18 Wedding Photography Tips for Brides and Grooms

Planning a big event like a marriage can be really stressful. As wedding photographers, we’ve seen hundreds of other couples experience many of the same issues.

We’ve been married for five years now, so we know what it takes to plan a wedding. We’ve been through so much together, from our first meeting to our wedding day.

So, if you’re looking for tips on how to help sort out the photography issues at your wedding, here’s what we think would be helpful.

With these things in consideration, we’ve compiled some helpful wedding photography tips for brides (and grooms too).

With these tips, you’ll be able to better prepare for wedding photo shoots so they won’t be something you have to worry about.

There’s plenty to keep you busy already.

18 wedding photography tips for brides and grooms that will make your big day even more special

Are you looking forward to having your wedding photos taken? If yes, then these 18 tips will surely come in handy.

1. Pick the right wedding photographer – Someone that makes you feel comfortable is preferable

A key factor in successful wedding photography is finding the right photographer. It’s obvious but also vitally important to get it absolutely right.

Many people hire photographers they don’t really like because of budget constraints and even pressure from their families to choose a particular photographer.

As difficult as it may be when faced with situations like these, remember that marriage is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you’re able to connect with the photographer who takes your pictures, having them take some shots at your wedding will be far less stressful than if you had to figure out everything yourself.

2. Hire a wedding photographer with a good reputation and experience

photographic camera for wedding
Make sure you pick a wedding photographer with experience and a good eye for photos

You don’t just hire anyone to take photos; you need someone who knows what they’re doing.

Wedding photographers with an excellent reputation will be the ones that will do the best for you.

A proven track record of being friendly, approachable, and producing high-quality images for many different types of projects is very important.

One of the disadvantages of the wedding photography industry is that there are so many new people entering the market every day.

Many people who own cameras view them as something which provides a way for them to earn some extra money quickly, and to an extent they’re right.

However, beyond simply capturing beautiful images, a good photographer must be able to communicate through their photos.

Please understand that doesn’t necessarily imply that you cannot hire a newbie.

We’ve been there before. We even employed a relatively new photographer for our own wedding photos.

3. Consider hiring a team of wedding photographers

It’s always better to have two photographers than one.

There are several reasons why:

  • The main photographer has an assistant who helps him set up his camera equipment, coordinate with others for formal portraits, and so on.
  • It’s easier for two photographers to take better photos than one photographer alone.
  • You’ll get different perspectives from each photographer. One of the best things about working with two people taking pictures at an event is getting different views of the day.
  • The photographers can be in two locations at the same time — for example, he could be in one hotel room where the men are getting ready, and in another where the women are getting dressed.

4. Read the photographer’s contract and understand what comes with it

Before signing any contracts with the photographers, make sure you read them carefully before agreeing to their terms.

Don’t commit to signing something unless you fully understand it. This is important in any area of your life.

For wedding photography, don’t assume anything. If you’re not sure whether something has been agreed upon, ask for clarification.

The contract should have things like:

  • When will the photos be delivered
  • Additional fees that might be incurred
  • What additional items you will get (such as albums or prints etc.).

5. Make sure you and the photographers are on the same page and have a compatible personality

Ideally, you should spend some quality face-to-face meetings with your potential photographer before hiring them.

It could be a telephone call, video conference, or face-to-face meeting.

When you contact a professional, they usually want to meet with you first before anything in further detail.

It’s important for you to be ready with any questions you may have, concerns you might have, etc.

It’d be like going for an interview at a company. Keep in mind that the photographer may be looking at you, too!

Photographers are always looking out for ways to ensure that they are compatible with the client’s view and that they can provide services that are right for them.

Some things you should look out for when meeting with the photographer:

  • Is the photographer ready for the meeting?
  • Is the photographer really passionate about photography, or is it just his/her job?
  • Do they specialize in weddings, or do they do lots of different types of photo shoots?
  • Is the photographer effective at communicating?
  • It’s just basic stuff, really.

If you have any concerns, the best thing to do is to either clarify them or move on.

A successful photographer/client relationship is crucial for the success of the shoot on the wedding day.

Unlike most other wedding vendors, photographers will spend the majority of their time with you during the wedding. They will be “in your space” for most of the day.

You want someone who clicks well with you.

6. Be clear with your wedding photographer and communicate your needs

Communication is essential for having a good relationship with your photographer.

A good professional should initiate some conversation to get to learn more about their clients and their needs. They aren’t mind readers though.

At some point during the shoot, photography can become a deep, personal relationship between you and a professional photographer.

We’ve all been photographed in ways we didn’t think were flattering. Everyone gets self-conscious sometimes.

Great photography makes you look good even when you’re not feeling particularly attractive.

It’s important to tell your photographers anything they need to know if they don’t already know it.

Clients can, for example, request more images from a straight-on view rather than a side view because they feel uncomfortable posing for pictures from a side view.

7. Create a wedding timeline and try to follow it

Wedding timelines allow you to plan your wedding day from start to finish.

We’ve previously tried working with people who don’t use timelines for their weddings; however, it really didn’t work out well.

Sure, sometimes everything goes smoothly and there aren’t any major issues, but after shooting 20 weddings every year — we know for sure that if you don’t have a schedule, then there is a chance things will get out of control.

You should review your wedding timeline in coordination with your photographer.

This helps you establish an expectation for where people will be at any time.

We’ve also found that setting a timeline helps reduce stress for the wedding couple and their families and friends, so we recommend setting one.

8. Support each other, it is a wedding between two people, not just one

hands of a couple that just got married
A wedding is between two people, support each other and make this day great!

While the main purpose of this article is to help brides plan their weddings, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone when it comes to wedding plans.

We’ve found that the best weddings are created when both the bride and groom are on board and enthusiastic.

9. Don’t worry if the wedding doesn’t look as perfect as what you see on Instagram

Instagram can be an excellent source of wedding photography ideas for brides.

We’ve even checked it out from time to time just for new poses!

However, like any type of social media, it has its own set of challenges.

A wedding photographer usually cannot duplicate an image shot by another photographer.

There are so many different factors involved when creating images for social media or weddings.

A few factors are:

  • The couple
  • The venue and its surroundings
  • The weather on that specific day
  • Lighting, this can make or break any photo

Feel free to share your Instagram board with the photographer, but don’t be surprised if they don’t recreate exactly what you’ve shown.

10. Select a wedding venue that compliments your vision of the big day you want

If you’re looking at wedding photographer advice for brides, then it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve already selected a wedding venue.

However, it’s still worth noting that your choice of wedding venues is one of the most significant decisions for the big day.

If you’re serious about taking photographs, then making sure that the environment where you take them is conducive to good photos is crucial.

We’ve had amazing experiences shooting at venues that were just so photogenic that they made us feel awed from the moment we arrived.

It doesn’t mean that a photographer won’t be able to capture any photogenic spots.

However, some venues are just beautiful without any additional decoration.

Keep in mind that you’re always free to change venues if one doesn’t suit you. Ultimately, pick a place that suits you best!

11. Plan the time for your make-up and hair

Many women spend hours prepping their hair and applying their cosmetics before they head off for their big day.

As wedding photographers, we enjoy seeing the result of all this hard work.

However, one of the biggest setbacks we often face is rushing to get the bride into the wedding dress, take a few photos, and rush to the church.

We’ve experienced hair & makeup running over by an hour – completely wasting our clients’ valuable first look and portrait times.

Once you’ve established a time frame for your shoot, let your hair and make-up artist know when you’d like them to start working.

If you want to get everything done quickly, then you’ll need to set the expectations that all of that has to be done promptly. Otherwise, it could negatively affect your photo schedule.

12. Schedule the photographs for the best time of the day

wedding photo sunset
The best time of day for romantic wedding photos is during a sunset

To get really romantic-looking portraits, it’d be best to schedule some time for them during golden hour.

This is the time just before sunset when the sun is at its lowest point on the horizon.

It makes for a really soft and glowy-looking light.

On the best days, it’ll be accompanied by the colors of sunset like vibrant reds, pinks, and orange.

Even if it isn’t a good day for photography, it’s still a great time because the light is more diffused.

It’s really the best time to take pictures if you want them to look good.

While photographs can be taken anytime and be beautiful, photographs taken during Golden Hour cannot be replicated.

13. Remember that sometimes it will be uncomfortable, prepare for it

Even though wedding attires are often quite beautiful, they’re not always the most comfortable to wear or easy to move around in.

We’ve had some big weddings in our time and getting the bride to the perfect place for the perfect photo can sometimes be tricky.

With photos published in magazines and blog posts, no one really gets to see our hard work, the mountains we’ve climbed, the mud holes we’ve driven through, etc. You get the point.

Sometimes, taking the best possible photographs requires getting a little bit uncomfortable.

Don’t do anything you don’t want to do – but prepare for it ahead of time so you’re ready if the time comes.

14. Choose a limited amount of locations you would like the pictures to be taken

It can often seem like the more locations you have, the better the photos will be.

Diversity in your photos may help improve your wedding photo gallery, but it can also be detrimental if not done correctly.

Having too many ideas in your head means that you will spend more of your day running from place to place instead of enjoying the sights.

We recommend letting your photographer be aware of any specific areas you’d like them to take photos.

Next, let them choose any additional locations they want to visit!

15. Let the people at your wedding know when you will require pictures with them

Most people think of wedding photography as being mainly of the bride & groom themselves, but the truth is that the vast majority of the photos you get from a photographer will be of the couple’s guests.

It’s really important that you let the people know when they will be required for these photos.

Going back to that wedding planning timeline we discussed earlier, you should be certain to set a date for when these pictures are to be taken.

Most of the pictures taken of the people taken throughout the rest of the ceremony will be natural.

If there are any people who aren’t included in the formal group photos that you’d like a photo with, be sure to tell them so they can get their own pictures taken.

16. Plan for additional photography sessions after your wedding day

wedding photo outside
Plan for “Day after” photographic sessions so you can both have some calm time for beautiful pictures at other places of interest

On account of the fact that the marriage ceremony can be hectic, at times it may be simpler for the bride & groom to schedule another photo shoot so they can get some pictures taken together.

We often take pictures on the wedding day, but for some of our clients, we also do a “day after” session where they return to their wedding attire and we take more photos together.

These are some of our favorite shoots. Our couples leave us with an incredible sense of joy after reliving their wedding days like this.

17. Try and keep your expectations under control

As wedding photography professionals, one of our most important things to consider is ensuring that clients’ expectations are reasonable and realistic for their wedding day.

Sometimes brides get carried away. Sometimes it’s having so many special requests for images to be similar to those taken by Instagram.

Sometimes, it’s waiting for all portraits to be taken in five minutes.

It’s never wrong to ask. But, don’t just assume something can be achieved just because you asked.

However, it is up to the photographer to explain what is reasonable and what isn’t.

18. Let your wedding photographers do their thing

The last thing you need to know about photographing weddings is to trust your photographer.

If you were impressed by their photography skills after looking through their portfolios, then you should be confident that they’ll deliver quality results for you.

They will create work that you’ll be proud of for years to come.