Picture of a first look photo with the couple standing near trees back to back holding hands

Your wedding photos will be one of the main mementos you have of the wedding. You want them to look fabulous. However, sometimes wedding photos end up looking just ho-hum. Follow the tips below to get the best pictures to remember your special day.

Decide What Photos You Want

Start by figuring out what types of wedding photos you want. Do you want mainly the posed photos with the wedding party and family members? Or do you prefer mainly candid shots taken throughout the day? Some people prefer that the photographer take more artistic shots that use creative techniques. Decide which mix of photos is right for you and discuss it with potential photographers.

Hire a Professional

Having a friend or family member take pictures often produces disappointing results. Experts recommend using a professional photographer who specializes in weddings. Get the best photographer you can afford.

Check Out Photographers’ Work

Choose a photographer with a lot of experience photographing weddings. Check out the photos they’ve posted to give people an idea of their work. If you like them, ask to see a complete collection of photos from a single wedding. This helps you decide if the photographer suits you. Choose a photographer as early as possible, preferably about a year before the wedding date.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable With the Photographer

You’ll be spending a lot of time with the photographer, so make sure you’re comfortable with them. Since some companies use multiple photographers, meet with the one who will work at your wedding. Schedule an engagement shoot to give you a chance to get more familiar with the photographer. It also allows you to show the photographer which types of photos you prefer.

Decide on Specific Photos You Want

Look at other people’s wedding photos to see which pictures you’d like of your wedding. The photographer will know to take the first kiss, cake cutting, and first dance photos. Tell him about any specific requests that aren’t standard. Make a reasonable list for the photographer with the most important shots, then trust him to get other good shots. Tell him about whether you want black and white or color, any decorations you want photos of, and any other details that will make the photographer’s job easier. Sometimes, the photographer may recommend having a second photographer on hand so you get all your must-have photos.

Try to Look Natural

Even when posing, you want to look natural and smile. Sometimes a fake giggle can get a real smile on your face. Consider arching your back slightly so you appear more confident. Walk with your head held high going down the aisle, even if you can’t manage a smile because of nerves. Relax and enjoy yourself!

Choose a Flattering Pose

Hold onto something, such as a bouquet or your partner’s hand, to occupy your hands. Touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth to minimize the risk of a double chin. Turn your torso to a 45-degree angle to look slimmer. Don’t hold your chin up high, though, instead hold it slightly forward and down. Consider putting one leg slightly behind the other and putting most of your weight on that leg and holding your arms bent and slightly away from the body for more flattering pictures.

Schedule Posed Photos Before the Ceremony

You may be less stressed and less self-conscious, and your hair and makeup will still be perfect if you take posed photos before the ceremony. Also, let the photographer know if any two people don’t get along so they don’t get asked to stand next to each other for pictures and cause problems.

Leave Plenty of Time for the Wedding Photos

You don’t want to have to rush when trying to get the photos. Leave extra time for rounding people up, and check with the photographer ahead of time to determine how much time to build into the schedule for each type of photo. Have the photographer check with you before leaving to make sure there aren’t any other photos you want him to take.

Use Light and Shade to Your Advantage

Inside, try to take pictures near windows so there’s plenty of natural light. Outside, try to use open shade or take pictures right after sunset for flattering photos that minimize the risk of squinting. Photos at noon aren’t very flattering because of the angle of the sun. Consider the light at different venues, as there’s only so much a photographer can do about getting good photos in a dark location even if they have a flash. You can look for other photos taken at that venue to get a good idea of what’s possible before booking.

Have Perfect Hair and Makeup

Have a professional do your hair and makeup and ask one of your attendants to hold on to a touchup kit so you can fix your makeup or hair when necessary throughout the day. Avoid glitter, as it won’t look good with the flash. Use blotting cloths to keep your face from looking shiny in pictures.

Check With the Officiant Regarding Ceremony Photos

Some officiants prohibit photos during the ceremony or want the photographer to stay in the back of the room. This limits photo opportunities.

Speak With Guests Regarding Photos

Ask that people refrain from taking photos during the ceremony. This can distract and may ruin professional photographs. As for other times, communicate your wishes regarding guests taking photos and when and where you are okay with them being posted on social media.

Feed Your Photographer

You can’t expect the photographer to work for the whole wedding day on an empty stomach. Make sure you get a meal for the photographer (it’s customary to feed all the wedding staff). Have the photographer eat when you do (instead of at the end like most of the staff) so he misses none of the great opportunities for wedding photos.

Treat Your Photographer Well

As with the point above, a happy photographer is more likely to go the extra mile to get great pictures. Say thank you often and let the photographer know how much you appreciate what he’s doing. Be polite and make requests rather than snapping orders, regardless of how stressed you might be.

Infuse the Wedding With Your Style

When planning the wedding, make sure everything reflects your style and personality, rather than a trend that might not look so wonderful in future years when you look at the wedding photos. Choose your wedding details based on what you want, rather than what you feel obligated to include. For clothes, consider classic styles so they don’t look dated when you look back on your wedding.

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