Tips for Brides to get good wedding photos
During the Ceremony
Exchanging the rings –
To get good pictures of the rings hold the ring with your index finger and thumb on top and bottom of the ring, so you don’t block the sides of the ring from view. Hold your partners hand with your hand on the bottom, palm up. You should face each other but also allow angle open toward the guests so that they can see whats going on. Also pause for a second with your hand on the ring while you place it on the finger, this allows your photographer time to get a few shots at different angles and a close up.
Exchanging the vows –
Look at your partner, not at the officiant. If you’re reading your own vows, take a few seconds to look up at each other and not just down at your notes.
Let your photographer know ahead of time if there any restrictions (using flash, where to stand, set up lights, tripods, etc…). If at all possible invite the photographer to the rehearsal so they know where everyone is coming from, standing, any cultural traditions and / or alterations to the ceremony.
Notes for the bridal party –
The entrance is one of the hardest parts of the ceremony to get good shots, here’s a few tips to help your photographer get some nice pictures of everyone in the bridal party:
Try not to look down while you are walking, I know its hard sometimes in heels, a dress and depending on the venue maybe uneven terrain, but if at all possible keep your head up.
Try to spot the photographer before looking around and saying hi to guests, we’ll usually be at the very front or very back of the aisle.
Walk with enough space in between each other so that each couple can be photographed individually.
Bridesmaids, hold your bouquet at your belly button and tilted slightly forward. Groomsmen, don’t hold anything in your hands (phones, glasses, camera, etc…)
I’d advise against having anyone in your bridal party taking pictures, even though all eyes are on you, they are also front and center of the action and are in the backdrop. They are there to make you and your pictures look good not to take pictures, tweet, facebook, instagram or upload a video to youtube. That’s what you’re paying professionals for.
These take the most time and can hold up the reception if not planned for accordingly.
Make sure everyone involved in the portraits knows ahead of time to stay back and not head to the reception.
If you can, have someone bring appetizers and drinks to you and your party, so that people don’t wander off to get a bite or a drink. You’d hate to have to wait on the big family portrait because someone is in line at the bar. Ask someone from the catering company, bartender, planner or someone not in the wedding party to get drinks and a plate of appetizers.
Assign someone close to you that knows your family and friends, so that they can wrangle the appropriate people for the group pictures.
This is a hard one, but if it all possible, discourage people from using their own cameras. I know they think it will only take an extra few seconds, but it can have other adverse effects. Taking pictures with your own personal camera is contagious; once one person does it, everyone wants to do it. I promise I’ll give you all the family photos so that you can share them, I’ll even work extra hard to give you those first before anything else (hopefully within a week – I know how demanding family can be). Another thing that ends up happening, someone is always looking at the wrong camera or scanning the crowd behind or next to me trying to make sure someone has their camera and is going to take the same picture.
Heading to the reception:
If you are taking a limo / car ride / carriage ride to the reception it might be a good idea to let the photographer tag along to get some good photos. If you want some privacy, then at least make sure the photographer arrives before you so that he or she can get some shots of you arriving and exiting your ride.
During the reception
First Dance / Father Daughter / Mother Son / Money Dance –
Take a second to look at me and get “cheek to cheek”
Bouquet Toss -
Play with the crowd to build up anticipation, do a couple of “fake” tosses. This also allows me to get a few shots of the crowd’s reaction as well as make sure everyone is ready and paying attention.
This could be a hard one – Try to not get too drunk! (at least until after all the important photos are taken. I know you want to celebrate and have a good time but some unintended consequences of getting too drunk – getting handsy, red faced, and having “drunk eyes” (I haven’t found a photoshop filter to get rid of those, yet) – an easy fix, schedule all the events you want photographed early in the night.
Make sure your DJ / Photographer & Videographer/ Wedding Planner are all on the same page. This is crucial if you want the flow of things to run smoothly and all the right moments to be recorded.
Bride and Groom portraits –
These are the pictures that you’ll end up framing and hanging on your wall, so make sure these count.
If you have any specific requests or ideas, make sure they are known before hand. Also take into consideration that you will be in a wedding dress and some poses and / or locations might be challenging (walking down a cliff to the beach or getting into a canoe might sound good until your wearing a 20 lb dress and high heels). Another thing to factor in is time. If your group portraits take a long time they might cut into your bride and groom session and depending on the location and time of day, you might be running out of natural light (this is why I stress, planning time for the group portraits is very important to the timeline of the day). This should be a time where you let go and relax and be yourself, dismiss all non-essential people to the reception so that you have as little eyes on you as possible (you might want to keep one person around to carry your train and freshen your makeup, etc.), the more relaxed and fun you have, the better (cuter) the pictures will be.
For the bride & bridesmaids:
Never face me straight on, keep your shoulders and hips angled towards me. Put your weight on your back foot and push your hips back. Pull your chin out and down.
For the groom & groomsmen:
Put your weight on your front foot, and don't just let your hands hang at your sides. Put your hands in your pocket, on your lapel, crossed or do something with your hands.
Getting Ready –
Try to pick a room with lots of natural light.
Keep the room free of clutter (plastic bags, plastic dress covers, food containers etc.)
Allow time to get pictures of you in the dress and some locations at your site before your guests arrive. (you don’t want too many people seeing you in your dress before the ceremony)
Decide if you want group photos and / or first look photos done. This can save time and also gives you a little more leeway in terms of available light.