Let's be real: despite what we see on Pinterest & Insta, weddings aren't a long string of perfectly photogenic moments with crisp light, dreamy backdrops and people who know what to do with their hands...
Now we're being real I'll tell you what the average bridal prep room actually looks like - there's likely to be an ironing board, a few random Sainsbury's bags and half empty water bottles. And this is absolutely fine, honestly I'm not just saying that to cover myself, I love the hustle and bustle when bridal prep is in full, giggly swing. You're having the most awesome time together and documenting these moments is what I live for.
But having said that, there are some really simple things that you can include in your planning & preparations that will make a humongous difference when your photographer is capturing your day.
So read on for tips for better wedding photos!
I like to capture it all... the moments when you're a bunch of friends hanging out together getting ready and those sweet moments when there's no bright orange bags in the background!
YOUR WEDDING STATIONERY DETAILS
Those Pinterest flatlays are gorgeous aren't they! Photos of all the sweet details you designed for your wedding suite, sometimes includes jewellery, florals, shoes and heirloom pieces. I send a list to all my couples to inspire & remind them what to bring if they'd like a flatlay, and I’m going to share a couple key things in a little more detail here!
Floral clippings. If you're having a floral display, using some clippings for your flatlay can make a big difference. Your florist will have a few extras, and they are very accustomed to being asked to leave some extras for the flatlay. Drop them an email and ask them to include a few cuttings, they're usually very happy to do so!
Have extra copies of your invitation suite Your photographer will use each piece in a way that makes sense and looks beautiful, and sometimes that means showing a front and reverse also stacking a few of the same thing together so extra copies will be helpful.
Can you add some small items? There are SO many great inspo photos for flatlays out there. Put a few on your Pinterest board and ask your photographer if they could incorporate some of your ideas. I bring some items in my flatlay kit, but some that you could add are:
– A sample of your confetti
– silk or velvet ribbon
– a ring box
– matte silver, matte gold, or wooden trays
– luxurious fabrics like silk or velvet in your wedding colours
– extras of whatever smaller objects you are using in your wedding (eg Save something from your centrepieces for me for the flatlay! Or if your wedding favours are tiny jars of honey with a little honey dipper, keep a few spares for the flatlay)
GETTING READY PHOTOS
- Clutter and space in the bridal suite doesn’t matter as much as light matters! When you have chosen your venue and you’re thinking about where to get ready, adding good window light to your list is definitely worth thinking about. If your bridal suite is dark, I’d recommend enquiring if there's a brighter room you could get ready in! It may seem obvious but the brighter the better - your makeup artist will thank you too.
- When I go into the bridal prep room I usually ask if I can turn off your overhead lighting - I know I just said the brighter the better but I'm talking about window light. Indoor bulbs have different colour temperatures, and the mixed lighting can cast weird hues in photos (honestly, blondes can get a touch of yellow or even worse - green!)
- Just to touch on the point about clutter again, if you can keep an area of your bridal prep room tidy I will be forever grateful :) It's not the makeup table or the dresses hanging up that I'm referring to, the clutter to tidy away is the bright orange bags with logos crumpled up and lurking in every corner. Haha, the curse of the Sainsbury's bag!!
- And of course, I will photograph your dress so think about your hangers. Could you get some pretty padded ones or just white hangers, maybe even personalised for your bridesmaids. Anything other than a TU branded hanger with the size tag still on it.
There's some truly precious moments during Bridal Prep so don't leave an Ikea bags around to spoil the shot.
I do everything I can to keep my eyes peeled for background spoilers, but sometimes I just have to get the candid shot. Black and white cures some issues but I have no other option than to tightly crop if there's big logos in shot. (With some obvious exceptions... Jo Malone or Lanson being two of them :)
This is your photographers’ most hands-off part of the entire day, and rightfully so. I’m there to capture what occurs! But here are a few things that I know my lovely couples don’t always think about. If you forget these things, don’t sweat it! The most important thing during the ceremony is to relax and enjoy.
Just a few requests... pretty please try to remember not to look at your feet. If my camera could talk it would tell you that for 90% of aisle walks I'm whispering 'Look up, Look up, Look up'. Although even if you do look at your feet you'll still look incredible.
- Another tip I give all my couples is to remember to smile up the aisle! (I remind your guests the same to reduce background yawners :))
- When you get to the front, if you have an arch, check where you’re standing in relation to your arch/backdrop (standing centred is best). And standing close enough to each other to hold hands down low.
- At the end of the ceremony, (remembering to smile at your guests) halfway up the aisle is a great time to pause for a kiss, high five, cheer, or whatever suits your fancy! Your guests will all be turned looking at you, cheering and smiling and it will be a great photo!
- I am a huge fan of gorgeous, over-the-top table decor! It adds so much drama to your wedding photos, and makes for a great guest experience too. But one place where you might consider keeping your florals lower to the surface is your sweetheart table. Especially if you’ll be seated there while your family & friends give their toasts! Tall floral arrangements & candles will be right in front of your faces and will mean I can’t get good photos of you two while you’re laughing, crying or hugging.
- Every time I see a cake table with a beautifully crafted cake tucked into a dark corner with a 'FIRE EXIT' sign on the wall behind it, my soul cries a little. Pull that cake out and make it a focal point! I love to see cakes right in the middle of all the action and your guests will too. Stick a spotlight on it! Make it count! I’ve been known to turn a cake table (so carefully) to put the rest of the room with gorgeous centrepieces and twinkly candles behind it instead of a blank wall for photos. If your room layout just won’t let you move it to a position like this, try to leave a good amount of space between the cake and the wall behind it or put up a fancy decorative wall behind it with a faux hedge, floral wall or even ribbons!
- During your first dance, the temptation for a lot of people is to have a conversation. Sometimes you haven’t had a chance to tell them about a funny thing that happened. Can I be the first to encourage you to not talk too much, and just enjoy it. Listen to the words, look into each other’s faces, hug, laugh & sing but don't get too engrossed in convo or you'll likely frown to hear over the music - not a great look for first dance photos :)) Before the wedding, tell your spouse/mom/dad that this is what you’d like to do and then try to remind yourself to get into this frame of mind before you walk out onto the dance floor. I know everyone’s relationships are different and a 2-3 minute dance might be too awkward for some without chatting a little, but let me just leave you with this visual: the more you talk, the more quirky talking faces your photographer will have to dig through just to find one good photo.
- Formal exit: If you’re doing a sparkler exit, make sure you’re getting the 18" long (or longer), smokeless wedding sparklers. Some of my clients have ordered from here and they’ve been good. Just definitely don’t get those little 12-inchers from your local fireworks stand! They won’t last long enough & there will be so much smoke.