The main thing to consider for getting the best wedding photos is hiring a good photographer who knows how to find and use LIGHT. Another thing to consider is if they shoot digital or film, and if that matters to you. The look does differ, so compare your options. If you care about your wedding photos, expect to spend $4,000-$8,000 on your photographer. It's a day you'll never get back, so it's worth every penny. Once you've hired your photographer and you're in the planning process, consider these 10 tips to get the BEST wedding photos. (all photos by me, Danielle Poff Photography)
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1. Have your ceremony with the sun behind the altar or in full shade.
If the sun is on you, your photos will have weird shadows, be blown out in areas (aka too bright), and the uneven light will make it hard to see your faces and reactions in your ceremony photos. If the venue has a ceremony location but lighting isn't great, ask if it's ok to do it elsewhere on the property where there is good light.
2. Have your head table with the sun behind you or in full shade, or stand with your backs to the sun along with the person giving a toast.
This is another case of uneven lighting and not being able to see expressions well, if the sun is on you causing weird lighting. This photo below would have looked much different if they were standing where I was. Even light caused by being backlit always looks nice!
3. Do toasts, first dances, and dessert before the sun goes down.
No one wants to be blasted with a flash during their first dance or toasts. This is a time where you shouldn't notice the camera. So because of this, I highly suggest working closely with your photographer on your timeline to make sure you can squeeze these events in before sundown.
4. Opt to sneak away for sunset photos to get that pretty golden light.
This is the best time of day for photos hands down! No matter what is happening at your reception during this time, take at least 10-15 minutes and sneak away for sunset photos.
5. Do a first look, so you have more time for more photos. This also means being able to utilize every area of your venue before guests arrive.
Your wedding day goes by so fast, why not see each other for as long as possible on your wedding day. This also means less stress for you guys, because being together always calms my couples down. It also means getting to take photos everywhere at your venue because once the wedding has started, guests will be everywhere and photo spots will become limited.
6. If details matter you to, get a second set of chairs so chairs will be present when your photographer is taking your reception detail photos.
This is a minor detail, but it's something to consider if you want to get your wedding published or you're detail oriented.
7. Hire a photographer you trust. Don't micro manage them or give them a shot list. Inform your wedding party and family of this too.
If you're paying someone thousands of dollars to photograph your wedding, trust them. Don't hire them if you feel unsure. These are the moments you can't get back, so hire someone who you 110% trust when they ask you to walk through a talk field of weeds or to sit down in some dirt.
8. Tell your wedding party and family members to be respectful of your photographer, and that YOU fully trust them.
When a photographer has to deal with snide remarks or a rowdy crowd, it makes their job harder and takes time away from their purpose, taking pretty photos! Your friends most likely don't know how much you paid for your photographer, your relationship with your photographer, or even their work. So kindly ask your friends to be nice!
9. Communicate with your photographer about placement of wedding decor and events, so they can inform you of what will be work best as far as backgrounds and lighting.
Pretty details in bad lighting is the WORST. A simple flip of a table, or turn of a chair can make all the difference.
10. Before booking your photographer, ask to see a full gallery from a wedding (or two or three).
Most people with good photography equipment can take decent portraits. But having the skills to take good portraits in good lighting AND posing their clients well is something not everyone can do. Also knowing that your photographer can and will take good candids of you and your guests in both daylight and night time with flash is important. Seeing a full gallery of a wedding will give you the best perspective for what you will be receiving.