You want perfect wedding photos and your photographer wants to capture those special, ever-so-fleeting emotional moments you’ll remember forever.
So, what is the key to more amazing photos? Communication.
There are things your wedding photographer wants you to know, but might not tell you. And these are things that will help them out TREMENDOUSLY, so it’s helpful if you know these secrets before the big day.
And let’s all give mad props to the wedding photographers because, honestly, without them, we’d have no captured memories of our wedding day… and no inspiration to pass on to future brides! Photographers rule. :)
So, let’s get down to it: here’s what your photographer wants you to know.
What Your Wedding Photographer Wants You To Know
1. Wedding photographers are not mind-readers.
Although they, like everyone else in the world, wish they could read minds, wedding photographers cannot read your mind and anticipate what you want. Therefore, be upfront: tell them what you want, what you don’t want, and provide a small list of must-have photos you’d like from your wedding. If they can do it, they will; if they can’t, they’ll tell you.
2. Don’t expect wedding photographers to copy.
Let’s say you were an amazing painter with a style all your own. People loved your work, and you were priced right. Another painter is more experienced than you: he has a few paintings that are most notable in his portfolio and a style all his own. Now suppose someone asked you, “Hey, I’d like you to paint a picture for me that looks like THIS,” referencing the other painter’s work. “I can’t afford them, so can you make it look like theirs?” What would you think?
Photographers are artists, with a unique style. They will not, nor do they want to, copy someone else’s work or style. They have their own! Either hire them to do their work or find someone else that better suits your style. You’ll both be 1000x happier.
3. Photographers are also not miracle-workers. Or magicians.
A photographer will do their very best, but they can’t necessarily make your wedding look like a movie or like something specific you found on Pinterest. Besides, who wants a copy of someone else’s wedding? See #2 in case you were still wondering about this one.
4. Give your photographer plenty of time.
Timelines = wonderful. However, please be flexible: sometimes (actually, most times) it takes longer than you would think. The photographs will be better if no hurrying is required.
5. Don’t be late.
Being late throws off the schedule. This means less time for your photographer to take your photos, which means less optimally-awesome photos for you.
6. Encourage the groom to get camera-confident before the wedding.
If he’s shy in front of the camera, get him more comfortable before the wedding. The same goes for the bride. I know, maybe you’re not that comfortable. But fake it till you make it, baby, ’cause you’re on camera! It helps to do an engagement session or bridal portrait to get more comfortable in front of the camera before the wedding. It’s one of those things where the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
7. Cool it on the drinks.
You look different when you take photos, um, toasted. Have your wedding party take it easy until the photographer can at least get the must-have photos first.
8. Tidy up a bit.
When your photographer is coming in to take getting ready photos, don’t forget to clean up your space. Wrappers from breakfast muffins, half-eaten powdered donut rings, empty cups from mimosas, and your clothing strewn about the room doesn’t make for nice photos.
9. You probably won’t get to see every photo that was taken.
And no, your photographs aren’t being held hostage. :) When our readers are looking for a photographer, they commonly request the following: “I want a photographer who lives in _____ and costs under _____ and will give me every single photo on a disc.”
The thing is, you probably don’t want every. single. photo. that. was. ever. taken. all. day. long. Wedding photographers go through your photographs after the big day, pull out the very best ones, painstakingly edit them, edit them again, and edit them once more so they are a reflection of their best work. Editing 1000+ sort-of-decent images is just not going to happen.
: Typically, photo amounts vary greatly from photographer to photographer. Be sure to ask ahead of time just so you’re on the same page!
10. Tell me about the family drama before the big day.
Sibling rivalry? Divorced parents can’t stand the sight of each other? Before the wedding, jot down a few things your photographer ought to know ahead of time. It will prevent any unnecessary awkwardness.
11. Please do an engagement session.
Wedding photographers would love, really, really love if you did an engagement session with them before the wedding. It’s a fantastic way to get to know each other before the big day.
Your photographer will get a great idea of how to work with you best, see what kind of poses work, and see how comfortable you are in front of the camera (and give you pointers). The couple will get an idea of the photographer’s mannerisms, style, and whether you all work together well. Plus, you can see the photos and decide if it’s the right fit for you. They’d much rather you change your mind before the wedding than to decide they don’t like your style AFTER the wedding is over.
12. Consider a no-camera zone for your ceremony.
This is also referred to as an “unplugged ceremony”.
In a perfect world, guests would leave cell phones and cameras at home or in their car during the wedding ceremony. This way, the photographer can do THE JOB THEY WERE HIRED TO DO. Instead, they have to battle flashes that happen sporadically, look down the aisle at people’s devices blocking their faces, and see people’s photos uploaded to Insta-whatevers during the wedding. Wedding photographers wish you knew, hey, guys, please: let me do my thing. You can go hog-wild at the reception, I promise (right after the formalities are finished).
13. “Can We Have the Raw Photos on a Disc to Edit Ourselves?”
No. Just no.
14. Be nice.
Being nice doesn’t cost a thing. Also, for some reason, Bridezillas look really AWFUL on camera, just sayin’.
Plus, keep in mind that shooting a wedding in the middle of July outside in the humid sun is painstakingly hot. So be extra nice. Wedding photographers may look chill on the outside, but inside they’re sweating bullets.
15. Smile like you mean it.
Audrey Hepburn once said, “Happy girls are the prettiest.” Everyone looks better when they smile. So smile as much as you can, even when you’re nervous. You got this.
16. Be flexible.
Photographers understand that you don’t want to spend your entire wedding day taking photos. They get it, they really do. But if there’s a moment that presents itself — like an unbelievable sunset or especially gorgeous night sky — go with it. You never know: =the quick five-minute impromptu snowfall shot might end up being your favorite. Talented photographers have an eye for these sorts of things, so trust them on this one.
17. Don’t rush.
Wedding photographers want to get the perfect shot, so don’t rush! Walk slowly down the aisle. Make your first official kiss really last.
Dance slowly. Savor the moments. You’ll feel more relaxed and your photographer will have more time to capture those perfect, fleeting moments as they happen.
P.S. Have a bridesmaid help the ring bearer and flower girl to s l o w d o w n, too.
18. Stand up straight and don’t slouch.
Just like your momma told ya!
19. Consider a first look.
A first look is when the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony. It’s an excellent way for the photographer to get some one-on-one time with the couple for photographs (and those first looks are some of the most AMAZING moments!)
20. Feed your photographer!
Brides: be sure to leave a seat at dinner for the photographer. It’s tiring being on your feet all day and a few minutes for dinner is most appreciated. This goes for all vendors!
21. Get formal shots early on.
Your hair, makeup, shoes, and dress will look perfect the earlier we do the bridal shoot. Plus, hate to break it to you, but your dress will get dirty, so the earlier the better.
22. Let wedding photographers do their job.
Trust them. They’re professionals. Also, it’s not as easy as it looks.
23. Be kind to others around you.
It’s awkward for a photographer to work with a bride who is rude to their family, friends, or other wedding vendors. For tension’s sake, let’s take it down a notch.
24. Light is everything.
When it comes to the timing of when to photograph outdoors, let us give you pointers. Proper light is essential, and the photographer wants to capture you looking your very best.
25. “Why are you so expensive? Can I get a discount?”
First… ya gotta be kidding me!
Wedding photographers do a LOT of work, and it doesn’t mean just snapping a few photos. There’s pre-planning, making lists, getting the right equipment for the job, travel, editing, re-editing, and editing some more. Then add in the actual wedding photography itself, and that’s a hefty workload. A photographer costs the price they’ve set, and unfortunately, if it doesn’t fit your budget you might need to find another who does.
25. Be clear about how long you need to book us.
They’re cool with it, they just want to know so we can plan accordingly; they have busy lives, too.
26. Let me know where I can go.
Did your church say no wedding photographers in a certain area? Am I okay to walk right in front, or do I need to stay near the back? Find out and let me know so we both don’t get in trouble.
27. Book ’em in advance.
Want to hire a photographer? Make sure you book them and place a deposit on the date to set it. Many wedding photographers book up quickly and/or only accept a limited number of weddings per season.
28. Get professional hair and makeup done.
You want to look your best and wedding photographers want to capture you at your best. Make that appointment (and do a trial run beforehand, just in case). The way you look will reflect largely on how you like your photos, so make sure you look like the best version of yourself (don’t go overboard with the hair and makeup if it’s not your thing, either.)
29. Don’t constantly hound your photographer via email or phone.
They’ll get back to you — really! — but they’re probably working with other couples, too. Give them a little space and time to get back in touch with you with any questions so they can provide excellent service to all of their wonderful couples.
30. A strapless dress might not be your best friend.
Not everyone looks rockin’ in a strapless dress. Also, some strapless dresses are known to be annoying because brides are ALWAYS pulling them back up in place. You don’t want to see yourself always adjusting the girls in photos, do you?
31. This is real life.
32. Please leave a review.
Reviews are the lifeblood of the wedding service industry. Brides love to hear from other real brides who have hired a particular vendor or service. And, wedding photographers rely on these reviews to build credibility. Consider leaving an honest review on their website or Facebook page to give them the kudos they deserve. (If you didn’t like their work, consider talking with them first rather than trolling their Facebook page. Most times, things can be worked out. And, of course, if the photographer was awful and never showed up or lost all of your photos and never called you back or hit on your bridesmaids and got drunk at the bar, warn the others! But we’ve never heard of such things from our wedding photographers. We love ’em!)
What things wedding photographers wish you knew would YOU add to the list?