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Getting the most out of your wedding photography

 

As a full-time wedding photographer every so often I run into a thread on the internet in which I see people speaking about wedding photography who have no experience in shooting a wedding at all. And so I thought I’d share my top 10 wedding photography tips on how to get the most out of your wedding photography myself:

1. Invite your wedding photographer to have dinner together with the guests. Besides having barely eaten during the day and often working 10 to 16 hours while carrying heavy camera equipment most photographers are very happy when they get a hot meal. It also helps them to recharge and be able to perform physically and creatively with refreshed energy after the dinner. But most importantly, you don’t want your wedding photography to leave during dinner. You don’t want them to leave to get themselves dinner but even if they bring a sandwich with them they will not be eating it in the same room as you and your guests. This means that any speeches and other surprises during your dinner might be missed by your photographer. We still haven’t mastered the ability to see through walls. It’s unfortunate but nonetheless very true.

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Getting the best out of your wedding photography tips

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2. Keep the formals to a minimum. These posed group shots take way more time than most people anticipate, they become boring pretty fast and you probably won’t ever use 95% of them. Most brides and grooms only realise this after they are over and done with, but formals get boring really fast. For this reason, the more combinations you want to shoot the less spontaneous the photos will become. Your yaws become tired (from smiling, and worst it’s mostly fake smiling), your guests get bored to death waiting for their turn and at least one of the people you want in a photo will have disappeared exactly at the time we need him/her (most of the time …no strike that, it’s always… either a guy or a grandmother). I have heard many a bride and groom say that they regret having too many formals (and yes, not listen to my advise ;) )

How to get the most out of your wedding photography tips

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3. Planning a destination wedding and bringing a photographer with you? Arrange for your photographer to stay at the hotel you and your guests are staying in or a hotel within walking distance of your hotel. Not only will this eliminate the chance of them getting in traffic or getting lost on the morning of your wedding, but it will probably also make them very cooperative. So if you’ve booked them to stick around until your first dance for instance, but you would love to have your sparkler send-off or the launching of wedding lanterns captured as well, they probably won’t mind joining you again for 10 minutes to shoot this special moment too.

 

Sky lantern photographed at a destination wedding in Scotland

 

4. Have a first look. A first look will without a doubt leave you with beautiful emotional pictures. As a matter of fact in The Netherlands and Belgium it is tradition for a groom to pic up his bride from her home, so the Dutch have been doing a first look for centuries. Not only will it leave you with great photos, it will also help you with being less nervous during the ceremony. At least you already know what your fiancé thinks of your chosen outfit and you can now walk into that crowded room (or field, or barn, or church, or auditorium) together, instead of alone!

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bride, wearing a sibo design dress, and groom holding hands in norway

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5. Ask your guests to not take photos during the ceremony. Ceremonies often take place in pretty confined places and it has certain moments that are essential to capture but are also very short. If your aunt decides to make a pic with her iPad of your first kiss as a married couple, chances are that she jumps right in front of your photographer or she and her iPad will be in the background of your otherwise epic first kiss photo. Besides this, guests might overexpose the shots of your photographer if they use their flash and by doing so ruin the photos your professional wedding photographer took. Not to mention that you might like the guests to actually listen to what is being said during the ceremony instead of watching it through their phones, camera’s and iPads. Plus you might prefer to have the listening and laughing faces of your guests in your photos instead of the phones and camera’s in front of their faces.

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Bride and grom getting married in an Austrian chapel in Brixental, captured by an English speaking photographer

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6. Hire a second shooter! This might seem like throwing money into what already seems a bottomless pit of wedding costs but hear me out. You’ll get more photos, better photos, photos from more point of views and you’ll rule out any chance of anything being missed. All of this for a tiny amount of money, especially compared to what you pay a (first) wedding photographer. With a lot of photographers you can get a second photographer for the same price of just 1 or 2 extra hours of photography. Read more about the advantages of having a 2nd shooter here. (And yes, you can actually spot me in the photo above. The photo above was taken by a second shooter and I am behind the gate in this photo ;) )

 

 

7. Reserve one to two hours for a photo session for just the two of you. It will feel like some much needed time to relax. Plus it will be some time to share between just the two of you. Of course I’m there too but I’ll often be shooting you from some distance while you two are just paying attention to each other. Besides, it’s such a shame to not have some nice portraits of you two, on a day that first of all is very special but it’s also a day in which you both look your fanciest. Brides often get their hair and make-up done and wedding dresses and suits are often made in a way that make you look your best. So why wouldn’t you want some photos of you looking awesome with the person you love most in the world?

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A bride and groom at Marrakech's Kasbah fab Ourika looking out over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, captured by destination wedding photographer Wit Photography

A bride and groom with a flower bouquet at Castello di Potentino in Tuscany in Italy in Europe, shot by wedding photographer Wit Photography

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8. Don’t schedule to cut the cake after dinner. Everyone is stuffed and it will literally take hours before people will really want another bite. Instead do what most German, Dutch and Belgians do. Cut/eat the cake directly after the ceremony. Combine your reception with the cutting of the cake and a toast to the happy couple with some nice bubbly (I love prosecco! You’ll rarely see me drinking during a wedding though, except for lots of water). It will give everyone something to do during the reception and it will be at a much more convenient time, a moment in which lots of people would love to have a little something to eat instead of at a time at which most people will feel full.

 

A bride and groom cutting the cake with a sword during their destination wedding in Scotland.

9. Love those glamorous photos of a wedding dress hanging in a beautiful spot on the morning of the wedding? Bring a nice dress hanger, nothing ruins a nice dress shot more than a cheap black plastic hanger. IKEA sells really cheap yet wooden ones (they even sell wooden hangers that are painted white) and they already look so much better than those plastic hangers. You can also get pretty dress hangers from BHLDN or a custom made one on Etsy. Like a laser-etched one with your name in a calligraphy font or a hanger made from cherry wood for your groom.

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10. Think about what you want to do in case it rains during your ceremony and/or photo shoot. For your outdoor ceremony you could arrange for emergency umbrellas or an indoor alternative. For your photoshoot you could think about an alternative indoor location that would make for a nice background for your photoshoot. Ideal are places with lots of light like conservatories, green houses (often found at botanical gardens) and porches. The Dutch company TELEUKTROUWEN even rents out a portable green house. It’s like a wedding in a stretch tent, but than with lots of light and no rain or wind will blow inside when the weather is not as glorious as you had hoped for. Or opt for one of the amazing part-transparent geometric domes of Baya Hire (based in the UK). Although, if you’re not too fused about keeping your hair and out-fits perfect we can just do a photo session in the rain. In the woods, only heavier rain will stop us from making rain free shots. But even with rain and without woods, just as you can dance in the rain, we can make photos in the rain. Heck, a ceremony in the rain doesn’t even have to stop you!

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Bonus: Do you feel nervous about being in front of a camera on your wedding day? Then here’s an extra tip for you: book a couple session (aka love shoot or engagement shoot) with your wedding photographer before the big day. You’ll learn that you can be comfortable in front of the camera (or not, and then you might want to reconsider your chosen wedding photographer) and because you’ve practiced so to speak, you’ll have at least one reason less to be nervous about on your wedding day.

 

 

English couple on holiday at Marrakech' Kasbah bab Ourika

 

A couple during their Paris love shoot while posing at the Louvre museum

 

 

I hope you liked these wedding photography tips! Are you interested in having me as your wedding photographer? I’m available for weddings throughout Europe. Contact me so we can chat about all your plans, my rates and to get to know each other a bit. Have a look at my wedding portfolio to see more wedding photos, read the about me page to learn about who this ‘I’-person is or have a read about how I work.

 

Named 1 of the 20 best wedding photographers by international wedding website ZankYou!





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