Written with love, by Claire Bira
Here's the thing...we wedding photographers have expensive equipment and knowledge of how to channel light onto you that will make you look better than you've ever seen yourself. That's why you pay us! But there are a few things you can actually do to ensure that your wedding pictures look like your Pinterest boards, no matter the budget.
#1 - I think it is very important to look at magazines and blogs to see what style weddings and wedding photography you are drawn to. Look at the types of weddings and images that a photographer captures and wait for the photography that moves you.
Next, start a dialogue with your prospective photographer to make sure you are a good fit for one another. Keep in mind, your photographer will be spending most of your wedding day with you. A great photographer will make you feel like you are a priority, and assure you with their knowledge and experience.
#2 - Remember that good photography evokes EMOTION - excited, delighted, wistful...wedding days are emotional for the whole family. You're not hiring a photographer to get just 'pretty' pictures, you're hiring us to capture the day and the people around you, in love. Posing too much or worrying that you look fat, is going to show up in your pictures. We're going to make things pretty, so don't worry about it! Be present in as much of your day as you can without trying to get your head at the right angle with the perfect smile. That's my job! I will direct you if I see an issue.
#3 - On that note...TRUST your photographer (aka, book one that you trust!) By the night of your rehearsal dinner, all the planning and preparing is over. Odds are, things are still going to go wrong, but if you are married by the end of the wedding, then it was a success. Let go of all the to-do lists, decoration concerns, ideas for posed pictures and props you've prepared. If your photographer is worth their salt, they've discussed all this with you in detail previously and are prepared to capture what you want to see. If you're counting the other poses you want in your head while smiling, it will show. If you're holding an awkward pose trying to look skinny, it will show. Prepare beforehand, and then give the shoot to your photographer completely.
IF you are able to give your photographer control, you can relax into each pose I arrange, and enjoy being around your loved ones in the process. Laugh, kiss, smile...as it comes naturally. As a photographer, I work very hard to get to know you before the wedding, so that I can read you as the day goes on. If you're tired of smiling, I'm not going to force cheesy poses on you- we'll switch it up for some more serious, beautiful moments. If things have been too stiff for a few minutes, I'm probably going to start cracking jokes to make everyone laugh. This is what you are paying for: impressive equipment and EXPERIENCE with brides. If I've discussed with a bride that she loves very focused, serious, gorgeous images, I will create a mood for her that will put her in a place of feeling centered and calm. The only time I'm unable to do my job is when the bride is nervous and comes forward with lists and requests throughout the day. ...because inevitably, I am there to please the bride. I will do whatever you ask. However, if you trust me to do my artwork my way, I can guarantee you will be pleased with the results. That's why you chose my work. Trust.
#4 - Remember that beauty comes from within. Your wedding day is the day you get to enjoy and receive enormous amounts of love with the love of your life. Graciousness will shine out of your eyes, love will make you glow, (oh hair and makeup artists go a long way), you're wearing the most luxurious dress of your life... for one day, beauty and grace shine out of you all day long. So enjoy it! Feel free to cry (mascara can be fixed), laugh (hair will be re-pinned), dance in the rain, kick off your shoes. This day is about you at your best. You're already there, so be present and be in love. I can safely say that most of those pictures you've seen are probably spontaneous. Unplanned beauty is what we look for. Those are the things you will treasure for years to come because they are authentic to you and your wedding day.
#5 - Ask your photographer to help you with the timeline. There are actually certain hours of the day that are generally better and worse for photography. So if a certain look of light is important to you, let your photographer shoot at the time they need in order to get that effect.
#6 - Shine. Audrey Hepburn once said, "Happy girls are the prettiest." She was right. Actively delight in your love, and you will remember that delight every time you look at you pictures for the rest of your life.
We are surrounded by beauty everyday. Cream in coffee, the sky outside your window, the soft light at the end of the day... these are the things that keep me inspired. I am a wedding photographer who loves natural light, traveling to new places, and photographing people in love. When I'm not working on photos or video, I like to run, bike, swim, and explore.