5 tips I have learnt for weddings in my 5 years as a wedding photographer
Next year will mark my fifth year as an wedding photographer. To celebrate this I have just finished running a wedding photography package competition and have created a free wedding planner as a gift to my clients (get it here). Inside this planner I have included some lesser known wedding tips that I have learnt about from working in the wedding industry. It has taken a few weddings for me to learn about these little tricks so hopefully they will be useful to your wedding planning!
Guest comfort at the wedding ceremony
My number one tip that couples often fail to consider is guest comfort at their ceremony. I promise you that considering this is going to make your guests a lot happier, enjoy your ceremony a lot more and have your photos look like you have a loving audience watching you get married!
Think about where your guests will be sitting during your ceremony. Are you having an indoor or outdoor ceremony? Will the weather be hot or cold? If the weather is hot, will the guests be seated in the sun? Will the sun be in your guests eyes? You want your guests to be present at your wedding and having your guests comfortable is the easiest way to ensure this.
If possible seat your guests in the shade (unless you are having a winter wedding!) and try to avoid them looking directly into the sun to watch you say 'I do'.
Note: This tip also works for you guys, the bride and groom! If you are having a summer wedding with a ceremony outside, chances are you don't want to be standing directly in the sun for the whole ceremony - even if it is short!
Perfect ceremony photos
Another tip I have learnt for your ceremony is location will effect your ceremony photos. If you want amazing photos of you two saying 'I do', you and your partner want to either stand in the shade or have the sun behind you.
The sun can create harsh shadows so try to avoid being positioned so it is only throwing light on one side of your face. Having the sun directly in your face can also cause nasty photos AND you may find you end up squinting - which doesn't exactly scream amazing wedding photos.
First look photos
I love, love, love first look wedding photos! They are completely untraditional, which is something I really like but more importantly they free up your time on your wedding day.
First look photos are taken before your ceremony and can be taken with just you and your partner or with your wedding party as well. They allow for beautiful, candid, reaction photos which are always amazing and more intimate moments as you can generally organise yourself more time before the ceremony than you can between your ceremony and tea.
First look photos also optimise how long you get to spend with your family and friends (and it allows you to enjoy more of the catering and venue that you are paying for)! Instead of having to run off and take wedding photos after your ceremony, first look allows you to stay around and soak in the love after you say 'I do'.
Lastly, taking first look wedding photos are a wonderful way to add in some quiet moments just with your partner before the day begins.
Note: You can always choose to still take some snaps after your wedding ceremony even if you do take first look photos!
Another thing I have learnt is about the schedule of your reception.
I really recommend getting the official parts of your reception done ASAP to help you and your guests have a truly memorable night.
Whether you do it at the start of the reception or straight after entrees, get your speeches done as soon as possible for those that are nervous about them. I also suggest cutting the cake towards the start of your night. The kitchen will thank you for this as it gives them time to divide it for dessert. You can also do the bouquet toss (and garter toss if you wish) between the main meal and dessert.
By having these parts of your reception towards the start of your night will also ensure that your photographer can capture everything you want.
My last tip for your reception is if you are doing a first dance I highly recommend serving dessert before you do this as it is the perfect way to start the dance floor and if you serve dessert afterwards often guests will sit down and not return to dancing once finished.
Extra Reception Suggestion: Consider what size your wedding cake is especially if you are choosing to not to have it as your dessert/only dessert. Although wedding cakes are beautiful for photos, they aren’t a major feature of your wedding and if they aren’t eaten you will have a lot left over!
Wedding photography time
My last tip is actually quite simple and will help you get amazing wedding photos!
I highly recommend putting away at least an hour and a half away for your wedding photos. Often your wedding photo time is eaten into after the ceremony due to one thing or another and this can make creating the perfect wedding photos really hard for your wedding photographer!
I would usually suggest that your family photos will take about half an hour, your wedding party photos will take about half an hour and then you will want about half an hour for photos with just you and your partner.
Essentially, the more time you can put away for wedding photos the better!
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