Want beautiful photos of your wedding day that will last a lifetime? Check out these top tips
By Liz Petoniak
So you found the “one,” but have you found the “other one?” We’re talking about your wedding photographer! Choosing a photographer for your big day is a big commitment. Your wedding photos are meant to last forever, to be framed in your home, and passed down through generations. Here, you’ll find inspiration and tips to ensure your photos will be as beautiful as your memory of the day.
Tiffany Boarts & Tim Stewart
“Though Tiffany and Tim live in California, they traveled back to Pennsylvania for their elegant wedding at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa. This shot was my favorite because we captured the glow of sunset just before it hit the top of the building. Not to mention, their genuine, loving expressions toward each other just make this photo perfect.” — Autumn Stankay, Skysight Photography
- Plan on getting up-lighting from your DJ or venue. The background of your reception photos will be washed with beautiful color, which enables a photographer to give some interesting effects to your photos.
- Arrange back-up locations in the case of bad weather. And, don’t forget an extra large black umbrella, big enough to fit you, your hubby, and your entire dress under!
- Check the scheduled time for sunset, and plan 10 minutes around that time of your day to go outside with your photographer, wherever you are, even if it’s during dinner. It will be worth it!
- Wear a strapless bra or none at all, if possible, for at least 30 minutes prior to putting your dress on to avoid indent lines on your shoulders during your bridal portraits.
Sarah Boyce & Jesse Thomas
“We are always looking for great light and unique compositions to create a signature image for each couple. Sarah and Jesse were married at the fabulous St. Clair Country Club, and we took a few moments on the tee at twilight to create this wonderful image. We love this photo because the club is important to Sarah and Jesse, and their family, and they will spend many married years together here as their family grows.” — Robin Pesa and Brenda Daugherty, Bellissima Photographers
ROBIN AND BRENDA’S ADVICE
- If you are uncomfortable in front of a camera, an experienced photographer should put you at ease and give you the confidence to look your best. Turning the shoulders at an angle to the camera, or slightly tilting the head always helps people look more photogenic. Let your photographer know if you are self-conscience about something; they know how to make you look amazing.
- Hiring a professional makeup artist is important because they can create a flawless look. So, say yes to false eyelashes! The camera sees things differently.
- Grooms always look great if they have a detail that really stands out and expresses their personality. Whether it’s the color or the style of his tie, a unique, organic boutonniere, or surprising socks, photographs will record the reasons she chose him.
Frankie Gonzalez & Matthew Reitz
“This photo was shot on the stairs of the Mellon Institute in Oakland. I loved the drama of Frankie’s dress and veil, and was amazed by the natural dynamic between the two. It was like they were in their own little world.” — Lyndsey Piccolino, Photography by Lyndsey
- “My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you have a connection with your photographer. When you really click with them, the relationship moves beyond a vendor and more to a friend. I have found this to be key in really connecting with my brides and providing photos with the most natural and genuine expressions,” says Piccolino.
Diana Valli & Michael Slezak
“Diana’s blush-colored Monique Lhuillier [gown] was smashing! What I remember the most about shooting this image was the crazy-cold weather. With temperatures below freezing, we could only shoot for a few seconds before having to run inside to thaw. To look at Diana and Mike, though, you would never know it! They wanted to keep going!” — Cyndi Araujo, Araujo Photography
- “Personal references are one of the best ways to find the right photographer, and the best wedding photographers start booking dates a year or more in advance. If pictures are an important part of your wedding day, consider allocating a significant portion of your budget to finding the right one for you. The importance of having an experienced photographer who produces beautiful, lasting wedding pictures on a consistent basis cannot be overstated. They should be able to smoothly handle unforeseen lighting and weather challenges, last-minute timeline changes, equipment malfunctions, etc. At the same time, they have to be marvelously and effortlessly creative! Beautiful photographs are priceless. It may be the best investment you make,” says Tony Araujo.
Kate Mandock & Clarence Lin
“This image of Kate and Clarence speaks romance! Her dress is gorgeous, the lighting was perfect, she is beautiful, and they are so obviously in love! This image was taken between their dual ceremonies at Heinz Chapel and Phipps Conservatory. It is natural, relaxed, and beautiful.” — Dianne Welsh, Dianne Adrian Photography
- When meeting with a potential photographer, it is essential to view all of the images from a few weddings. Pay attention to what was photographed and the quality of the images.
- Don’t purchase a photography package with the image files only unless you have the computer programs, knowledge, and time to create wedding books and retouch images for wall portraits. Otherwise, the files will just sit on your computer forever!
- It’s important to have a photographer and assistant. The way I work, we may shoot together, but we use different lens and different perspectives. It’s amazing that everyone sees the same image differently and that’s a bonus for you!
Molly McBryan & Chris Nemeth
“This was the first moment alone for the newly married couple. They had just walked down the aisle and went outside on the chilly, rainy November afternoon. An emotional Chris grabbed Molly; it was their first ‘real’ moment alone — until she noticed my camera was upon them. ” — Suzanne Bobosky, Suzanne Bobosky Photography
- “If you do not have a wedding coordinator, your photographer will most likely be the one who helps schedule your day accordingly. You are paying a bundle for photos, so be sure to allow enough time to capture all the ones you want and the image you just have to take — like the formal images with family members traditionally done at the altar. Adding more time to the day is always a plus!” says Bobosky.
SUZANNE’S DETAILED TIMELINE
2 hours for getting ready before the ceremony
1-2 hours for the ceremony
1 hour for receiving line or releasing of guests
1 hour for formal portraits
1 hour for travel
1 hour at photos at park or other location
1-2 hours for travel and freshening up before start of reception
20 minutes after arrival to freshen up and talk to DJ
5 minutes for intro
15 minutes for toast
5 minutes for blessing
1 hour for dinner
10 minutes for cake cutting
30 minutes for first dances
30 minutes for open dancing
15 minutes for tossing of the bouquet and garter
Any leftover time is for dancing!