I have decided that I love weddings most of all. I get excited when I have a wedding weekend ahead of me and I start planning all the fun shots I'm going to try. What a fabulous job I have that I get invited to some of the biggest parties of the year and everyone actually wants their photograph taken!
One of the most interesting things about most weddings is that -- most of the time -- the bride and/or the groom have never been married before. They've never been in the position of bride or groom before so when it comes down to it, they don't know a lot of the little details. Almost every wedding I shoot, the bride turns to me to ask "which leg does the garter go on?" or at cake cutting time, "how are we supposed to do this?" Thankfully, I've photographed enough weddings to know some of these little details and if I don't, I tell them "make up your own rules, start a new tradition."
The days of Emily Post's wedding etiquette are fading fast and more and more brides are using common sense as opposed to written Victorian norms to establish their own methods and traditions. The modern bride is more concerned with having a memorable day that's special to her and her new husband. Wedding photography has changed a lot since my own wedding 15 years ago. And I'm thrilled to be in the business during such a romantic and fun-loving era in weddings. Today, wedding photography is about story telling and romance. Bridal images are softer and more artistic, and it's all about capturing the emotion of the day.
There are some things the bride can keep in mind before and during the big day that will make her wedding images come out amazing.
-- Hire a professional. I've heard the story repeated time and time again. "My friend had a really nice camera so I let her take the photos at our wedding." This line is often followed by tears as I hear all about the lack of nice photographs they have from their wedding. I've had tearful brides call me to ask me to "fix" the wedding photos they have because their "Uncle Bob" really didn't know what he was doing after all. I've had brides schedule after-the-wedding sessions with me so they can get some decent images because their friend the photographer fell short.
-- Stay out of the sun for at least a week before the wedding. This means grooms too! Sunburns don't photograph well and they really show up against that white dress. It also adds a lot of time to my post processing trying to zap that red from your face.
-- Don't spray tan for at least a week before. I know that sounds harsh. I'm telling you to stay out of the sun and I'm also telling you not to spray a tan on. What's a pale bride to do if she wants a sun tan for her wedding? Plan ahead. Get that suntan going with plenty of time to spare. Or better yet, don't. Your skin will be lovely whether it's ivory white or dark as it gets. Spray tans show up in the camera as orange and once again, it's more time I have to spend in post processing to try to get rid of that orange.
-- Please please please plan to spend at least 15-30 minutes alone with me after the formals to shoot just the bride and groom. These are when the absolute best images of the whole day will happen. There's nothing more romantic than a man and woman who have just been married cuddling together and getting used to the idea that they're hitched now -- without the chaos of family and friends around them.
-- Let me get creative with the bridal and the groomsmen images. We don't have to stand assembly line style anymore. We can be silly, sexy, strange and outrageous. It's all in fun and those images show your personality more than any stale posed shot ever could.
-- Choose a nice location for the formal family images. Gone are the days when we have to stand at the front of the church after the wedding. The world's your oyster. Do you know a really cool park a few blocks from the church? Is there a lovely view at the reception hall? Who says they have to be taken at the altar? And make sure Grandma Bertha knows you want her to stick around for photos. She may be heading out the door and hitting the margarita machine at the hall as soon as the man says "kiss the bride."
-- Last but not least. Have a good time. Let the events unfold as they happen. Don't stress if the church is locked when you get there (I've seen it), the maid of honor rips her dress in the bathroom (I've seen it), the ring bearer is throwing a temper tantrum (been there), the make-up artist is an hour late (been there too). The wedding will happen and the evening will end with laughter and happy memories. Relax and don't worry about the photography, I'll be there to capture it.
Lisa On Location Photography