Thursday, January 13, 2011

5 Tips For Excellent Wedding Photos

Aime & Ryan

"Tips for me? Isn't that your job?"

Yes, it is! But if your photographs are among the most important bits of your big day, there's plenty of things you can do to ensure you get the best out of your photographers.

1. TIME OF DAY
Consider the time of day in relation to the light. Daytime weddings pose the problem of harsh, direct, often overhead sunlight. Just about every day wedding I've done some well-meaning helper will point me into the middle of barren fields and harsh sun and say "is that enough light?" It's too much! If you're looking at a day wedding, inquire about your venue's shady or covered areas for photographs. If you're going for a late afternoon/sunset wedding...congratulations, you've got happy photographers with lots of ambiance to play with!

NOTE: No matter what, a skilled photographer can make magic happen at any time, so if this makes you panic, relax. You won't be the first noontime wedding for an experienced pro! These are taken both in that harsh light, and then in shade later in the day.

Sara & Josh
Sara & Josh

2. UPLIGHTING!
Uplighting is my favorite wedding trend right now. Basically, lights are positioned around your wedding reception venue on the floor, splashing light (sometimes colored) up the walls. This transforms a dark hall into a ballroom and it makes the photographers happy because with nice background light, we can capture things without nuking you into next week with our strobes.

Gorgeous Uplighting

Nicole & Keith

3. PLAN AHEAD!
Got a lot of family photos you want? Make a list! Don't worry about things like rings, the kiss, bridal party, etc...I'm talking about the combinations of cousins and uncles and college friends that might slip your mind on such an fast-paced day. It's also very helpful to assign someone who knows the people on your list to assist the photographer in rounding people up or pointing out important people. Your DJ can also call off your list.

Stef & Chandra

4. BREAK TRADITION
Bear with me now...I'm about to blow some minds. What if you saw your future spouse BEFORE you walked down the aisle? In a (mostly) empty room, your future husband or wife is standing nervously with their back turned to you. You creep up and tap them on the shoulder, they turn around and see you...fabulous you...and think "I am the luckiest SOB in town". All the while, your photographers are quietly clicking away, catching the tears and smiles. This is called a "First Look" and it's a personal choice to toss tradition aside like this, but I love the intimacy of it. You don't have to share that first moment with a crowd and the photo potential is off the charts. You can also use this time to get your formal portraits out of the way, while you're fresher. Some couples do all their formals before the wedding so that they can enjoy their cocktail hour. (Hey, you're paying for it!)

For some wonderful info on the first look, check out one of our favorite wedding photographer's blog post about it here.

5. UNCLE BOB
Help us limit the Uncle Bob factor. I'll let you in on a little trade secret many photographers are afraid to bring up. Your dear uncle/aunt/cousin/bff(we call them "Uncle Bobs") who is a photographer is a wonderful person to have at your wedding. Likely they'll give you some fun shots and enjoy themselves in the process. But please...we beg you (we = all wedding photographers), don't be upset if we send them away. Uncle Bobs, next to obtrusive videographers, are most likely to ruin your hired photographer's shot at least a few times during the day. When they follow us through the formal shots, they're not just being an adorable pain...they're distracting the subjects. I can't tell you how many group shots I have bemoaned because one person was looking at Uncle Bob and not me. We know they mean well, and usually they're easy to shoot alongside (like the fellas down below, this picture just makes me laugh) but sometimes they just gotta scoot. Don't worry, we'll be polite!

uncle bobs

With that said, Uncle Bobs have trained me well in closely inspecting the eyeballs of all subjects before sending them back to the bar! ;)

I will post more of these as I think of them. I hope you find them helpful, if you do...please share this post!