Making Your Wedding Photos Awesome
There are only a handful of moments in a person’s life that are truly beyond precious and need to be documented. A couple’s wedding day is certainly one of those events and that is why the couple investing thousands of dollars in wedding photography should be prepared to do a little research. For example, investing a large sum of money into wedding photography doesn’t necessarily mean a bride and groom are guaranteed to receive awesome wedding photos. As a wedding photographer located in Temecula wine country, my goal is to give my clients the information necessary to help them get the raddest possible images from their wedding. I want my clients to be overwhelmed with emotions of joy when they look at their wedding photos and reflect on their wedding day, and this can easily be achieved with a little planning. Your wedding photos should be awesome! Now let’s talk about what you need to do in order to get those awesome photos from your wedding day!
1. Golden Hour: Because Only Gun Fights Happen At High Noon
Golden Hour for wedding photography is the last hour of sunlight when the quality of light is more magical than Chris Angel wearing angel wings while shirtless and riding a motorcycle off the Grand Canyon. This time is the absolute best to capture photographs. Unfortunately, many brides and grooms are now opting to do a first look so they can enjoy cocktail hour with their guests which have the potential to create some photography complications. First of all, I am totally on board with any couple that chooses to do a first look. I think it helps relax a bride and groom, allowing them to absorb and better enjoy the actual wedding ceremony. However, the first look should come with a very important caveat and that is that the first look doesn’t take the place of the time allocated after the wedding ceremony for photos of the bride and groom. A first look is a great opportunity to relieve some wedding day jitters and it’s a fantastic photo opportunity, but it should not replace the time during golden hour for wedding photos. This is because when wedding photos are taken around mid-day the sun is VERY harsh. It creates shadows on the face and makes for less than ideal photography conditions. Brides and grooms who avoid taking photos in the middle of the day and make certain that the bulk of their wedding photos are captured during the last hour of sunlight are going to get much more awesome wedding photos.
2. Wingman Wanted: Get A Second Shooter
Every wedding is expensive, but those costs can go even higher when a couple decides to get married in a popular or trendy location such as the Temecula wineries. With that being said, you still only get one opportunity to document your wedding so any investment a bride and groom can make to enhance that coverage is a great investment. This is why selecting a wedding package that offers a second photographer is one of the best decisions a couple can make. I have photographed tons of weddings by myself and have no problem getting awesome shots, but having a second photographer assist me only enhances my ability to document and tell the story of your wedding day. For example, when I photograph a wedding alone I am constantly on the move taking pictures of the bridesmaids, then the groomsmen, details, and everything else I possibly can. When I have a second shooter with me that allows me to move around less, freeing me up to catch more candid, genuine and touching moments of interaction between people. I can leave my second shooter with the bridesmaids and I can stay with the groomsmen the entire time. This allows us to catch every moment, many of which I could have missed if I were shooting alone. Not to mention, a second shooter can get more creative angles, photographs of guests, and simply help to provide a better-documented wedding. There is absolutely no better wedding photography investment than to add on a second shooter.
3. Tick Tock: Make Time For Wedding Photos
After getting ready all day, going through an emotion-filled wedding ceremony, and taking tons of family photos, the last thing many couples want to do is spend more time taking photos. I totally understand this, but I also know that nothing would be worse than not utilizing golden hour as much as possible to get the highest quality images of a bride and groom on their wedding day or any other awesome photo opportunity if/when it presents itself. Being creative and getting a ton of awesome shots is pretty freaking tough when only 15 minutes of time is allotted for wedding photos of just the bride and groom. Therefore, the best plan of attack is to keep the family photos to the bare minimum (immediate family and maybe a couple grandparents) and schedule out 45 minutes to an hour for post-ceremony wedding photos. All of that time might not even be necessary but most weddings run late and it’s better to have more time than less time. Also, listen to your wedding photographer. If they want to pull you away for a couple minutes to utilize the current lighting conditions or setting to snap a quick photo don’t be opposed to the idea. Sometimes these impromptu moments result in the coolest photos. By allocating enough time after the ceremony for photography a wedding photographer can shoot at different locations, experiment with different lenses, be more creative and deliver the type of awesome wedding photos that will make all of your friends and family members jealous.
4. Pinterest Fantasies: Have Realistic Expectations
So you discovered Pinterest and have been pinning images to your wedding photography board all year. That’s outstanding! In fact, I ask all my brides to create a Pinterest board for photography inspiration and share it with me so I can get an idea of what type of style they like. This allows me to see if they prefer more artistic type images where the bride and groom might be silhouettes, if they like up-close images with lots of depth of field or if they prefer a more traditional approach to wedding photography. I always review the Pinterest photography boards of the brides I work with and try my best to combine my style with their vision to deliver the best possible wedding photos. Unfortunately, Pinterest can at times create unrealistic expectations. This is because most of the images brides pin to their boards are like an All-Star team of wedding photographers from across the world. If you are pinning photos from $20K wedding photographers based in Los Angeles, New York, and Europe who have lighting assistants or models as their subjects and expect your wedding photos to look like a fashion shoot then the bar might be set a little too high (unless you plan on actually paying $20K for wedding photography). The best thing to do is find photos that are relevant to your theme, colors, or location and pin those images. For example, if you’re getting married at Ponte Winery don’t put photos of the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego on your Pinterest board. Have realistic expectations and talk with your wedding photographer about your vision. Trust me, we want you to have the most awesome images possible and communication can play a big part in helping us get you those kick-ass wedding photos!
5. I Love You Man: Trust Your Wedding Photographer
Wedding photographers are all different and each has a unique approach to doing what they do. That is why brides and grooms looking for a wedding photographer should not solely focus on the price tag for wedding services. Look at the wedding photographer’s blog, check out the most recent wedding they photographed, see if they have any Yelp reviews, read what they write on the blog posts to get a feel for their personality and how they interact with a bride and groom and don’t be afraid to ask them questions! This is essential because having trust in your wedding photographer is critical. This is not your flower person who will set up table displays then leave or your DJ who will be jamming top 40 hits for a few hours before going back to his parent’s basement to play video games and smoke weed. A wedding photographer is basically your sidekick. That means we are around you ALL DAY! From the moment you’re getting your makeup done all the way up until your hair is a wreck, the dress is dirty and you’ve drunk enough champagne to tranquilize a small mammal like a spider monkey. Review our images, know our personality and simply trust that what we do will come out awesome. That means not telling us you want photographs near the water fountain or some other location that is a giant eyesore. Let us find the locations and take the photographs while you enjoy every moment of what is a very fast-moving day that will literally be over in what feels like a blink of an eye. The more you trust your wedding photographer the more awesome your photos will be.