Here’s the bottom line: Your wedding is just that, YOUR wedding. What makes you and your partner happy is of the utmost importance, and a few mishaps in your photos aren’t going to make or break whether your wedding day is one of the best days of your life.
Keeping that in mind while reading on, here are 11 helpful tips for your wedding day from your friendly photographers and videographers here at Social Shot:
1. Ask your wedding party and guests to cool it with the cell phone pictures and videos. Not only will they miss out on the big day if they’re constantly looking at it through a screen, but they can really put a damper on your professional photos. More times than we can count, what could have been an incredible and romantic image is littered with cell phones pointed at you. You’ve already spent a significant chunk of money on a professional photographer and videographer, so please strongly consider asking your friends and family to leave it to the pros and just be present. Some couples ask their officiant to make a polite announcement at the start of the ceremony, and others put a formal sign at the ceremony location’s entrance. Here’s a perfect example:
2. Get your wedding dress altered correctly to fit your body. Extra emphasis on this if your gown is strapless. More often than not, it seems brides with strapless dresses are constantly tugging on the tops of their dress to keep it from sliding down. It also leaves a visible gap between your skin and the dress that can sometimes be visible in your photos. Plus, you’ve already spent so much time and money on choosing your dress, so why not make sure it fits perfectly, leaving you to enjoy the night carefree! (We obviously wouldn’t share unflattering photos of our brides, but here are a couple examples from good old Google.)
3. Don’t have your amateur photographer friend or family member there with their cameras. It may sound harmless to let your aspiring-photographer-pal wander around with their camera to get some extra shots through the day. But all too often, they can accidentally ruin your professional photos by being in the way during important moments. Most professional wedding photographers actually have it in their contracts that there cannot be another photographer present at your wedding for this very reason. Not only are they in the way, their flashes can ruin our photos, and they often forget to turn off their shutter volume. Consider the alternative of having your friend be the photographer for your rehearsal the day before, but have them put away the camera on your big day.
4. Be weary of fake eyelashes. Unless you’re certain you or your makeup artist is seasoned enough in applying false eyelashes to make them hold from end to end all night long, reconsider. All too often, a bride’s false lashes look amazing for about 15 minutes, and then one of the ends starts to lift up from the adhesive. Guests at a distance may not notice a thing, but it will show in your photos and make your eyes feel uncomfortable and lopsided. Other options are magnetic false eyelashes or professional eyelash extensions. Eyelash extensions are typically very affordable and last up to a month or longer. If your heart is set on traditional glue-on eyelashes though, ask your makeup artist if she could use the type with separated lashes that can be dipped in glue and added individually. We haven’t seen any problems with these so far!
5. Do not get your shoes dirty before you wear them on your wedding day. Dirt and too many little stains to photoshop out are really going to put a damper on what could have been a sweet close-up of your shoes. If you need to break-in your shoes before the wedding day, do it indoors!
6. Make sure you are being escorted down the aisle, not doing the escorting. This isn’t a major issue, but we have known brides who are disappointed after seeing their arms were in the traditionally masculine position when coming down the aisle, so it’s something worth mentioning. Traditionally, whoever is walking you down the aisle would put his arm out first in an “L” shape, with yours draped around. We’ll use stock images again for examples. The bride on the left is being escorted traditionally BY her father, while the bride on the right’s arm is technically doing the escorting OF her father. (It can sometimes also look like you’re being dragged down the aisle as a prisoner.)
7. Keep in mind that an odd amount of bridesmaids will keep you from being the center of some photos. Take this tip with a grain of salt though, as this isn’t the end of the world and shouldn’t put stress on who you want in your bridal party. Also, your photographer should do much more posing than just you and your bridesmaids in a straight line, which should detract from the odd number and keep you as the main focus! (Not our photo.)
8. Strongly consider the pros and cons of doing a First Look. We have an entire blog devoted to this subject right here.
9. Try, try, try to stay calm. It’s natural for a bride to feel stressed and want to speed things up. Do your best not to ask to skip the photos that you had already set time aside for. You don’t want to regret not allowing the time for photos once the hustle and bustle of the day is over. We work as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible, and never go over the time you’ve allotted for photos. Breathe, baby, breathe.
10. Look around at photo opportunities around your venue before making a final decision if the backgrounds in your photos are important to you. Or look around at nearby spots that would be easy for everyone to travel to quickly.
11. Keep in mind that the worst time for taking photos is when the sun is directly overhead. If your ceremony is indoors, disregard. Also, your wedding photographers should have portable light kits and reflectors to help counteract the bright sun for your posed photos before and after your ceremony, but this is something to keep in mind if you’re wanting great photos in an outdoor ceremony with no or little shade!
12. During your first kiss, count to three before separating. With all the nerves, many couples do a quick peck, making getting that perfect photo of your first kiss a near impossible feat. Not only will this help get that photo you’ve been dreaming about, it will make your first kiss as a married couple feel more memorable.
13. Let your photographer and videographer know about any surprises. If you or anyone in your wedding party are planning a surprise on your wedding day, be sure to keep your photographers and videographers clued-in! We will have our cameras on us at all times, but don’t let yourself be disappointed by surprising your guests while your photographers were turned around photographing your grandparents.