of worrying about your dress staying absolutely pristine or the weather not cooperating, just embrace the day and have an adventure. Photos in the rain and clouds are actually really intimate and cozy. And wind adds drama to photos (seriously – I don’t think many people love wind more than photographers haha). If it’s cold out, it just means you’re going to cuddle together even tighter to stay warm. We can’t control the weather so we may as well embrace it. Give me your trust and your time and focus on being with each other and you will end up with awesome photos.
7. Do what feels right to you
I think this is more of a general wedding planning tip than a photography tip. But just create a wedding day that feels right to the two of you. There are so many traditions and expectations around weddings, and that’s beautiful. But if some of them don’t feel meaningful to you, then honestly screw it. You don’t have to wear white, or a suit. You don’t have to get ready separately if the idea of spending the morning of your wedding away from your love stresses you out. If you can’t imagine getting married without all your friends and family near you, then have a big ol’ party. If you hate crowds then have something super intimate or with just the two of you. If you travel together a lot or love to hike then do that for your wedding! Hate cake? Well, I can’t relate to you on that but for goodness sake don’t cut one and serve it for dessert. The point is, there aren’t actually any rules about needing to have a first dance or throw a bouquet or have something formal. Craft a celebration that is going to make you feel happy on the day you commit yourselves to one another – whatever that looks like.
And of course, if I am your wedding photographer and you’re not sure about something, I am always happy to help you plan!
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