As a Northern Virginia wedding photographer, it is not only my job to deliver beautiful images. I believe it is also my responsibility to educate my clients. My desire is to educate my brides in hopes to deliver them the most top notch service. I also care about my wedding couples, therefore I wish to see them get the most of their photography investment! When it comes to planning, there are so many things that you, the bride, can implement in order to receive the most out of your photos. Today on the blog I will review the top 10 ways to make the most out of your photography investment.
Hire Someone You Can Trust
Protecting your photography investment goes much deeper than just implementing certain things into your wedding day. First & foremost, you need to hire a photographer whom you can trust! I always encourage brides to arrange a consultation prior to booking to ensure that we are a good fit. Communication is key, so you want to be sure you hire someone who is prompt to answer phone calls or emails. You also want to make sure you hire someone who you can easily connect with. Having a good relationship with your photographer ensures a level of comfort and trust which is extremely important to have on the day of your wedding. If you aren’t comfortable or happy with your photographer, odds are it will show in your images. Not to mention, it will also ruin the experience that you deserve to have! Be sure to hire a photographer who’s work & character aren’t in question.
Do An Engagement Session
I always offer a complimentary engagement session for all of my 6-8 hour wedding collections. Why? Because it is extremely important! Not often, but sometimes I will have couples who opt out of the engagement session. Honestly, I have no idea why since it’s complimentary! Besides it being complimentary, it is a great opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. You almost have to think of it like a practice run before the final performance 😉 Sometimes couples will opt out simply because they don’t have the time, or maybe because they just had photos taken, or because they’re both not comfortable being in front of the camera. I don’t care if you just had engagement photos taken, it is extremely important to do an engagement session with your wedding photographer. Besides, no one said you had to share a 2nd round of engagement photos via social media 😉 You should participate as a means to get to know your wedding photographer. This will also allow your wedding photographer to get to know YOU, and learn what poses make you “click” as a couple (no pun intended). This way when it comes time for your wedding, being in front of the camera will feel like a breeze. You will also know exactly what to expect from your photographer, & feel that much more confident during portrait time.
Have A 2nd Shooter
Being sure to include a 2nd shooter is a vital key to making the most of your photography investment. Having a 2nd shooter guarantees that you will receive more images, & more variety. Another reason why it is important, is because it allows the primary photographer to not have to be in 2 places at one time. This way the bride receives all the attention she needs, as well as the groomsman. And who doesn’t wish to have more images in their final gallery? If you want to read more on the benefits of having a 2nd shooter, you can read more about that here!
Start Your Day Earlier Than Expected
Let’s face it, things are not going to go 100% perfectly on your wedding day. If they do, kuddos to you! However I have yet to see that happen lol. Odds are there will be some slip ups somewhere, but it’s nothing to worry over. My biggest suggestion for both brides and grooms would be to start your day earlier than you originally had planned. This is especially true for couples who have large wedding parties. Always allow an extra cushion of time to ensure that things are not rushed (even if that means sitting around for an extra hour or two!). If the timeline starts to run behind, this will have an impact on your photos. Creative opportunities may be missed, or there may be a lack of photos due to not being ready on time. Brides, start getting into your dress a little bit earlier (we all know how long those corset gowns take to lace up!). Groom & groomsmen, plan to leave for the venue a bit earlier just incase there’s traffic. Girls, allow plenty of extra time for hair and makeup. We need you dressed and ready for pictures when the Bride starts to get into her dress 😉 There are so many little aspects that can add up to making your timeline run behind, so be sure to allow that extra cushion just incase!
Have the Bridal Suite Cleared
Ladies, this one is for you (especially for larger bridal parties). Do your best to keep the Bridal Suite clear of clutter. I know this can be extremely difficult, especially if everyone is getting ready in the bridal suite. In order to get the most out of getting ready photos or even the bridal portraits, you will want to make sure the Bridal suite is relatively cleared of bags, hairspray cans, water bottles, makeup, and most of all clutter. Keeping everything together in one area usually helps, but my best advice is to keep the window area clean as that is where I will be taking most of the bridal portraits. In order to have those beautiful images, you will want to make sure there’s no bags or Aqua Net bottles in the background of your images 😉
Have a Make Up Artist
With having your make up done professionally, it gives you the confidence that you need in front of the camera. Not only does it feel good to be pampered, but having professional makeup makes you feel beautiful. And if you feel beautiful, you are going to be glowing in front of the camera. Having professional make up will also ensure that the coverage will last the entire day. This will give you the comfort of knowing that your make up will not only last, but will still look amazing for portrait time! Professional make up is also applied to make you look the best in your photos, while professional make up products are also used especially for flash photography.
Share A First Look
I am a pretty traditional girl, so I will never force my couples to take part in a First Look. However, did you know that by taking part in a First Look you will get to experience MORE portrait time?! For those who are not familiar, a First Look is where the bride and groom see each other privately before the ceremony. By having a First Look it guarantees you a certain amount of time for portraits, without having the added stress of rushing through portrait time after the ceremony (assuming your ceremony or family formal time run late.) It also adds variety to your portraits, as we will also capture a handful of “Just Married” photos after the ceremony. Sunset photos, too? Sure! 😉
Schedule Your Timeline For the Best Lighting
I can honestly say that this is one thing that wedding couples never think about when creating their wedding day timeline. If you want to make the most of your photos, be sure to create your timeline in a way that portrait time takes place 1-2 hours before sunset. This will give your images that soft romantic glow, instead of the harsh sunlight which gives off the least flattering look. I realize that sometimes this cannot be arranged, due to timelines and restrictions of some of the venues. In that case, we will make due 😉 However, if at all possible you should take this into consideration. This may also be true if you are having a outdoor ceremony. Unless there’s plenty of shade, try to schedule your outdoor ceremony and portrait time a couple hours before sunset. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Be Prepared For the Unexpected. Be Flexible
As mentioned earlier, sometimes things don’t go as planned on a wedding day. Maybe things are running behind, maybe the weather isn’t the most ideal, maybe the florist is late, or maybe things just aren’t going exactly like you had hoped and planned. My best advice is to relax, be flexible, and go with the flow or else it will show in your images. Maybe you were hoping for a beautiful sunny day, & instead got handed a rainy day. Find a way to be positive and have fun with it! After all, it is out of your control right? It’s all about perspective. If you trust in your photographer & change your mindset, I promise you will still fall in love with your images.
Hire An Engaging DJ
This last point may come to a surprise to some people, but it is entirely true! I have had couples mention that they were worried their reception would not photograph well, because they did not have a party crowd. This may also be true of weddings where there isn’t alcohol served 😉 If you still wish to have fun & exciting images for your reception, be sure to hire an engaging DJ! I’ve worked with some pretty amazing DJ’s, & I’ve witnessed DJ’s getting even the smallest crowds out on the dance floor. You can also discuss this with your DJ ahead of time, and plan to incorporate some things that will keep the guests entertained while also providing some great photo opportunities. By hiring an engaging DJ, you can be sure to have enough variety for the reception portion of your wedding day.
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