As a photographer, people are always asking me what they can do to help make get great wedding photos on their wedding day. Here are my answers:
1) Invest in lighting. Good lighting can completely transform an atmosphere. Adding some additional light or changing the light in the room will help give your photos a lot of additional visual interest. The best thing about investing in lighting is that you can get a lot for a very good price. Something as simple as tea lights on the table will help you add some depth and interest to your wedding photos. And there are tons of different ways to add light – it really doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
Nicole & Jeff hung some lights in fabric from their reception ceiling which gave some great ambient light on their first dance.
Kari & Landon had colored spotlights on the stage for the first dance which gave me the chance to create a few first dance portraits with some interesting light.
Marie & Dan actually had lights put behind their head table. Those lights, along with the tea light candles on the tables, gave this warm glow to the reception as the daylight went down. Here is what that looked like when it was first set up:
Lynne & Rob added a few Christmas lights to the poles at their reception. These small lights makes this picture more interesting than just some plain poles – they make the poles look pretty!
I even added some additional light to my own wedding (photos by my wedding photographer – amazing Dallas Photographer Stacy Reeves). I got some white paper bags and flameless tealights from the dollar store to light up the walk-way to my receptions which cost me all of $5. And then I want some additional light for the actual wedding reception dance so I got some paper lanterns from Ikea and some flameless lights. I wanted white lights but couldn’t find any so I went with the red ones (the only color I could find enough of). That cost me less than $30 and I love the the effect the light created in all my dance photos.
2) Plan to do some wedding photos before the ceremony.You are going to get married and then you are going to want to do the happy I-just-go-married dance. You won’t really feel like taking a few hours to get photos. That is why I always I recommend that you plan to do some photos BEFORE the ceremony. I suggest planning to to do the separate girl/guy pictures (bride, bride with bridesmaids, singles of the bridesmaids / groom, groom with groomsmen, singles of the groomsmen) and the single family photos (bride with bride’s family / groom with groom’s family) before the ceremony if at all possible. This can really decrease the amount of photo time you’ll need after the ceremony when everybody is ready to go to the reception. If you are having a late ceremony, you might also want to consider doing a first look to take advantage of additional time and light. A first look is when you arrange a meeting time and then the bride and groom have a chance to see each other without everyone else hanging around.
Kari & Landon had a first look and I was able to capture it from a distance.
3) Relax. Stop worrying about someone ruining everything, or if the caterer brought extra pickles. Let go of all those details and just relax. Have fun. Live your day. Take a deep breath and smile. The most important thing you can do on your wedding day is get married. If you remember that, your day will be perfect, and that will come through in your wedding photos.