After the busiest wedding season I’ve ever had, I have been taking some time to review. To make lists of things I want to improve upon for this new year, & goals I would like to set for myself and my business. One other thing I am doing, is taking the experiences from this year and seeing what I have learned. It has been a great year. It also has had some challenging moments, but from challenges I have learned how to be a better wedding photographer & business woman.
Here are a list of the Top 5 things I think will help ENSURE that you end up with wonderful wedding photos.
1.) Realistic Expectations
Weddings are incredibly unique. As unique as the bride and groom. Each day is created by a different couple with unique details. Venue, time of year, time of day, the look of a wedding dress, and color of flowers. They all are a puzzle piece to a beautiful celebration created just for you.
I have yet to walk in to a wedding that I had “seen before”, and I LOVE that part of my job. I love that Kyle and I get to photograph your wedding day in a fresh light. We try to come into a wedding with a blank canvas in our mind. It is our job to take photos to give you the best representation of how beautiful your day is.
With that in mind, know that your wedding photos are going to be as unique as your wedding!
I have some couples with drastically different heights. And others where the bride and groom are the same height. When posing, some poses might look better on people who are the same height while others would be better suited for a tall groom and petite bride. Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas and inspiration, but before you have your heart set on a pose or a photo, remember that there are so many different variables that all contribute to a beautiful photo.
…..But Kelsey, “You can just photoshop that, right?”
Well technically, I could try to add unicorns into every photo using Photoshop, but it’s not going to change the fact that there were no actual unicorns at your wedding. The same goes for physical altering. I will do my very best to pose clients in a way that is flattering to their body-type. When I give you the final photos, I want you to have a beautiful but accurate representation of the wedding day. Yes, your photos will be edited! Exposure adjusted, white balance perfected, cropped to be frame worthy. But I do not rely on editing to create beautiful images. Kyle and I are MAINLY photographers, and SECONDARILY photo-editors. It is our job to create beautiful images in-camera, and just add the final touches while editing.
Which brings me to the next point…
2.) Trust Your Photographer
Nothing allows me to be more creative than trust. When a client trusts me, I am able to feel confident. To do my very best to ensure that the bride and groom have the best photos possible. When I feel confident, I think outside the box and end up shooting photos that are creative, unique, and fun.
I would say that over 70% of what makes a good photo is lighting. Properly lit photos are like winning the jackpot. Trusting us to not only pose you, but to position you in flattering light will ensure that the end result is frame-worthy. If there is an area that my clients would like to be photographed, I will do my best to accommodate! However, if the sun is directly in your eyes it might be best to choose a different location until the sun has moved and is no longer blinding.
I also LOVE when a bride is an open communicator. When I laugh, 8 out of 10 times, I have a double chin. By telling my photographer that I was insecure about this, she was a rockstar and reminded me not to pull my face in while laughing. The end result was me LOVING the candid photos of us laughing. If you prefer a side of your face, or don’t love your nose, feel free to COMMUNICATE! If a bride doesn’t love her profile, I will keep that in mind while posing. We want you to love your photos and a little communication goes a long way!
3.) Take Time to Enjoy Your Day
How easy is it to spot when your best friend is upset. Stressed. Anxious. Easy? Yes. Because the more you know someone, the easier it is to read someone.
Let’s just say for a minute, that the camera is your best friend. It reads you. It can see when you are having fun. Or when you are stressing out. There is a definite difference between a real smile and a forced smile.
I always suggest allowing more time for photos before the ceremony than after. I also would suggest scheduling your hair and makeup appointments earlier than you think you would need to. Hair and makeup are very important because what happens with those two things will be in all of your photos. Instead of feeling rushed and stressed, give yourself 45 more minutes than you think you would need. If you are done early, you will get to have a minute to sip some champagne and breathe! By doing this, your portraits will not feel rushed and if there are any minor schedule changes, you will be able to go with the flow without rearranging the schedule of the day.
Also, allow yourself time to take photos of what matters most to YOU. With Kyle & I, we knew that we wanted to have a large amount of photos of him and I, But I also wanted to set time aside for a first look with my dad. Instead of having our photographer staying through all of the open dancing during the reception, I allotted more of our time at the beginning of the day to capture what mattered to us.
4.) Spend your Money on what is most important to YOU.
If photos are something that matter to you, I would recommend choosing a photographer that you *click* with. Choose a photographer who’s photos you are drawn to. The style of the poses, colors, composition. Choose a photographer who you WANT to spend a whole day with. Who you trust, and who’s photos you LOVE looking at.
Experienced photographers have had time to develop and master their “style” of photography. I am a natural light photographer that specializes in bright, snuggly images. I am not a dark and moody photographer, and I am okay with that! When you look on my blog/website, you see bright, natural, snuggly images which is exactly what you will end up with. By choosing a photographer who’s style you are drawn to, you are ensuring that your photos will already be along the lines of what you want.
5.) Love YOUR details.
Kyle and I had things that were very important to us on our wedding day. But there were also things that we knew were not our top priority. We wanted a venue that would accommodate everyone comfortably & was brightly lit, food that would be delish, decor that would be beautiful and practical, and beautiful photos that we would want to frame.
The most important thing is that YOU feel like your wedding is a reflection of you. Because those are the details that will be captured in your photos. Don’t feel pressured to make your wedding something that you don’t love. Wedding magazines, Pinterest, & checklists can be great tools when planning, but I also think that they put an expectation on brides to have certain things at their wedding. If something you read or see doesn’t sound like something you want at your wedding, that’s okay.
If you want it to be casual, DO IT! If you want to walk down the aisle with your mom AND your dad. DO IT! If you want your bridesmaids to wear different colored dresses, or to have no bridesmaids, DO IT! If you want a wedding with just 30 people or one with 350 people, DO IT!
We told our bridal party that they could pick their own dresses/suits, and shoes. We don’t care for cake, so we had a donut bar. And instead of paying for favors, we spent $$ on extra donuts for our guests to take home with them. We didn’t do “Save-The-Dates” but spent a little more $$ on our invitations. And since I don’t love most dress shoes, I went barefoot down the aisle and during our ceremony/reception.
At the end of the day, your photos aren’t going to lie. They are going to help remind you of all the wonderful, hilarious, emotional, beautiful moments on your wedding day. So make sure the details in the photos are things that you and your husband love and want to spend forever looking at and remembering!
To Wrap Things Up…
Your wedding is going to be fabulous. Full of details that are uniquely YOU. The best way to make sure you love your photos is to have things you love at your wedding & a photographer you trust to capture those details. I will tell you what I tell every bride the day before her wedding.
“It’s all going to work out. It’s all going to be beautiful. You have spent months planning this day, and now you get to enjoy it. Trust your friends and family to take care of the to-do lists and BREATHE. If you forgot something, that’s fine! Nobody will know except for you.”
Happy Planning, Lovely!