a few simple tips for getting great wedding pictures

 These simple tips will make for fabulous and unforgettable photography-because really, that is the one thing from your wedding day you will have to look back on, right? 
1. Pick an outdoor location
I am so lucky that I have had the opportunity to photograph people in love for over a decade now. I have worked at numerous venues, across the country, but I have to say an outdoor location is by far the best backdrop for gorgeous wedding photography. There are a lot of of options for both formal and informal outdoor weddings, you set the tone. If this isn’t possible, at the very least, set aside a portion of your wedding photography for some outdoor time. By picking a natural outdoor location you are automatically going to get natural beautiful light. There are so many options for tenting, that if the weather should be a bit rainy, it’s OK. Also check the Old Farmers Almanac for predictions… I know a few  brides and wedding event planners who have picked a date based according to the Almanac. Spring, Summer and Fall are all great times to get married outdoors (especially in New England).

2. Follow your own rules.
Be genuine to yourselves, the rest will follow suit. Trends come and go, do you really want to date your wedding with of-the-moment trends? I know it’s tempting, but limit your time on Pinterest and tons of “How To’s”, and please stop looking at other people’s weddings as a comparison! Ok, I get it, it’s fun to look at images of beautiful things on Pinterest, I am guilty of this; it’s great for those dreamy days when you are bored. It can be a great tool for gathering information in one place, and figuring out what type of place-settings, and flowers you like.  With that being said, I often follow my brides on Pinterest because it allows me to know them, but I don’t use it to copy wedding images. Sharing a common aesthetic with your wedding photographer is important. BUT this is your wedding and you are unique, and your images from your wedding day should reflect the couple you are, not another couple.
 Don’t ask your photographer to emulate an exact picture on Pinterest, from another photographer or magazine, not only is it copyright infringement, but you should trust that your photographer knows you guys and your style, and will capture you naturally in the way you are, not someone else’s vision.
3. Let your Photographer get to know you

It’s ok to tell your photographer  little things about you,  where you met, how you fell in love, what foods you like, your pet peeves, what makes you two laugh. As silly as it may seem to you, these are the things that help us know you guys, and who you are. So share away as much as you like with your wedding photographer! I have built really solid relationships with my clients, many have ended up friends and repeat clients as their family grows. You should establish some sort of relationship with your photographer before the wedding day. I never just show up with a camera, on the day of the wedding without having gotten to know you. An engagement session is ideal for you to get to know your photographer and visa-versa. If an engagement session isn’t in the cards, I suggest a lunch, a coffee meeting, or if you live long distance, Skype . I have had a few clients who I have gotten to know over the course of phone-calls and emails, because life was too hectic for them to make it possible to meet face to face. Your wedding photographer doesn’t have to be your best friend, but you should feel comfortable with them. I have had many brides say to me that they felt like another friend was in the room with them while they were getting ready. Feeling comfortable around your photographer is the key ingredient. They can be the worlds most sought after wedding photographer, but if you don’t “click” it just won’t work.

I am showing up knowing you, the result is richly detailed photographs each of which tells a story.
4. Get rid of the shot list
Be flexible enough to throw away your “shot list” and pre existing notions. Follow your gut, and trust your photographers instincts. It’s helpful to jot down important family members, and close friends, but aside from that, a professional photographer does not need to be reminded to get pictures of your first dance, your Dad’s toast, or your bridesmaids. The day is going to go by in a flash, and sometimes people are not where they are supposed to be. Don’t worry. A good photographer will be able to adapt to any situation. Rain or Shine. Shot lists are only helpful to newbies, and many professional photographers are offended by them. If you have seen your photographers’ work and love it, trust that your photographer will capture you in a organic way. More often than not, nowadays, I have brides tell me they don’t want x, y, or z and leave the rest up to me. A detailed shot list can sometimes actually hinder your photographer from creating natural candid moments, because they are overly concerned with checking a list, and missing organic moments. I always meet up with my clients beforehand to get the lay-out of the players. I ask about family dynamics, what kind of group shots they are looking for, if any, and once I get a feel for what the client wants, I am ready to go the day-of. Let your photographer know the important people in your lives, i.e.: “My grandmother flew out from Florida and we really want some candids of the two of us “. That type of information is important in making sure your beloved ones are captured in great moments. The more we know about family dynamics the better. In other words, let go, and be in the moment as much as you can!5. Think about the light
First off, allow plenty of time for pictures. If the ceremony is at 3:00 don’t have your photographer show up at 2:30. Give yourselves plenty of time so no one feels rushed or nervous. Allow for spontaneity! Be willing to walk off during cocktail hour or midway through the reception if there is a great sunset. Think about the light on the day of your wedding. If you are getting married at 6:00pm, and the sun sets at 7:30, it only allows a brief time for outdoor pictures (you may consider having your photographer come early, and leave earlier). Night-time pictures are fun, but in reality there are only so many images of people dancing you want. Make sure you use your photographers’ time wisely.  If you have a photographer for 7 or 8 hours (which is typical)  focus more on the day-light hours, and less on the late night reception hours. Make sure you and your photographer are not rushed into a timeline. The magic hour AKA the golden hour, is about the last hour of light before the sun sets, this lends itself to dramatic, moody shots, while early morning light is very soft, romantic and forgiving.
Hope that helps. Have any other questions? Feel free to email me!
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