How to Get the Best Wedding Photos

January 21, 2021

“How to Get the Best Wedding Photos” by TONI G PHOTO.

How to Get the Best Wedding Photos

First of all… hire me haha jk but… really though, first & foremost…

make sure you find a great photographer! :)))

You definitely want to do your research & find a photographer that’s best suited to you & your style/personality! If you guys are more energetic/adventurous… there’s a photog for you. If you’re more soft spoken/shy… there’s a photog for you too. The wedding photographer that you pick will ultimately be sharing the biggest day of your life with you… so you want to make sure they’re someone fun, with good energy, & who you can be yourself/ comfortable around.

I’d recommend starting your search by asking your newly engaged or married friends if they know of any good photogs that they (or someone they know) had a good experience with! 

Then, take your search to insta! Look up your town’s (or your wedding venue’s) photographer hashtag (for example: “#FresnoWeddingPhotographer”) & see if there’s anybody who’s style AND personality you feel like you’d vibe with!

  • Check insta stories, highlights, captions, bio, guides, website, blogs — does this photographer seem friendly and helpful? Like they’ll work their hardest to make your day about YOU (& not them getting a “feature-worthy shot”)? Do you feel like this person could be your friend in real life? 
  • Check their posted photos + tagged photos… Do the couples in the photos look happy/comfortable? Do you like their editing style? Does it look like they’re able to photograph in all different types of lighting, situations, & locations? Do they post photos of REAL couples & not just styled shoots with models? 
  • And lastly, check their reviews on Yelp, Facebook, & Google Reviews!! Does this photographer’s past couples have great things to say about them? Does it seem like they had a good experience? Do you notice this photographer has taken photos of the same couple multiple times (meaning they keep coming back to them?)!! 

Search through literally everything you can find for hints at who they are as a person before reaching out :))) And of course, continue your vetting process AFTER you reach out — noticing things like if they’re still making you feel comfortable in conversation before booking! 

And if you stilllll haven’t found your dream photographer after searching through insta… then, I’d recommend taking your search to the good ‘ol faithful google search bar. :)))

Now that you’ve found your dream wedding photographer… let’s get back to the tips on:

HOW TO GET THE BEST WEDDING PHOTOS :)))

  1. Hire a Wedding Planner (or Day of Coordinator) 
  2. Getting Ready Photos 
  3. Decide if you Want a First Look or Aisle Look 
  4. Ceremony Tips 
  5. Have a List of Formal Family Photos 
  6. Sunset Portraits 
  7. RELAX + HAVE FUN! :)))

1) Hire a Wedding Planner (or Day of Coordinator) 

I promise you that your wedding day, the entire planning process, AND your photos will be sooo much better if you hire someone to be in charge of the details. They literally do this for a LIVING! Every single weekend they’re putting on these special days… so trust me when I say that they’re going to know all of the random little details that you would probably miss by thinking you need to do it all yourself.

Hiring a wedding planner (even if it’s just for day-of coordination) will keep your wedding party on track with the timeline + will reduce your stress by taking care of all of the things you don’t need to be worrying about! Plus, they will help you create a detailed timeline of the day… which tells your photographer exactly when/where they need to be places to best capture your special moments! :)))

My wedding planner recommendations:
@erikaamaliaevents + @agapegoldevents

2) Getting Ready Photos

At the beginning of your wedding day, you’ll either head to the venue’s “getting ready room” with your bridal party or you will all get ready at home (or a cute airbnb) + transport everyone over to the venue after hair/makeup is done. Both ways are fine! But make sure that the house or room you’re getting ready in has enough space for everyone, has enough natural light for amazing “putting on your dress” photos, & is free from clutter (to help both your mindset + the photos lol)!!

If you’re wanting some pretty “flay lay photos” to capture those invitation suites that you worked sooo hard on… then make sure that you prepare a box to bring to the getting ready room that’s ready to go when the photographer gets there. Other things to include in your flat lay might be: both wedding rings, shoes, jewelry, perfume, bouquet, vow books, custom jackets, anything you want photographed, etc.

A lot of brides will order matching robes or custom pj sets for these “getting ready photos” (that you can order from places like Etsy or Personalized Brides) + pop a bottle of champagne together!

And grooms tend to have matching socks (usually with sports team logos) + take pre-ceremony shots together!! :)))

You can also use this “getting ready time” to have someone run a little gift with a sweet “see you at the altar letter” over to the bride & groom from each other! A popular gift for grooms to give brides is a pretty piece of jewelry + a popular gift for brides to give the groom is either a fancy watch or some boudoir photos!! ;))) ***Hit up Hannah Gaul Photo if you need some done… she’s the GOAT!

3) Decide if you Want a First Look or Aisle Look

A “First Look” is a private moment between the couple where they can see each other for the first time before the ceremony (rather than the traditional “Aisle Look”) — Read this article for more info on a First Look versus the Aisle Look!! :)))

But the reason I add this in as a way to get the best photos is because…

1) the “first look” photos are adorable!! Getting to see the groom’s reaction to his bride up close & personal and just giving the couple a chance to be themselves before the hectic wedding day begins is magic + helps set the tone for the rest of the day!!

And 2) it helps your wedding day timeline!! Since the couple has already seen each other before the ceremony… you’re able to take all of the bridal party photos + most of the formal family photos BEFORE the ceremony! So after the ceremony, you’re able to get to your cocktail hour/party/reception quicker (rather than having to take more photos during that time). **again this is all explained more in this article here: “First Look or Aisle Look??”

4) Ceremony Tips

  • Try to pick a ceremony spot where the light will either be backlit or evenly in the shade (NOT just the girls in the shade + the boys in direct sunlight).
  • Consider having an “unplugged ceremony” where you have a sign up that suggests that guests put away their phones + just enjoy the moment! :))) (this is so you don’t have a bunch of iphones in your wedding photos)!
  • Please please please tell your bridal party that if they see a photographer taking their photo… to be mindful of their facial expressions lol! This should be a no-brainer… but honestly I feel like they just forget sometimes & you don’t want RBF in your ceremony photos lol!!
  • Remember to hold your first kiss a little longer than you think you should!! And you could also have your guests shoot off confetti canons or throw flower petals for extra cute “first kiss” photos! :)))

5) Have a List of Formal Family Photos

Okkk seriously the MOST heartbreaking thing that I hear all the time from brides who had a different photographer is that they never got a photo with their grandma or grandpa, etc + they’ve since passed away after the wedding — UGH MY HEART!! Please don’t let this happen to you!! :(((

The way to avoid this situation is to write a List of Formal Family Photos that you give to your photographer days or weeks BEFORE the wedding!! You wanna be as detailed as possible (adding their names) + make sure you allot enough time (before or after the ceremony) to get through all of the photos. **Depending on how big the family list is.. I normally allot at least 20-30 mins for these.

Example of Formal Family Photos List:

  • b/g, bride’s mom (Liz), bride’s dad (Bill), sister (Julie), grandma (Joan), + grandma (Harry)
  • b/g, bride’s grandma (Joan) + grandpa (Harry)
  • b/g, bride’s mom (Liz)
  • b/g, bride’s dad (Bill)
  • b/g, bride’s sister (Julie)
  • B. bride’s mom (Liz), bride’s dad (Bill) 
  • B, bride’s mom (Liz)
  • B, bride’s dad (Bill) 
  • B, bride’s sister (Julie)
  • b/g, bride’s immediate family (Liz, Bill, Julie, grandma) + groom’s immediate family
    **continuing with the groom’s family… + getting a big group shot with both sides of the new family!! :)))

When you’re creating this list, you also want to be mindful of the elderly (putting their photos first so they can go sit down) + any family tensions like divorces (just in case you need to keep certain people apart — you can put the someone first, have them dismissed to the cocktail party, then bring in the other).

You also want to make sure that the people on this list know AHEAD OF TIME to stick around for the photos. I can’t tell you HOW many times I (as the photographer) will be calling out a person’s name on the “Formal Family List” & they’ve already run off to grab a drink or go to the bathroom (ugh lol!!!)!

You only have a certain amount of time to get through all of these photos… so the people on the list need to know ahead of time to pay attention + stick around… otherwise they might not get their photo because your photographer will have to continue onto the sunset portrait photos!!

6) Sunset Portraits

This is sooo so important!! THESE are the photos that you’re going to print out & hang on your living room wall! THESE are the photos that you’ll want to post to insta & facebook & save as your phone wallpaper for the rest of your life lol! This is also just such a special time to take a breather, just be with each other, away from the crowd, & capture those dreamy lit photos that you’ve always dreamed of! :)))

Pleaaaseee make sure that you’re adding at least 15-20 minutes into your timeline AT SUNSET for couples portraits! This is normally right after your ceremony, bridal party photos, & formal family photos…. And right before your entrance to the reception! And your guests will be enjoying “cocktail hour” so don’t worry about them! Just enjoy each other & watch the sunset on your special day. :)))

7) RELAX + HAVE FUN! :)))

And at the end of the day, my biggest tip for the best photos is just to relax & have fun!! :)))

This is the biggest day of your life! Enjoy it! Don’t stress over the little things (that’s what a wedding planner is for!) + try to take as many moments as you can to just soak it all in! Everything will work itself out + your photos will be beautiful — so just ENJOY your special day! :)))

Hope this article on “How to Get the Best Wedding Photos” helps you, friend!

And always, if you have questions or want to book me as your wedding photographer — feel free to reach out! :))) xoxoxx

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