7 Surprising Steps to a More Photogenic Wedding

Seven surprising steps to better wedding photography

Brides and grooms today have a dilemma today which was unheard of ten – or even FIVE – years ago. The rise of social media has placed a double-edged sword in the hands of couples planning the biggest party of their life. On one hand, it’s so easy to find great ideas, beautiful inspiration images, and even DIY tips on your favorite websites. The possibilities are endless!

On the other, it’s easy to crack under what I call “Pinterest Pressure.” Pinterest pressure is the compulsion brides and grooms feel to plan a wedding as beautiful, detailed, and perfect as those you see on the internet, thanks to their increased exposure to these kinds of images. How do they do it?! they wonder.

Well… do you want to know a secret?

It’s easier to get an absolutely knockout set of wedding images than you think. You don’t have to spend a fortune or craft until your fingers fall off.

Creating beautiful images is your photographer’s job. But you CAN help make it easier on them.

Your wedding photographer should be brilliant at making amazing stuff out of your special day, whether you’re tying the knot in an exotic Caribbean resort or in your parents’ backyard. The real key is to give your photographer the time and material they need to capture the unique beauty of your day. Here are 7 tips from a wedding photographer’s perspective to make your wedding as photogenic as possible.

1. Leave more time for photos than you think you’ll need. 

bride and groom on a golf course, captured by Greenville SC photographer Hannah WoodardOn your wedding day, something will take longer than you expect. There are too many variables for something unexpected not to happen. If you build “cushion time” into your getting ready schedule, you’ll be happier and more relaxed when it comes time to shoot bridal portraits, formals, or pictures of the two of you together.

2. Think about your getting ready shots.

A bride preparing her wedding, captured by a Greenville, SC wedding photographer

Bring a pretty hanger for your dress. Choose a well-lit, spacious room to get ready in. Try to keep your stuff in order as you’re getting ready. Just kidding, that one probably won’t happen. But it’s okay – just don’t be alarmed when your photographer goes all feng-shui with your bags.

3. Plan a first look. 

A first look in action captured by a Greenville SC wedding photographer

First looks are gaining in popularity, and for good reason. First looks give the two of you a chance to have some quiet time together before the chaos of the day sets in. They’re intimate, relaxed, and just really special. Plus, right after your first look is the best time to get the majority of the pictures of you as a couple, without holding up the rest of your guests.

4. Map out your formals with your photographer ahead of time.

formal portrait of groom and groomsmen at a greenville wedding

Make a list of all of the possible combinations you (and your parents) want on that day, and discuss it with your wedding photographer. It also helps if you have a wedding planner or particularly assertive friend to read off the list and “corral” people to where they need to be, streamlining this portion of the day. Not only will this help you get all of the formals you want, it will greatly reduce stress on you, your family, and your guests. Also: If you are planning a lot of time for formals or a couples’ shoot between the ceremony and reception, give your guests something to do while they wait. Cocktail hour. A photobooth. Cornhole. Opening the dance floor early. Whatever fits your style!

 5. Consider your lighting. 

A couple's first dance at their Trenton, SC wedding

Good lighting is the key to good photographs, and also to setting a beautiful mood. If you’re going to worry about one physical detail of your reception, I would suggest that you think about lighting. You don’t need a ton of light; just consider the ambiance. If you’re getting married outside, remember that the prettiest lighting happens in the hour just before sunset. If part of your wedding is taking place indoors in a dark space, consider candles, strung lights, or chandeliers. (Or, check out my Pinterest board for more ideas.) Lighting doesn’t have to cost a fortune; a little bit of ambient light goes a long way.

6. “Unplug” your wedding… or at least your ceremony. 

guests listen attentively at a greenville wedding ceremony

Nothing distracts from a professional shot of your wedding like someone else’s iPhone in the background. Or worse, a guest standing in the aisle to get their own shot while ruining the pro’s chance to capture that moment. While many photographers suggest asking guests to go completely unplugged for the whole wedding, this isn’t necessarily right for every couple. (If it is for you, great!) However, it’s definitely a good idea to ask guests to put away all electronic devices during your actual ceremony, avoiding distracting flashes and the chance that someone might forget to set that phone to “silent”… then let them snap away at the reception, if they like.

7. Take a deep breath, relax, and have fun!

Bride getting ready for her wedding day, captured by a Greenville wedding photographer

The most beautiful pictures are the ones that are the most real. Realize that your wedding is YOUR wedding, and it’s going to be absolutely unique and beautiful. The crazy is probably going to happen, and it is just as beautiful as that pin you saw of the flawless couple at that jawdropping venue wearing Vera Wang. (Those people were probably models anyway.) I want you to have fun on your wedding day, because that’s when the real magic happens.

So remember: the keys to gorgeous wedding images are good planning and giving your photographer time and space to work. If the two of you love each other, your wedding is inherently beautiful. It’s just a matter of arranging your day so that the love and the beauty shine through as much as possible!

(To hire a Greenville, SC wedding photographer, click here.)

TAGS: wedding