how to prepare for your wedding photography
Below is some helpful information to ensure the best wedding photos possible.
If at all possible, I recommend getting ready in a room that has plenty of window light. Natural light is best for photos as artificial light can sometimes cast a strange hue in photos.
Have all the details you would like photographed (shoes, all rings, dress, invitation suite, etc...) all in once place. These details are usually the first things I photograph when I arrive. I typically like to photograph the bouquet/boutonnières at this time as well, so it is best to have the flowers at the "getting ready" location, but I can definitely take the photos of the flowers later if this is not possible. Remember you don't have to have photos of these kinds of details if you don't want them, but if you do this will help maximize the use of my time and keep you less stressed on the day of the wedding.
FIRST LOOK OR NO FIRST LOOK?
The first thing I want to make clear is that I want you to do what you want to do when it comes to seeing your partner before the ceremony. Don't feel pressured to do a first look because you think it means you will have better photos, or to not do a first look because you feel like you have to follow tradition. First look or not, do whatever you truly want.
Having a first look with your partner is such a special moment that you get to share together in private before the ceremony. Couples frequently mention that they loved getting to have a moment alone to just enjoy each other and calm each other down. I try to keep my distance during this time by shooting with a more "zoomed in" lens in order to give you space to enjoy the moment without a camera in your face. The first look often results in some of the most emotional photos of the day.
If you decide you don't want to do a first look with your partner, some couples have opted to exchange letters and read them while back to back or around the corner from each other so they can still have a moment alone but while preserving that "walking down the aisle" moment.
Alternatively, some brides/grooms have done a first look with their bridesmaids/groomsmen, dad, mom, or both parents together.
My favorite thing to capture at weddings is real emotion and candid moments, and rest assured that I will get many of those kinds of photos of you and your guests, but there is also something to be said for getting a few formal photos with your family. If you choose to do a first look I typically do these photos one hour before the ceremony starts and finish thirty minutes before the ceremony starts so you can be out of sight before guests arrive. If you do not do a first look, then I will do these photos in the thirty minutes right after the ceremony. If you have a small or large family, this may take more or less time accordingly.
About two months before the wedding I will send you a questionnaire where I will ask you for a list of all the family groupings you want photographed, so keep an eye out for that!
I strongly encourage you to consider having an unplugged ceremony. This simply means that guests are encouraged (either with an announcement from the officiant, a sign, or a note in the program) to refrain from using their phones and cameras during the ceremony. Not only is it important for your guests to be in the moment and fully present during this special moment, but it also allows me to do my job to the best of my ability. When guests are taking photos during the ceremony they may unintentionally interfere with my ability to photograph it myself. Having an unplugged ceremony allows your guests to be fully attentive and for you to have the best photos possible.
wedding photo tip
Some of my favorite photos of the entire wedding day are when the newly married couple are recessing down the aisle at the end of the ceremony. Excitement is at an all time high and the emotions are so raw. If you're undecided on whether or not you want to have a send-off at the end of the reception, a fun alternative is to have the "send-off" at the end of the ceremony instead. Have guests throw confetti, flower petals, etc. while you run down the aisle to add more fun to the moment. It's great because all your guests are all there and already congregated together which can be tricky at the end of the night when everyone has had a bit to drink.