Tips and tricks to get AMAZING wedding photographs!
So, you’re getting married (congratulations!), and everything is in place for the big day ahead; You’ve got a beautiful venue, you’re marrying your best friend, you’ve got the dress you’ve always dreamt of, all of your nearest and dearest are preparing to spend the day with you, and you’ve hopefully booked a photographer whose work you love…
For many couples however, your wedding day is quite possibly the first time that you’ve experienced working with a professional photographer, and/or being in front of the camera! I’ll be the first to admit that having your photo taken can potentially be a daunting prospect, but by following a few tips I have put together for you below, you should be able to relax and be safe in the knowledge that the photos you receive afterwards are going to be perfect!
I’m Kayleigh Adams, and I have been a professional photographer for several years, and have had the pleasure of capturing many, many, beautiful weddings. Based on my knowledge and experience, I have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t and how the smallest details can make the day flow better for both you and your guests.
Firstly, forget about the camera!
You both need to enjoy the day and in the most polite way possible, forget about your photographer and his/her cameras! I personally specialise in a very natural form of wedding photography means that your day is never ruled by your photography. Don’t overthink either – the best photographs of you will be when you’re feeling relaxed, comfortable and natural. Enjoy the moments that you’re going to reflect on for the rest of your lives.
It’s not natural for most people to display affection in front of a camera but if you let go, after the first ten minutes you’ll forget I’m there. If you are super shy we can go somewhere quiet first during your ‘couples shots’ to get you comfortable in front of the camera. In my job and with my experience I have to be quite confident, which means that audiences don’t really phase me, but I totally understand if you don’t feel comfortable in that scenario. We can work on locations you are happy with to make you feel as relaxed and as comfortable as possible. Most importantly remember to smile, laugh and enjoy the moment! I can assure you, nothing is more beautiful.
Consider an ‘unplugged wedding’
You might want to consider politely asking your guests to not take photos during the ceremony (you can do so in the order of service, a sign at the entrance to the venue or ask your vicar/officiant to mention it at the beginning of the service). Guests holding up mobile phones/tablets/cameras as you walk down the aisle, or flashes going off throughout the ceremony are only going to be distracting for you and other guests, and/or ruin the professional shots. You have employed your photographer to capture the best possible images of your wedding and that is exactly what they are going to do, so think whether you really want or need friends and family to take photos themselves.
Take your time during that all important ‘walk down the aisle’.
On your wedding day, walking down the aisle is a very special and poignant moment. Often, brides can be nervous and naturally rush to meet their patient groom, so my advice is to allow your bridal party to walk down the aisle before you, with a good space in between them, and seat themselves. Then, leaving enough time afterwards to ensure the aisle is clear, you should listen to the music you have chosen to walk to, take your time, smile and enjoy it! No matter how long the aisle is, walk slowly! It may seem really slow, but it will allow your photographer to take more pictures and it will also give your guests (and future husband/wife) more time to admire you. Also remember to LOOK UP, as you really won’t want your photographs to show you looking down at your feet! The same applies once you are married; It is often best for your bridal party to wait until the bride and groom have completed their journey back down the aisle as husband and wife, before they start to leave. This means that your photographs won’t be cluttered or ‘photo-bombed’ by the bridal party and guests! With this being said, if you don’t get time to remember all of this in the moment, just walk slowly, smile and enjoy!
Group shots – keep the list short!
I am almost positive that on your wedding day, you don’t really want to be standing around for hours on end for group photos. Am I right? I’m sure that you would much rather be chatting to friends and family, enjoying their company and getting candid shots of guests enjoying themselves. Most photographers are happy to do a few group shots (after all, it’s difficult to get everyone there all in one place again!), but I always ask my couples to keep them to a minimum. A maximum of ten individual group shots is a good number, as it means we can get through them quite quickly to allow everyone to relax and enjoy the rest of the day. Obviously these photographs are important, but without knowing it, they can take up a huge chunk of your day. I usually try and get a big group photo of
everyone you have at the wedding, as you then have at least one image that documents everyone that you had there. For the shots of bridesmaids/groomsmen, I tend to look for different locations and backdrops to give you some variety in your final wedding album.
Rain?! So what!
If it rains, it rains. Is it going to completely ruin your wedding day or is it going to mean less? I’m pretty sure the answer is NO, so my advice if it’s windy/rainy/snowy is to just embrace it! Why not consider buying some umbrellas, or having some colourful wellies on hand? This way we can head outside and get some great ‘rainy day’ shots. This has happened to me so many times, and I can assure you, my couples always love their rainy day pictures!
Take some time out
On a wedding day, sadly I often see the couple spending a lot of the day apart and only potentially coming together for the ceremony, wedding breakfast, couple portraits and the first dance. Sad but true! That means that potentially, out of a whole day you’ll probably only see each for about three hours. If you can, try to spend more time together while socialising, you’ll also get more natural shots together which I promise you will love. Something that I do at every wedding I photograph, is to spend some time away from the main wedding party, and take you on a little stroll around the venue and gardens, to take some beautiful photographs of just the bride and groom together. This is a really nice period of time as it’s very often one of the only quiet moments for you both throughout the day! I try to spend no longer than 20-30 minutes taking these photographs as I really don’t want to keep you from your guests. With that being said, these photos are probably going to be the ones you will want to frame, give to friends and use as thank you cards. The more time you give, the better the results will be, so think about this when you are planning the timings for your day.
It’s all about the light!
Be aware of where the light is; Ideally, stand with the sun behind you as it creates a lovely, naturally luminous effect. Additionally, take pictures in open shade as sometimes full sun can cause you to squint, while dappled shade makes skin look patchy. So much to think about right!? Don’t worry, your photographer will advise you where is best to stand for the perfect shot.
Also note that the best time of day to take outdoor photos is just before a sunset. Known as ‘golden hour’, this is when you can expect those gorgeous, hazy, romantic shots. For indoor shots, stand near windows as the light will pour in giving you naturally lit portraits. If you don’t have many windows, consider bringing in lighting or lots of candles.
Confetti always makes a beautiful photograph, and it’s a tradition that I try to get all of my couples to include on their wedding day if possible. Some venues can be a little strict about where and what kind of confetti you can have (e.g., biodegradable or fresh petals), but this is another thing to find out from the registrar/vicar/coordinator prior to the wedding. If you are going to do confetti, make sure that your guests have enough for a big handful or two, because it’s so true that the more confetti thrown, the better the shot will be. I usually try to mention this before everyone throws it, but ideally the confetti needs to be thrown as high as possible, rather than at you, to create a beautiful fluttering effect – I can promise that you definitely won’t want it thrown at your faces! Also consider the colour and type of confetti if you are providing it yourselves – in my experience I would suggest that the paper confetti tends to work best.
Some of the best confetti shots happen when the bride and groom stand still, and everyone crowds around and throws the confetti at the same time (I usually do a countdown for everybody). Alternatively your guests can stand in two lines facing each other, and you can walk down the middle (like another aisle almost), whilst everyone showers you with pretty, fluttering confetti! If there is enough confetti for a second go, it’s very useful to make sure the perfect shot is captured (and for you, it’s fun to be showered with confetti again, right!?). Also remember that confetti isn’t going to hurt you! – try to keep your eyes open and smile to ensure your confetti shots are absolutely gorgeous!
Speeches (this is one for the boys!)
Speeches can put the fear of God into people! Sometimes the groom, Father-of-the-Bride or best man can be worrying about this all day. My advice is, DON’T! The people that you will be speaking in front of are your nearest and dearest, and the people that you have requested to be with you on this special day. No-one there wants you to fail or make a fool of yourself, so make notes or even write out what you want to say beforehand, and I promise you will be fine! If there are any surprises planned during the speeches (eg. if the best man has a slideshow of embarrassing photos of the Groom), let your photographer know in a private message or email before the wedding day so they can be in the right place at the right time.
Your first dance as newlyweds!
When it comes to the first dance, couples can be a bit shy – you shouldn’t be! The first dance is all about you two so enjoy the moment; stare longingly into each others eyes, give your new husband/wife a big hug, even do some twirling! I love those moments. Again, if you have a surprise up your sleeve (e.g., the lift Johnny and Baby do at the end of Dirty Dancing!), please let your photographer know beforehand so they can have the right lenses and be poised and ready for action!
Just be yourselves!
Lastly, and probably most importantly, be yourselves! Don’t worry about where your photographer is, or whether you’re smiling or not – Your photographer will be moving around and snapping for the whole day. When you are shown the images once they’ve all been edited and made ready for you, I can almost guarantee that there will be lots in there that you won’t have even known were taken! Real smiles, tears and emotions make beautiful photographs; just enjoy every moment, and let your photographer creatively capture the story of your wedding day.
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like any advice, have any queries or wish to have a chat with me about how I can capture your wedding day! I can’t wait to hear from you!
Photos and advice by Kayleigh Adams Photography
Find Kayleigh on Guides For Brides! ❤️
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