1. A bad mood will kill your pictures!
Your mood is key for your wedding day (that goes for everyone else as well). We do our best to capture the smiles and tell a happy story of a blissful wedding day, but there’s not much a photographer can do about people frowning or looking stressed out. Our suggestion is preparing everyone well before your wedding day. Try to eliminate as much of the last minute stuff as possible, work out a plan for any family feuds (and kind enough to let your photographer know), and if you think people may still be stressed start the morning off with a couple mimosas. The point here is to try to get everyone to loosen up a bit. Do whatever you need to do to have fun and be relaxed on your wedding day.
Also, if the groom doesn’t like having his picture taken, you’re in real trouble! I’ve photographed weddings where the groom almost ran from the camera the whole day (turning his head every time he saw me with my camera). I understand that having a “poperazzi experience” isn’t always the best feeling and can leave you feeling a little vulnerable at times, but your wedding day is the day to over look the camera fears (that is if you want good pictures of your self afterward). So tell that groom to suck it up and prepare himself for a day full of photographs!
2. Let your photographer tell your story, not someone else’s!
I love Pinterest! I post tons of pictures there every week. So I understand that there are tons of great photographs on there that inspire you! The problem that arises with Pinterest for your photographer is when a client asks to “recreate” specific photos. Sometimes I receive boards with hundreds of specific photos! Please understand that this can be overwhelming for any photographer. Some photos are easy to recreate, but others just don’t work. My suggestion is to try not to get too caught up in “recreating” exact moments from other people’s wedding on your day. I say this because those are “moments” from their day, not yours. Let your photographer tell your unique story, not someone else’s!
Think about this way, you’ve hired a photographer because you like their work. If they are good where good enough to be hired and you desire for them to tell your story through their work, then trust them to do just that. Let them capture the real moments of your day as they happen. Of course we photographers look at each other’s work for inspiration (i.e. angles, lighting, style), but the real thing we are after is emotion. And the only way to record real emotion is to capture it when it happens.
So to say it again, enjoy Pinterest for what it is- Inspiration. Let you photographer tell your unique story, not someone else’s.
3. Photoshop doesn’t work miracles!
“You can just photoshop that out right?”
I have rather a love-hate relationship with this statement. I love that people are wise enough to the production process that they know that we professional artist have the power to create and manipulate our working post. However, I hate it when people think that photoshop works miracles.
Let me explain: I get asked from time to time to just “photoshop someone or something” either into or out of a picture. This sounds great but doesn’t really work. Photoshop has the power to combine images, but under very specific scenarios and with tons of pre-production set up. The idea of “run and gun” adding just doesn’t work. I also get asked from time to time if I can “photoshop out the fat.” I obviously have to be tender in response to this question. The trouble with this has less to do with if it’s possible and more to do with it looking fake. I’ve been known to do a little nip and tuck from time to time, but sever photo manipulation and digital weight loss just doesn’t look right in most situations with wedding photography. It can take up to 20 hours to manipulate an image into something that looks anything close to real. But no matter how much time I spend on trying to make something look real, the truth is that it just won’t be real. When people see those images, they are going to know your images have been severely doctored. And believe me, they’ll talk more about those doctored images than those few extra pounds you weren’t able to loose before the wedding!
The big idea here is to think through your surroundings and plan well. If you want something or someone in a photo than plan for it happen. If you want a sunset, schedule your pictures at sunset. If your hotel room looks like a tornado just hit when we are taking pictures, then it will look like your getting ready in a tornado fall out shelter.
4. Your guests can ruin your photos if you let them!
One really cool thing about our modern world is the ability to share digital content online in real time! I love my iPhone! I take Instagram pictures and share them like an addict. But all of your guests thinking they are professional photographers can negatively effect your wedding day if you let them.
I’ve been photographing weddings for almost 4 years now. It never fails that guests see it as their personal goal to document your wedding day at all costs. I’ve had guest stop a ceremony and push me out of the way to get a cell phone photo. One of my favorite shots at a wedding is the moment when the bride comes down the isle. She’s worked hard to be there, she’s spent hours on her hair and make up, and a ridiculous amount of $ on that dress. It’s always an amazing shot to capture her coming down the isle with all of her friends and family admiring her and celebrating the day with huge smiles! But so many times these shots are filled more with cell phones and people crouching around one another taking pictures than just enjoying the moment.
A good way to remedy these problems is to just make your guest aware of your wishes and organize ways to limit technology distractions. Maybe ask your guest not to take photos during the ceremony?
5. Your photographer is not just a camera with legs!
Today’s modern professional cameras are performance monsters! Heck, there are even cell phones out there that can kick the butt of any camera from 10 years ago! But no matter how advanced technology gets or how intuitive they become, a camera will always be only a tool. There’s a quote that photographers like to say- “A camera doesn’t make a picture, a photographer does.” This is so true! Think about it, you’ve hired a professional artist to photograph your wedding day. That artist has a creative nact for capturing moments on film that no camera could do alone. You’re not hiring a camera; you’re hiring a person with a skill set, training, and experience.
With this said, treat your photographer like a person not a camera with legs. For instance, we’ll need food on your wedding day. Whether we bring it ourselves or whether it’s provided there. If we can shovel down some nutrience when your guests are eating then we’ll be energized and ready to go when the party starts!
6. A disorganized day will result in missed photo opportunities!
This is one of those drums that I beat continually! Photos don’t just happen, some shots take work and some planning to work out. So, don’t try to cram 4 hours of photos into 30 minutes; it just won’t work. I tell clients every time we meet to plan tons of time into their wedding day. You wouldn’t believe how long some things take. For instance, it always takes 20-30 minutes to get a bride into her dress. Bridal party pictures typically take between an 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The list goes on and on.
If you plan your day well, with plenty of extra time, you’ll be less stressed and you’ll have plenty of time to get those shots that you’ll appreciate 20 years down the road.
7. It’s your party! Do what you want!
I get asked at almost every wedding, “Can we do that?” My answer is, “YES! It’s your wedding isn’t it!? (Of course I’m kind in saying so) But let me just give you an encouraging piece of advice: There is no wrong way to get married! It’s your day! If you don’t want to do something don’t do it. If you do want to do something, than consider this permission to do it! The big thing here is to have a wedding that will be “regret free.” Do what you need to do to make sure that when you look back on your wedding day in 20 years you can say, “It was exactly like I wanted it!”