Whenever a couple book me for their day, I immediately send them a list of tips to get the best out of their photography; little things they may not have considered, that can make all the difference to both the experience and the final result.
I’ve included my suggestions below… perhaps you can think of even more helpful advice to give!
1. Golden Hour
Try to not have your outdoor ceremony or portrait session in the middle of the day (when the sun in directly overhead) as the light is very unflattering.
The most beautiful natural light occurs when the sun is at a low angle, so the best time to have your portraits taken outside is in the *Golden Hour* the last hour before sunset. Even the last few hours of the day will do… but if neither option is possible within your schedule, don’t worry!
We’ll find some lovely shady spots that will work.
Nikon D700, 35mm Focal Length - 1/1250s f/3.5
2. Too Many Cameras?
Have an ‘Unplugged Ceremony‘; ask your guests not to take photos throughout the ceremony.
I can’t tell you how many shots of a bride coming down the aisle have been ruined by dozens of guests holding the iPhones out in front of her! Also, while you stand at the alter in front of your guests, the last thing you want is to look out onto a sea of smartphones and iPads.
Ask your guests to be present while you say your vows – put the gadgets down and really be part of it. That’s why you’re hiring a professional - I’ll be there to capture everything for you.
Think carefully about where you will both be getting ready. Often some of the best shots of the day are taken at this time, and a gorgeous background helps take them to the next level. Choose somewhere that suits your style; whether it’s your home, a friend’s place, a hotel room or a cottage in the country, make sure you love the way it looks. If there are any pieces of furniture, art or decorations that you don’t like, hide them away in a spare room on the big day.
4. Mood Lighting
Love the low-lit, romantic look? Getting gorgeous, moody lighting for your reception that looks amazing in photos relies on one factor: lots and lots of warm toned light sources at different heights. Think Chinese lanterns of all different sizes, plus tea lights on tables, plus fairy lights, plus more lamp light around the sides of the room/space. The more angles your celebration is lit from, the more dynamic it will look.
Just having dimmed down lights above your heads will not work; it’s unflattering and the photos will look flat and dull. The more little lights, the merrier.
Nikon D700, 50mm Focal Length - 1/160s f/1.4
5. Less Travel, More Photos
Consider how far apart your venues are. You don’t want too much my time taken up by driving from place to place, after all – you’re paying for every minute.
Less travel time = more time for great photo opportunities.
6. Ask In Advance
Got a favourite pub, café or garden where you’d like a few photos taken? Don’t make the mistake of assuming it will be fine; often the managers or owners of businesses and beautiful properties are bombarded with countless bridal parties every weekend, and have no choice but to say no before things get out of control. But if you get in touch in advance and ask nicely, they might just make an exception.
Nikon D700, 50mmmm Focal Length - 1/800s f/5
7. Take Things Slowly
Try not to underestimate how much time is needed for a good portrait session. Nobody wants their guests to wait around for too long, but if you’re really after creative and innovative shots capturing you both at your best, you’ll need at least an hour – more if there are multiple destinations - for your bridal portraits (this is on top of family portrait time). If you are worried about leaving people to wait while this happens, perhaps consider the ‘first look’ option – a photo shoot for just the bridal party before the ceremony.
8. Prepare For Rain
Everyone hopes for sunshine for their day, but things don’t always go to plan… So if there’s a chance of showers, find yourself some beautiful umbrellas. There are some gorgeous designs out there, and besides – a grey, wet day can actually make a stunning setting for your portraits.
9. Easy Portraits
Write a list of all the group photos you want taken on the day. Is Aunty Mary coming over from interstate and you’d love a picture of her with Grandma and the grandkids? Pop it on a list for me and you won’t have to remember it on the day.
Most importantly, don’t be worried about awkward posing. The best shots are almost always taken in between the poses, so if you feel like you don’t look natural when you try to pose, don’t worry – I’ll capture the real smiles for you.
Nikon D700, 35mm Focal Length - 1/500s f/3.5
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