Welcome! If you’re reading this you’re probably well on your way in the wedding planning process. As you know there are many moving parts to consider, especially when it comes to coordinating for your wedding photos. Usually you will get advice from friends and relatives who have been there, or maybe you’ve had the opportunity to experience weddings first hand as a guest or a bridal party member. Either way a lot goes on behind the scenes that most people never know about. As wedding photographers we become very familiar with all aspects of the wedding day. Things like the season, time of day, venue, and team of vendors can have a huge impact. Don’t worry though, there are lots of simple things that you can do to avoid the top 5 wedding photo mistakes and other common mishaps.
1. Not planning for sunset
When I sit down with a couple to discuss wedding plans the first thing I always do is hop onto Google and find out when the sun sets on their date. It’s really easy, you just type in sunset time and the date- ex. sunset time June 22, 2019. Think about this when planning your outdoor ceremony and portraits. I recommend trying to work in your portraits about an hour before sunset if possible to catch that gorgeous golden hour lighting.
Beautiful sunset wedding ceremony at The Pinecroft at Crosley Estate
2. Understand how the season will affect your choices
The season that you choose for your wedding will dictate so much more than you would expect! Everything from your florals, cake, time for photos, guest attire, and the dress you choose. Each season has its own unique perks, and for some their choice of date is limited by work or family commitments. If timing is flexible I recommend deciding on your top wedding priorities and then choosing what style you’re looking for. Example- if you love peonies you’ll want to think about a spring wedding. Or maybe you’re concerned about budget, a winter wedding might provide you with opportunities for discounts during the slower season.
Intentional snowy winter wedding
3. Unplugged ceremony
I can’t stress this one enough! If you aren’t familiar, an unplugged ceremony means that you politely (often creatively) ask your guests to refrain from the use of electronics during your wedding ceremony. For the past few years it has become extremely common for cell phone and photo usage during weddings. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had a guest jump out into the aisle right in front of me during the kiss or other special moment. I’ve actually become accustomed to just taking photos that include the majority of guests on cell phones, holding up iPads, and the like. Also, I know your uncle really wants to bring his semi pro camera with the big flash, but it really can alter your professional photo experience. It’s best to just pre-plan with a few cute signs or note in your program asking to put away the phones.
Unplugged wedding ceremony at Crossroads Church
4. Timing is everything
When planning your day make sure to add in extra time. Let me say it again, add extra time! One of the most common mistakes I see happens in the morning during makeup and hair. So often the bride ends up waiting on family members to finish hair and makeup to assist her in getting ready or she is still not finished herself. You might not like the color of your lipgloss or your beauty team might be late. Plan accordingly for mishaps. We are not perfect and sometimes a vendor may arrive late, forget an item, or have some other problem resulting in throwing off the timeline. I always say hope for the best and plan for the worst. Then you aren’t rushed. My brides are often shocked when things go astray and I remain calm and collected, and that’s because I planned for it! I expected that at some point, unfortunately something would happen. Again, these things aren’t the end of the world and it won’t ruin your wedding. I’ve never seen a late party, rain, or some other catastrophe ruin a wedding —-but an upset bride can. It’s all in your energy and confidence!
Taking time for a first look with her bridesmaids
5. Don’t micromanage your vendors
When planning and interviewing your potential vendors do your homework! Feel free to ask a million questions and dig deep. However, after you’ve picked the best of the best and you trust your team – let them do what they do. Many of your wedding vendors will be creatives and it’s so hard to create in a box. We have to feel like we can let our hair down, relax, and think. If I’m worried that you won’t trust me or like my suggestions I won’t feel comfortable asking you to try a crazy idea that might result in an epically beautiful image. A little kindness and caring goes a long way. Even something as small as offering a soda or asking how things are going is appreciated. If you work in the wedding industry its because you care about supporting this new family in their new, life changing journey. Weddings days are long and hard, but for me I keep coming back because I love witnessing love! I am all about sharing my experience to help you have the best wedding day you possibly can. It just feels good to see a new couple happy!
This is me during a ride in the elevator at a 21C wedding. I threw this shot in as a little funny addition.
I hope this helps you avoid the top 5 wedding photo mistakes. If you think of any other questions shoot them my way. I’m always looking for new topics to blog that will assist my couples. Also check out my post on authentic storytelling for tips on capturing genuine emotion and connection at your wedding.