5 Tips on Planning Your Wedding Photos

What You Must Know Before Taking Your Wedding Day Pictures

Coming up with a game plan when it comes to wedding day pictures is on the top of of every bride’s priority list! Having a plan written down so that yourself, family and the photographer are all on the same page is a must. Check out some of these tips….

Cocktail hour is when your guests get to enjoy a few snacks and beverages and in return it gives you time to get your pictures taken. But remember, it’s called cocktail “hour”, not “hours”. Guests get antsy when you make them wait longer than an hour (even if there is free food and alcohol) so be respectful of their time. An hour is really not that much time to get pictures done, so consider these 5 tips to help you get the most out of your wedding pictures.

1. Use Time Wisely
Get as many pictures done before the ceremony as you can. This can include bride/bridesmaids, bride/groomsmen, bride/mom, groom/groomsmen, etc. Unless you are doing a “first look” with the bride and groom, think of all the pictures you can get out of the way without the bride and groom seeing each other before the ceremony. If you are planning a first look, you could essentially get almost all of your pictures done before the ceremony (time permitting). Maybe you want a few with grandma and grandpa after the ceremony, but that won’t take nearly an hour.

2. Pinterest 
Once you choose a photographer, ask if they use Pinterest. Set up a board where you can both add picture ideas, collaborate on the style and the “must have shots”. When pinning, be realistic. Just because you pin 35 different poses you want, does not mean you will have enough time to get through all of them. Pick your top 5 and tell your photographer that you want to mimic those exact poses. Also know and understand they never quite turn out like they look on Pinterest.

3. Know the Area
If you have a good photographer, they will go scope out your ceremony location, reception location and surrounding areas before the big the day so they will know the lighting, background, etc. If your photographer doesn’t communicate to you that they are doing that, you should go scope out the area yourself a week or so before the big day (try to go the same time of day your pictures will be taken so you can see the lighting). By doing this you will know exactly where you are headed when it is time for pictures and won’t have to waste time wandering around trying to find a good spot.

4. Have a List
Write out a list of all the people you want pictures with on your big day. This will ensure that you don’t miss anyone (believe it or not, it does happen) and it will also keep things moving along. The photographer will have the list handy and call out, “now we need the Bride, Groom, John, Sue, Jason” and then so on.

Once you start writing out the list, you will realize the combination of pictures you could have are endless. Focus on getting bigger groups of people in each picture. For example avoid having to take 5 pictures, when everyone realistically could be captured in 1 or 2. Example:

Picture 1: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law
Picture 2: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law, Grandma, Grandpa

Instead of:

Picture 1: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad
Picture 2: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad, Brother
Picture 3: Bride, Groom, Brother, Sister-In-Law
Picture 4: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law
Picture 5: Bride, Groom, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-In-Law, Grandma, Grandpa

Make sure everyone on your list knows where they are supposed to go and when they are expected to be there. Organize your list in a way that grandparents are in the first 5 shots and then they can go enjoy cocktail hour, and then parents, etc.

If you are not planning a first look, 30 minutes of your one hour should be focused on just you and your spouse. That means that you have 30 minutes to get your family shots and full bridal party shots captured. This hour flies by so be prepared and have your list ready.

5. Two Photographers
Having two photographers is not essential, but highly recommended. Realize that typically one of the photographers will actually take the pictures, and the other one is setting the pictures up (getting the poses right, puffing out your dress, fixing your hair, lighting, etc.). Although one photographer could do it all, that second photographer is a life and time saver. This second photographer could also be the holder of your list and help get people ready and in line for the next shot.

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