Ask the Cleveland Wedding Photographers | How do I maximize my photographs on my wedding day?

Six Steps To Maximize Your Photographs On Your Wedding Day

Your big day is coming up! Among the many details that you want to go “just right” on your wedding day is the photography. You want photographs that you can look back on for years and relive your special day. How much of the photography is under your control? Surprisingly, there are a number of ways a bride (working in tandem with excellent photographers) can help create spectacular wedding images.

Step 1: Invest in professional, high-quality wedding photographers who fit your style. 

This step cannot be emphasized enough! When you select your photographers, invest in people who photograph weddings for a living! There is a marked difference between an amateur photographer and photographers who make a full-time living off their skill set. Professionals are better able to seamlessly guide you through your day, answer the myriad of “day-of” questions that arise, and respond to the unexpected moments with ease.

Not only do you want professionals, but you should choose photographers whose portfolio and blog fits your personality. There are many different styles to photography. Choose photographers who capture weddings the way that best fits you.

Step 2: Use an engagement session to enhance your wedding day photos.

Engagement sessions can be pivotal in their ability to shape your wedding-day photos. Not everyone is accustomed to being followed around by large cameras, and people have different comfort levels when it comes to pictures. Engagement sessions are great, stress-free opportunities for you to get to know your photographers better. They also let your photographers get to know you so they can better portray your wedding day story.

Engagement sessions are also a coaching session as well! Photographers help you to learn what poses work best for you. This translates into more natural images and a greater ease-of-mind on your wedding day! Plus, you end up with wonderful pictures to use for save-the-dates and to remember your engagement by.

Step 3: Leave room in your wedding day schedule for breathless photography.

Now that you have hired your photographers (and hopefully gone for an engagement photo shoot), make sure that you leave room in your wedding day schedule for the pictures you are investing in! If you are shooting formal portraits on site, make sure to leave at least a full hour for these photos - but two hours is better. If you are going off site or to multiple locations, you need more time. Schedule one to one and a half hours of actual shooting time.

One wonderful way to maximize your formal pictures is through having a first look. A first look is when the bride and groom have a special moment to see each other before the ceremony happens. This allows for many things. First, it is easier for the couple to be real with their emotions. There is not a crowd of people watching every move that they make, which sometimes makes individuals less relaxed with the emotions they are experiencing. Secondly, a first look lets the couple focus just on each other for their special day. The bride can take a moment away from hair and makeup and all the details and remember the love for the person she is about to marry. The day is about the union of two people. First looks let these people experience that in an intimate and powerful way. Finally, a first look leaves room for plenty of photographs without leaving guests in the lurch. The couple does not have to hurry back to catch the end of the cocktail hour, but can take the time to capture the images they want.

Step 4: Be willing to be adventurous with the photographs!

Great photos come from putting yourself out there a little. Being willing to do something cool or out of the ordinary can give you pictures that stand out significantly from others. This is where you follow the lead of your photographers and let them know that you are willing to do something extra for extraordinary pictures. Take a risk!

Step 5: Have the details ready.

A bride needs to have certain details ready to roll on her wedding day. The bride should have all of the rings (engagement and both wedding bands), her shoes, and her dress (steamed if it needs it) handy before the photographer arrives. This lets the the photographer grab those shots before everyone is getting ready. Feel free to provide any jewelry, mementos, or other important details to your photographer.

Step 6: Experience the emotions as they happen.

Our Western culture tends to minimize the expression of emotions. This is a momentous occasion in your life! You are getting married to your best friend! A wonderful part of your wedding day is the flood of emotions that brings. Make the choice to experience the emotions as they are happening. This will give you a richer experience on your wedding day and will let you look back decades later and re-experience how you were feeling.