Getting the best possible photos on your wedding day

Photography is an integral part of pretty much every wedding. After all, what couple wouldn’t want to document at least part of their special day. Some couples are fine having a relative or friend of the family snap photos while others hire a professional to get the job done right. With that being said, some photographers are better then others and depending on which one you hire, there are certain things you need to look out for in order to make sure your wedding photos turn out as best they can. Most of these tips can actually be applied well before your wedding, to some extent. So without further delay, here are some my favourite tips for couples to consider before their wedding day.

1. Time of day

When is your ceremony taking place? Is it in the wide open? Is there any shade? Is it outdoors?

These are all important questions for a variety of reasons. For instance, if you wedding is at high noon, where the sun is beating down from above, this can create unflattering shadows on just about everyone. This isn’t to say that flash can’t be used throughout the ceremony, but some weddings don’t allow it, and plus, if the photographer can’t get in close it may not even be possible. I know me personally, I like to hang back and get photos from a distance with a zoom lens. Shade can play a very integral role in capturing better lit photos during the ceremony. If, you think it may be sunny and the time of day isn’t ideal, then it might be a good option to have some form of shade, at least for the couple and the wedding party. 

This wedding had everyone. Rain, clouds and eventually a lot of sun and warm temperatures. For this particular shot, I got the girls to stand against one of the old sheds which was in the shade. Shade is a photographers best friend. It creates natural even light.

This wedding had everyone. Rain, clouds and eventually a lot of sun and warm temperatures. For this particular shot, I got the girls to stand against one of the old sheds which was in the shade. Shade is a photographers best friend. It creates natural even light.

2. How big is your wedding party?

I have had at least a few weddings where the wedding party was so large that it was struggle to get proper photos because the locations was so small. Obviously it is just a matter of moving everyone to a larger area but make sure you plan this in advance, especially if you are on a strict timeline. Some couples like to get very large shots of family and the wedding party and this is even more of a challenge depending on space. It can also take some time to organize and get all the combinations required. When you meet with your photographer of choice make sure you are upfront about how large your wedding party is, and if you plan on getting a lot of different family combinations. This will go a long way in planning the timing of the day. I find it works best to do all the family photos first and then work your way down to the wedding part and finally the bride and groom. That way,  family members, especially older ones, aren’t waiting around the entire time.

With only 8 total people, this wasn't the largest wedding party I ever shot but it was important to find a large enough area for them to fit. Another bright sunny day with no shade, I moved them to open area with trees for shade. Not only was it cooler for everyone but it allowed for much better lighting.

With only 8 total people, this wasn't the largest wedding party I ever shot but it was important to find a large enough area for them to fit. Another bright sunny day with no shade, I moved them to open area with trees for shade. Not only was it cooler for everyone but it allowed for much better lighting.

3. Does your wedding attire go with your surroundings?

It’s really easy to choose a nice colour scheme for you and your wedding party but don’t forget about how everyone will look during the portraits and even the ceremony. If you plan on getting everyone out to the local park and getting photos done with trees in the background, it probably doesn’t make much sense to have green dresses. Ok, I have yet to have a wedding couple choose green as their colour choice but, trust me, I have seen some ‘different’ choices. For instance, if you are going with purple or something bold like that, make sure you choose your portrait locations accordingly. If you have no choice in the matter, a simple solution to this is to have your photographer convert the images to black and white. I am a huge fan of black and white and I often convert a lot images to black and white at no extra cost, but some couples only like colour. 

Knowing tha we would eventually be going to the local park, Erika and Daniel chose a muted colour scheme for their attire and it worked wonderfully. It really complimented their surroundings.

Knowing tha we would eventually be going to the local park, Erika and Daniel chose a muted colour scheme for their attire and it worked wonderfully. It really complimented their surroundings.

4. Be prepared for the weather

I don’t know how many weddings I have shot where it is either extremely hot or quite cold. Either way, it can make for some uncomfortable and rushed photos. There was October wedding I did this past year where the ceremony was indoor and then we had the portrait session at the local marsh. It was a great backdrop and the photos turned out amazing but the bride was wearing her dress the whole time, in below 0 weather. She was a real trooper but near the end of the session you can really see it in her expression that she was cold. Luckily we got through the photos quick and got her warm as soon as we were done. So, a jacket goes a long way or keeping a warm car nearby to jump into is another solution. On the opposite end, on extremely hot days, bring an umbrella, make sure there are areas of shade around or take breaks in an air conditioned house. 

This was that cold October day I discussed above. Like I said, she was a real trooper but even I was cold. To Ryan's credit he did offer his jacket up a few times. 

This was that cold October day I discussed above. Like I said, she was a real trooper but even I was cold. To Ryan's credit he did offer his jacket up a few times. 

5. Be upfront with your photographer

I have heard of many different instances of a photographer getting the ‘bride from hell’, or something to that extent. I have yet to have that problem, or anywhere close to that. Part of the reason is because I always make sure I communicate with the bride and groom. Not just about scheduling for the day, but also what kind of shots they are looking for specifically. Many just tell me that it’s completely up to me to work my magic which is fine. Others bring examples of photos they have seen from other weddings. Now, I have my ow style, and I’m not going to copy another photographer but if your photographer has and idea of what you are looking for going in, then this ensures that you get the shots you want. Except it will be with their own personal style. Which, after all, is what you are paying them for. When both parties are on the same page, it makes for a much smoother wedding day. 

These are but a few examples of what I have encountered over the years. If anyone has anything to add please feel free to comment below. In the end, if you are truly enjoying your wedding day, those emotions will come through. It’s just a matter of capturing them properly with a camera!