Nov 4 2008

Seven Tips for Better Wedding Photos

  • One: Clean up the room. This applies more so to brides than grooms, but both would benefit. More often than not, the area the bride is using to ready herself becomes instantly littered with open shoeboxes, plastic bags, and wrappers from last minute candles, flowers, ribbons, etc. Leftover fast food bags and soft drink cups do not add romance, love, or emotion to the “behind the scene” shots at a wedding.
  • Two: Look up and forward when walking down the aisle. It is fine to smile, cry, or look at someone in the crowd, but remember to pay a little attention to the photographer. Taking your time, pacing yourself, and looking down the aisle (toward your groom) or at the escort will yield the best results.
  • Three: Keep family and friend photographers and videographers at bay. I do not mind having them around or shooting whatever I pose. However, please ask them to speak with the professional photographer or the officiant about any restrictions at the location. Many officiants restrict flash photography and have limits on how close or where the photographer can stand. Also, unless they are supposed to be in the shot, please have them stay behind the photographer. Depending on the lens being used, the photographer may need to backup 5′ to 25′ to get the framing he is looking for. Even if you think you are out of the shot, if you are anything forward of the photographer, using a wide-angle lens, you will be in the way.
  • Four: Prolong the kiss! Some couples spend months getting ready for the big day, and then their first kiss is nothing but a peck. Pecks leave little or no time to get the shot. You should not slobber all over each, other but you will appreciate seeing pictures of (and we can all wait three seconds for) a real first kiss.
  • Five: Keep your hands exposed for ring shots. This one is a little more difficult to do, but try not to crowd up and stand 180 degrees opposite of each other if possible. If your back is to the audience then there is a good chance your back is to the photographer. (The alternative is to hire Obnoxious Photography, who will stand at the altar with you and put his lens three feet from your face.)
  • Six: Assign a family photo coordinator. There are several reasons for this. First, the photographer will not know everyone’s name and may not even speak the family’s native language. Second, the photographer will not know who is important to you. I have yet to meet a professional photographer who will work from a “shot list.” Without forcing the couple to pose, pose, pose and making everyone else wait, it is near impossible to get every named shot. Shot lists are NOT practical and do not result in genuine imagery, meaning they don’t show what happened at your wedding and don’t elicit special memories. If you have certain combinations of shots you want, a family photo coordinator is your best bet.
  • Seven: Minimize the number of formals and shoot them before the ceremony. That is, shoot them before you are hot, before you are tired, before everyone is waiting on you to party. Post ceremony, the more you shoot, the hotter you will get, the more irritated you will get, and the longer everyone will have to wait. Remember, albums full of formals are boring. Pick a select few and avoid taking a “formal” picture with every Uncle Bob in attendance.

Everyone won’t agree with all of these tips, and they won’t apply to all situations, but I assure you these time-tested tips will result in better and more special photos.