Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How to get great wedding images

I came accross this this posting by RD Decker, a photographer in North Carolina, and thought it was great! I've modified it a little bit and added some of my own suggestions for getting great wedding photos.

  • Hire a Wedding Planner/Designer. What does this have to do with great photos? Stress...or lack thereof! I've seen lots of brides fall behind in their schedule and become a ball of nerves because they are directing the centerpiece placement, doing last minute flower details, managing the cake delivery, etc. Your images will turn our beautiful if you are the most relaxed possible. The expense associated with a Wedding Planner is well worth the peace of mind!
  • Schedule an enagement session. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with wedding day images too! Truth be told, an engagement session not only results in some great images that you might want to use to build a custom guest sign-in book out of, but it allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera. It also gives both you and the photographer a chance to learn how to work together. When the big day comes around you’ll be more at ease while having your photos made.
  • Include time for a “photo walk.” This is a 30 to 60 minute period before your reception during which we make those romantic shots that everyone loves so much. This session is restricted to the newlyweds and the photographer only. It is a nice little period when the couple can relax and catch their breath and the photographer can create some intimate photos of the two of them.
  • If you want to do your bride and groom portraits before the wedding, schedule a “first glance” moment. Trust me, you want a photo of the two of you when you first see each other. While tradition often insists that the bride and groom don’t see each other prior to the ceremony on their wedding day, doing bride and groom portraits before the ceremony is becoming increasingly popular. This moment is simply the first 5 minutes when you first see each other and are frequently some of the most emotional and meaningful images of the day.
  • Allow a realistic time frame for all you have planned for getting ready, then add an extra hour for cushion. You will want to cherish every moment of your day, and so will the family and friends that will be with you getting ready. Getting ready can, and should, take a long time on the wedding day. If your dress has fancy button or lace up closure, allow for extra time! When you hire your make-up and hair professionals, ask them about their time needs. Allow for adequate time for travel between salons too!
  • Do a trial run with your hair and make-up. You'll want to look perfect on the day of your wedding and a trial run allows you to experiment with different looks before the wedding.
  • Try to be on time. When weddings get far off schedule stress levels climb. Very few weddings run exactly on time, but they can be pretty close. A little pre-planning is all it takes. However, if things do run a little slow don’t get too stressed out about it. Everything will work out fine.
  • Plan sufficient time for group portraits. Weddings are one of those special times when entire families come together. Not surprisingly, everyone wants to take advantage of the opportunity to make some family portraits. But you need to plan accordingly. If you’re not careful these sessions can eat up way too much time and put you off schedule. As a general rule plan on about five minutes for each grouping you want shot. Keep in mind that the photographer has no idea who everyone is. Be sure to put someone in charge of getting the groups together that knows all, or at least most of the primary people.
  • Relax and have fun. It’s your day. It’s your party. Don’t obsess over seeing every guest at your reception to the point of missing it all yourself. Also don’t be afraid to delegate tasks throughout the day. After all, that’s what bridesmaids are for. It’s their job to “attend” to the bride. The less you have to worry about and the more you relax and enjoy the day, the better your photos will look.
  • During your first dance LOOK AT ONE ANOTHER! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Relax and enjoy each other. Forget about the photographer, the videographer, the guests… be as romantic as you please. The same applies to other special dances… father/daughter… mother/son. These are special moments too. Don’t hesitate to look at Mom or Dad.
  • Coordinate key events with the photographer and your Master of Ceremony. If you’re planning any special events such as a bouquet toss, cake cutting, garter toss, etc., make sure your photographer gets a “heads-up”.
  • Trust me! I may see something that inspires me, a doorway, a sunset, a tree with a certain twist, or maybe there is a cute swing in the back of the church that matches your personality, whatever the case, I may ask you to satisfy my creative urge. Please let me photograph this moment...these are usually the images the couples like best!

I’m sure there are a lot of things that could be added to this list, but I think these are some of the most important. As a wedding photographer I’m there to make you look your best and to create a nice documentary of your wedding day. Hope this helps!

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