Here are 30 tips and tricks for brides from Martin Setunsky, profesional wedding photographer based in the beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand.
A woman’s wedding day is often one of her biggest dreams. Having a superb, unforgettable and majestic wedding is at the top of the list for many brides. A lot of time and planning goes into making the day special. But once the day comes it runs so fast that you want to make sure your photos are wonderful to remember it by. So here are some tips and tricks which will make your wedding day photography more smooth and will help you to get better photos.
The wedding day for a photographer starts with the bride getting ready. Me as a photographer, I really like to get to the brides getting ready location pretty soon after the make-up artist and hairdresser arrives. This allows me to have time for a little chat and to say hi to everyone, instead of just jumping right into the photos without even meeting everyone in the room. Once I say hi to everyone and crack few silly jokes, my first steps will be with photographing all the wedding accessories including all dresses. So let’s start with our 30 tips and tricks for brides.
- So here is the tip number one: To make everything go smooth and fast, you can prepare a bag or box with all of your accessories. Things like rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, veil, hair clips, presents for your bridesmaids if you have some and any other jewellery you are planning to wear on the day. Include also your perfume, garter, wedding invitation and yours and your bridesmaids shoes. Of course your wedding dress and all your bridesmaids dresses. Also try to organize the flower delivery early in the morning, so they can be included in the prep shoot.
- Tip number two: As I have mentioned before have all 3 rings on you in the morning, so the photographer can take photos of them with all other accessories together.
- Tip number three: Get some nice wooden clothes hangers for all dresses, the plastic ones which comes with the dress don’t look as great in the photos as nice wooden ones do. You can also order them from the internet with signs like bride, maid of honour and bridesmaids.
- Tip number four: Let your hairdresser and make-up artist start with you, so you know you look amazing on every photo taken early in the morning. They will return to you and touch up yours again before they leave.
- Tip number five: Think about the room where you will be getting ready and try to keep it as clean and tidy as possible. Having drying rack etc in the background doesn’t look so great on your wedding photos.
- Tip number six: If you have got some presents for bridesmaids or your mum, or you are getting them for each other, wait until all makeup and hair is done so you look just perfect on these photos too. And an important thing is, don’t forget to let your photographer know just before you will hand them out so they can get to a good spot to get the best photos of everyone’s reactions.
Other than that, don’t forget to have lots of fun and your photos will take care of themselves. A good photographer will take advantage of everyone being happy on the day and your photos will look fabulous. During the times between and if the guys are getting ready close by, the photographer will most likely jump in the car and drive to the guys getting ready location to photograph them too. It is great to have a nice set of photos of them as well, to remember the whole day as a story or especially really good for your photo album. If the guys are getting ready further away this task is usually done by the photographer’s second shooter. As for the guys getting ready there will be few tips as well, so let’s jump right onto them:
- Here is the tip number seven: Same as with the girls in the morning ask your H2B to have some box or bag with his stuff ready too. That can include his cologne, tie, belt, watch, cufflinks and of course his shoes and his suit as well as the suits of all groomsmen.
- Tip number eight: a really important thing is to ask them to keep the area there tidy as we all know the men, right 😀
- Tip number nine: and this one is really important for the guys, especially on a really sunny day. Not to use too much sunscreen!!! Normal eyes may not see it too much, but all cameras are too sensitive and the skin will look like from a snow white story. You can see it even more when standing next to the bride wearing beautiful makeup creating huge contrast between the two.
- Tip number ten: Ask the groom and his party to be ready for the photographer arrival; having a shower and all ready in advance will save so much time, which can be used for some awesome shots.
As guys are usually ready much faster than ladies, the photography task is done pretty quickly and your photographer can return to the ladies and get some last touch ups with makeup photos for your album and photograph the beautiful bride before the ceremony. Now is the time to get to the ceremony and I have a few more tips and tricks there too.
- Tip number eleven: Let your photographer know just before you arrive to the ceremony so he/she can take photos of you arriving and getting out of the car.
- Tip number twelve: Consider to ask all of your guests and have an unplugged ceremony. You paid the professional photographer to take care of all the photos, so you can see your guests’ faces instead of just their phones pointing at you. Also really important for the photographer as too many guests try to get their best shot and block the photographer’s view, which may end up with photographer missing the perfect shot.
- Tip number thirteen: When walking the aisle, many brides are nervous and try to hide it by talking to their father or whoever is walking them down the aisle. Although this may help you to hide it, it doesn’t look too good on photos and on top of that your soon to be husband is waiting there and looking for the eye contact which is not coming. (This is not the case for every bride, but I have seen it too many times, so I thought I would include it here too.)
- Tip number fourteen: Kiss! You really want to kiss for at least two or three seconds so the photographer has enough time to capture it. It is true you have hired a professional, but sadly they are not superheroes with incredible speed and senses haha.
- Tip number fifteen: Be aware of where your photographer is and don’t cover the rings when you are placing them on each others finger.
- Tip number sixteen: When the time comes for signing the wedding contract, try to stay close to your other half. Have a hand on his/her shoulder and you will get perfect photos of you two in this important moment. Once you both signed stay still close by so the photographer can get you both in the shot when your witnesses and celebrant is signing it too.
- Tip number seventeen: When walking back down the aisle, practice with the whole bridal party to leave the same distance as when you were walking in. That will allow the photographer capture every couple walking, as well as the bride and groom. Also don’t finish walking in front of the photographer, but continue walking until you are behind him/her so him/her can capture everyone else who is coming after you.
Now when the ceremony is done and you are married, it’s time for the group photos, which brings me to:
- Tip number eighteen: Allow in your day schedule time for congratulations. Most couples don’t think of that when they are creating their time sheet and here is the first moment when the day schedule really often starts running a bit late. You have invited many guests and they all will want to shake your hands, hug you and congratulate you both. This may take some time depending on the number of guests you have invited.
- Tip number nineteen: and this tip I would say is maybe the most important of them all. Create a group photo list! Having this list will speed the group photos significantly and save you so much time, which you can spend by enjoying the day or allowing more time for bridal party photos. Start creating the list from the biggest groups and go down on the number of people in the shots as it is much easier to ask everyone to leave the photo than try to get them in.
- Tip number twenty: It comes hand in hand with the previous tip. With your group photo list think of someone from your guests who is loud and maybe a bit bossy, who will have a copy of this list and will be preparing the next group in line of the order before the photographer has finished shooting the previous one. That will make it super smooth and fast. If the nominated person knows most of the guest it’s a bonus on top.
- Tip number twenty-one: If it is possible try to wait with drinks after the group photos so people don’t have full hands and don’t have to hide the glasses behind their backs. This is absolute personal choice if you don’t mind it just ignore this tip, the photographer won’t mind.
Once you have finished the group photos, now is usually the time when you will be having your bridal party photos taken. This is the time when you leave everyone behind and go somewhere aside just with the bridal party, your photographer and videographer if you are having one. Someone will want to stay in the venue, someone will want to travel to some location which brings me to the next tip.
- Tip number twenty-two: If you have decided to travel to some location for your bridal party photos, allow enough time for travel. That includes not just the time that Google maps will tell you, but also time for getting into cars and out of them, plus don’t forget the photographer will have to pack and unpack all the gears which may take a bit of time too.
- Tip number twenty-three: Think about what is more important for you. Would you like lots of photos with your bridal party, or do you prefer more photos of you two and let your photographer know so he/she can plan the photoshoot accordingly.
- Tip number twenty-four: Be ready for rain. What does that mean? Just think if you would be okay to be out in the rain or if you would rather have your photos taken inside instead. Also having some beautiful wedding umbrellas ready just in case may not be a bad idea.
- Tip number twenty-five: Don’t forget to let your photographer know if you would like more candid photos or if you prefer to be posed. Most photographers will be ok with both variants, but it’s better to let them know ahead so they can plan the photoshoot.
- Tip number twenty-six: plan to have a sunset photoshoot. Instead of having long run on photos after the ceremony, make it a bit shorter and allow some other time for photos right at sunset. Not only will it mean that you won’t let your guest wait for you too long after the ceremony, but you will also get the beautiful lighting during a golden hour just before the sun will set down.
Now you have finished taking photos of the bridal party, so it’s time to get back to the venue and enter the reception. Your photographer will usually get inside before you and make sure all is ready. Sometimes the photographer will need to get some lighting set up before you can get inside.
- Tip number twenty-seven: When you are planning speeches have everyone walk to the same spot in front of all the guests. Usually the best place is right next to the bridal party table so everyone can see them. It is also the best place to be for photos as this is usually the place with the best and consistent lighting.
- Tip number twenty-nine: How to do the wedding cake cutting? The best way is to stay next to the cake so everyone can see you from side on. Maybe slightly behind the cake. Hold your other half around the waist with your inner hands and take the knife with your outer hands.
- Tip number twenty-eight: Let your photographer to have dinner at the same time as the bridal party. This is not because the photographer would be greedy and couldn’t wait to eat. It is because he/she will finish the meal at the same time as you will and that will allow the time for some other photos. Photos like the planned sunset while everyone else is still eating.
- Tip number thirty: Make sure your MC knows to let the photographer know before each event starts. Like speeches, cutting cake or first dance so you have the whole set of photos. Even the photographer needs to visit the toilet perhaps and you do not want them to miss a key moment. So keeping them in the loop is very important.
So there you have it, my 30 tips and tricks for brides how to get the most of your wedding photos and a smooth wedding day. I hope this was helpful to you and you have found some new and important information here.
Wanna know more about Martin’s work? Hit to the wedding section here, or follow Martin on his Facebook page.