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5 Top Wedding Photography Tips

wedding photography tips - bride and groom at their villa pool on Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia

Wedding Photography Tips

Of all the things to go wrong at your wedding, bad photos are particularly heartbreaking. Even if you’ve invested in a top-notch photographer, subtle snags can take your album from excellent to mediocre.
To help brides and grooms get the best record of their day, here is how to avoid common photography mistakes.

Wedding Photography Tips 1: Focus on Lighting

There is no magic a photographer can pull when the bride has a blinding sun in her eyes, and the groom is in a shadow.
If it’s an outdoor wedding, visit the site at the time of day your ceremony will take place. Figure out how to arrange the guest chairs and altar so that both bride and groom are backlit and the sun is even on both faces. If you can, time the ceremony (or at least the posed photo shoots) for when outside light is most flattering, about an hour or two before sunset. Pictures look worse under the midday sun.
For indoor ceremonies and receptions, venues tend to be underlit to create ambiance. Making the backgrounds of photos look black and hollow. Including strings of colored holiday lights or spotlights in the decor adds some visual interest.

Wedding Photography Tips 2: See Each Other Pre-Ceremony

Many brides and grooms hold fast to the tradition that they must not see each other before they walk down the aisle. But it relegates the photo shoot to a rushed 15 minutes during cocktail hour.
Get the formal shots with family and the wedding party out of the way before the ceremony so the photographer has time to work. Plus you can relax and enjoy the reception. It’s also an intimate moment when the bride and groom reveal themselves to each other before the ceremony.

Wedding Photography Tips 3: Give Fair Warning for Preparation Shots

You might want your mom with you as you slip your dress on, but she could be reluctant if you pull her from the makeup chair. Figure out who you want with you during your getting-ready shots and give them fair warning so they can finish their makeup when needed. Also, ask hair and makeup artists to wear neutral colors, no brights or patterns, so that they won’t be a distraction in shots.

Wedding Photography Tips 4: Hold That Pose

Formulaic poses can look forced. It’s helpful when the bride and groom put advance thought into how they cuddle or pose together. The same goes for wedding attire. A bulky or too-tight wedding dress can do a lot to unhinge the flow of a portrait session. Wedding fineries should still be comfortable for you.

Wedding Photography Tips 5: 2 Shooters are Better than 1

It’s more expensive, but hiring a photographer who brings along a second shooter results in more good pictures. The main photographer can be more creative with a second shooter covering the basic shots. “The bread and butter are the pictures you have to get, and the gravy is the risk you take,” Antonelli said. “If there’s no second photographer, it’s impossible to take risks.”
I do recommend two photographers if it’s within your budget. We can capture simultaneous moments at different locations (say, the bride and groom getting ready in separate rooms). Or catch the exact moment from two perspectives (at the wedding ceremony with one photographer up close on the couple and the other in the rear behind the guests). Two photographers also mean a much more extensive selection of final images. Plus, two distinct artistic/creative viewpoints exist on the day’s events.


All that said, I still photograph over half of my weddings on my own with excellent results. If budget is a concern, sticking with one photographer is a good way of keeping costs down without sacrificing quality.



About the Author

Picture of Aidan Dockery

Aidan Dockery

Originally from the UK, Aidan Dockery has photographed all over the world and captured countless weddings with his easy-going style and energizing spirit.

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