Tips for Great Wedding Portraits
Work together with your photographer both before and during the wedding to achieve lasting, beautiful photos.
Many couples agonize over the perfect reception site, wardrobe and menu for their wedding, but then casually choose a photographer without properly checking their experience and previous work.
Beware that this methodology could leave you with substandard wedding albums and photos you wish you could forget. That's why it is important to thoroughly work with your wedding photographer to ensure you have beautiful photos that will last a lifetime.
Finding a Photographer
Just as you visited several reception sites and auditioned countless bands or DJs for your event, so should you make a list of several photographers to get a feel for what services are offered.
Have an idea of what types of photos you'd like, e.g. traditional portraits, photojournalistic candids, black- and-white or hand-tinted special effects. Keep these requirements in mind when interviewing photographers. Here are other tips to heed:
Know Who Will Shoot Your Wedding: Make sure the photographer you speak with and whose work meets your standards will actually be the person shooting your wedding. Some companies farm out work to freelancers, resulting in a complete stranger knocking at your door come the big day. Put the name of your requested photographer in your contract so you have a legal leg to stand on should a "bait and switch" scenario occur.
Determine What's Included: Check to see what services are included in the photo package and what requires an additional charge. Sometimes black-and-white photography or special graphic touches are an extra charge.
How Much Time? Find out how much time the photographer will spend with you, namely if the fee includes all-day coverage. Can you get shots taken before the ceremony at your home?
Travel Expenses: Make sure you won't have to incur costs for the photographer's travel expenses, especially if your ceremony and reception are at different sites.
Back-up Policies: Question their policy for emergency situations, such as if a backup camera is available if one breaks, or where they store the film before your photos are processed. You want to feel relatively safe that the large amount of money being spent will not be lost should a disaster occur.
Will There Be An Assistant? Find out if the photographer works alone or with an assistant. It is customary to provide a meal for your wedding vendors, so you'll want to plan accordingly.
Before the Wedding
Schedule Enough Time: Consider making the photography process easy for the photographer and for you to help ensure quality photos. Schedule a decent amount of time between the ceremony and reception for a photo session. You don't want to rush your photos and end up with poor shots.
Also, take the time to make a list of any important photos you would like. Most professional photographers are seasoned veterans and take a standard line-up of shots. If you have a request, discuss it with the photographer in advance. Some special shots you may want to include:
-- All of the bridesmaids together
-- Bride with each bridesmaid
-- Bride/groom with parents separately
-- Combined family shots
-- Photo with favorite pet
-- Separate shot of siblings
-- Separate shots of grandparents and extended family members
-- Photos of the guests at tables
-- Centerpieces, cake alone and scenery without people. Let family members know that they will be in special photos so that they are ready for the photographer's signal come wedding day.
The Big Day
Remain Calm: Try to remain calm during your wedding day so you will look relaxed and happy in your photos.
Be Punctual: Make sure the wedding party is punctual and cooperates with the photographer to facilitate the process.
Limit Alcohol Before Main Portraits: Try to limit drinking alcoholic beverages until after the bulk of the portrait-style photos have been taken so that you don't end up with an unruly and overly gregarious wedding party who can't stand still and say cheese.
Delegate: Put someone in charge of rounding up family and friends who will be participating in photos. This way, the process goes on without a hitch and you don't miss your entire wedding beneath that scenic gazebo.
Party Time: Similarly, tell the photographer when you feel you've had enough posing and are ready to be the life of the party.