7 Tips to Get The Best Wedding Photos on Your Wedding Day

Featured photo of bride getting ready for 7 tips for best wedding photos blog post by White House Wedding Photography

It’s your wedding day, and you want to get the best wedding photos, but how do you do that? You have been planning for and dreaming of this day for years. And your loved ones are gathering to share in your celebration of love. The dance floor is waiting, the champagne is chilled – every little detail has been tended to, and now it’s time to walk down the aisle and join forces with your one true love.

So many beautiful moments will unfold on your perfect day. From your family and friends, the sweet cake, the music, his gentle touch, the smell of fresh flowers, to the tears in his eyes, capturing it all is a must. In this post, I give you seven tips to help you get the best wedding day photos.
So let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Pre-Wedding Day Preparation For Best Wedding Photos

Getting the best wedding photos on your wedding day takes preparation, which starts with booking the best photographer. Nevertheless, hiring the best photographer does not guarantee to get the best pictures on your wedding day. 

When you hire a wedding photographer, your participation in the photo creation process is paramount. There must be mutual cooperation between you and the photographer because everything you do and wear affects the aesthetic of the images. For example, the photographer will have no control over the types and quality of your clothes or the hairstyle and makeup you choose. Nor will a photographer have any control over the location you choose! 

Your photographer can make recommendations, but it will be up to you to follow them. So here are some quick tips to help you to prepare for your wedding day photos:

  1. Book a top experience photographer whose photos and personality you love.
  2. Book a picturesque venue for your wedding. Yea, I know! What does a venue have to do with beautiful pics? The background plays a crucial role in the aesthetic of your photos. 
  3. Ensure you secure beautiful accommodation with beautiful views and is large enough for your entire party, makeup, and hairstylist. Avoid dark, cluttered accommodations at all costs!
  4. Ensure your wedding day wardrobe is drop-dead gorgeous. You don’t have to break the bank to have beautiful wedding day clothes. 
  5. Hire hairstylists and makeup artists who are experienced in the wedding industry. They will know what styles and products best suit your taste and the wedding environment. Also, remember that most weddings are all-day events. So if you get your make done at 10:00 a.m., you still want it to look fabulous at 4:00 p.m. in the evening.    
  6. Consider consulting with a skin care specialist up to 12 months from your wedding because some skin care treatments can take months to see the result. 
  7. You will wear a smile for the camera, family, and friends all day. And nothing makes a person feel more confident than pearly white teeth. So start your research early.
  8. Highly recommend that you do an engagement shoot with your photographer. It builds confidence and will help you to feel comfortable in front of the camera on your wedding day. 
  9. Decide on doing a FIRST LOOK! The first look is seeing each other for the first time before you walk down the aisle. It is usually done in privacy with just the two of you, and it can be very emotional and sweet.
  10. Boys, about 2 weeks out, ensure you know how to tie a bowtie or necktie. Also, take some time to learn how to pin a boutonniere. Pinning a boutonniere is more challenging than it looks. So trust me, and learn how to do this correctly. It will make a world of difference in the photos. 
  11. Practice poses before a mirror approximately 2 – 3 weeks from your wedding. You are not practicing to be a model! It’s more of a posture thing-heads up, shoulders back, stomach in sort of thing!
  12. Approximately 2 – 3 days out, you must determine if you will be making a getting-ready toast. If you are, ensure you have enough bubblies, whisky, cognac, or beverage of choice and enough glasses or mugs for everyone.
  13. Bride, think about who you want to help get you into that gorgeous dress. Generally, this is your mom, a sister, or your MOH. Also, leave the accessories for last, especially the earrings. 
  14. The night before traveling to the getting-ready location, check and triple-check everything you need to take with you. Your dress, veil, tux, jewelry, shoes, accessories, stationaries such as save the date and thank you cards, etc. You don’t need to do all these things by yourself. Delegate to your attendants as much as possible.  

That’s about it for the pre-wedding day photos! Just remember to lean on your team for help.

Photo of Best Wedding Ceremony Set up
Best wedding photo of altar at Crystal Plaza Venue

2. Wedding Day Getting Ready Photos

For the most part, your wedding day photography coverage will start when you and your bridal party are getting ready. Here are a few things to be aware of to ensure that you get the best getting-ready wedding photos. 

  1. Keep the getting-ready suite uncluttered. Boys, this includes your getting-ready suite too!
  2. Have all the pretty little things to be a photograph in one place. Items like jewelry, shoes, tux, sox, belts, dress veils, rings, etc.
  3. Don’t worry about styling anything. The photographer will choose the location with the best lighting and style wardrobe and accessories as needed. 
  4. Bouquets and boutonnieres are usually delivered to the bride’s and the groom’s suits sometime during the getting ready phase. One key thing to look out for when these beautiful and delicate pieces are delivered is that they are prepared to stay fresh. The bouquets’ tips should be placed in water and kept in a cool place until they are ready to be used. 
  5. Boutonnieres should get sprits of water gently and kept in a cool place until they are ready to be used. For the most part, your floweriest will be on top of this, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. 
  6. Boys, put your jacket on last. Pinning the boutonniere on your coat before putting it on is a good idea. For photo-perfect results, boutonnieres are pinned on the broader part of the jacket’s left lapel. 

Whew! Getting beautiful wedding photos sounds like a pain in you know what :). How will you find the time to ensure all these things happen? Don’t worry! Your attendants should have your back. If I can make any suggestions here, it would be to choose your bridesmaid and groomsmen very carefully. Choose people you can depend on and keep the lines of communication open. 

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Photo of bride’s earrings for best wedding day photos
Bride and her attendant's fun getting ready best wedding day photos

3. Be Camera Ready And Get The Best Wedding Photos!

Ok! So you are all done up and looking and feeling radiantly beautiful. Your man or woman looks dapper, and you are both ready for your Vogue cover shots. Not so fast!!! Hopefully, before you even get to this point, you have done an engagement photo session with your photographer and have been practicing some good posture. Being in front of the camera can feel awkward if you are not a pro model, trust me, I know. That was me some years ago!

But here is a little tip that will have you camera ready in a minute: Understand that the movements are minimal when you are in front of the camera. If your photographer said a little to the right, don’t take a step to the right. Try not to focus on the photographer and the camera. Instead, focus on living in the moment. Smell the flowers, feel his gentle touch, and fall in love all over again and again! Your photographer will work their magic, and you will fall in love whenever you see those photos. 

Photo of bride getting ready for tips on getting the best wedding photos
Photo of bride getting ready for tips on getting the best wedding photos
Photo of bride getting ready for tips on getting the best wedding photos

Consider Doing First Look Wedding Photos

There are two options after you are fully dressed and ready. Option one is to depart to the ceremony location to get married, and option two is to do a FIRST LOOK with your love. But here is the thing! If you genuinely want to get many incredible beautiful wedding photos, consider doing a FIRST LOOK!

There is a reason why many top wedding photographers highly recommend doing a first look! Here are a few of the benefits of having a first look:

  1. Reduce stress caused by family, friends, and your own expectations and the fear of not meeting those expectations.
  2. You will see each other in a quiet and private location. Just the two of you! You can hug, kiss and cry without the judging eyes of families and friends.  
  3. Most couples don’t realize it’s a rush to get to the grand exit after the wedding ceremony. This is even more true when many activities are packed into the reception. So doing a first look lets the photographer get many photos before the reception.
  4. More time to mingle with your guests without feeling the rush to take photos. 99% of the time, when couples don’t do a first look, they will miss the cocktail hour because they will be busy taking pictures.

These are only a few of the benefits of doing a first look. One thing to remember is that if your ceremony is close to sunset, then it is highly recommended that you do a first look. Because you will not have enough daylight to create those beautiful newlywed pictures you have dreamed of. And this is where I will leave it for the first look!

Best wedding day photo of bride doing a first look with her bridesmaids.

4. Ceremony Wedding Photos

To get some amazing wedding photos at the ceremony, consider the following:

  1. Consider having an Unplug Wedding Ceremony. An Unplug Wedding Ceremony is when your guest are asked to refrain from taking photos at your ceremony. Because your guests will unintentionally obstruct the photographer’s view and prevent them from capturing the crucial moments of your ceremony. Believe me, it does happen! 
  2. Set a dress code and ensure that all your guests know the dress code well in advance. I have photographed too many wedding ceremonies where some guests dressed so inappropriately that the bride cries when she sees the photos. 
  3. Give your bouquet to your maid of honor (MOH) at the altar, and remember to stand and face each other so that your photographer and your guests can see your faces. If you are having a catholic wedding, that may not be possible. 
  4. When you exchange rings, do it slowly with your hands tilted towards your photographer and guests. 
  5. Hold the first kiss longer than usual so your photographer can get some shots. 

That’s about it for getting the best wedding photos at your wedding ceremony. Just make sure you tell your photographer every little detail you plan for the ceremony so they can be prepared to capture it. 

Photo of wedding ceremony | Tips for getting the best
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5. Post Ceremony Pictures

The ceremony is over, and I’m ready to party. Rock on! I’m with you, but before we can get to the party, let’s wrap up a few things before moving on.

From my experience of over ten years of photographing weddings, the officiant typically wants to have a portrait with the newlywed. Furthermore, you may need ten to fifteen minutes to sign the marriage license, which is usually a good wedding photo opportunity. Select a well-lit, uncluttered, and private area for signing the license.

6. Wedding Party And Family Photos

If you decide not to do a first look, you must do the wedding party and family photos right after the ceremony. However, regardless of when the wedding party and family photos are created, here are some essential things that can make the process smooth and enjoyable:

  1. Submit a family shot list to your photographer before your wedding. The family shot list should have the name and relations of the family members you want to photograph—for example, the bride’s mother – Emily, the bride’s grandmother – Silvia, etc. 
  2. Designate someone who knows your family well to assist the photographer in getting pictures of all the immediate family members. This is critical when you have a large family. 
  3. Ensure that all the bouquets are available. Often, the bridesmaids are eager to get rid of the bouquets and toss them or leave them behind.

Cocktail Hour Photos

The cocktail hour generally occurs after the ceremony and is a short social event. Think of it as a high-end happy hour! It is a perfect time to grab a snack and something to drink as you mingle with your guests! 

Fortunately, there is little to prepare for to get the best cocktail hour photos. Most photos created during the cocktail hour will be of a canid or photojournalist style. However, if you choose not to do a first look and want to get candid shots of your guests at the happy hour, consider booking a second photographer. 

Newlywed Couple’s Photos

The newlywed couple’s photo session follows the wedding party and family session. Remember that these photos will most likely be selected for your family heirloom album and wall prints for your home. Therefore you must think carefully and plan fittingly to ensure you get the best pictures. Here are a few tips to help you get the best wedding photos from the couple’s session:

  1. First and foremost, ensure enough time is allocated in your timeline for you to get a quick bite and freshen up your makeup and hair before the photo session starts. Ten to 15 minutes should do it.
  2. Don’t bustle your dress yet! Your photographer will need to get shots of the dress train. 
  3. Make sure you have your bouquet for the session.
  4. Have your MOH tag along with you to provide assistance as needed.
  5. Enjoy the session – be in the moment, and feel the love!
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Photo of bride and groom | Tips for best couple’s photo
Photo of bride and groom | Tips for best couple’s photo
Photo of bride and groom | Tips for best couple’s photo

7. Wedding Reception Photos

After completing the couples photos session, plan to freshen up a few minutes before getting to the grand entrance. Some couples go all out to make this event a spectacular fun event with music, dancing, etc. Whatever you choose to do, please don’t forget to let your photographer know. 

Often times the grand entrance is followed by the first dance. The first dance marks the first time you and your newly minted life partner dance together as a married couple. Your first dance is usually followed by the mother and son dance and the father and daughter dance. 

The remainder of the night will unfold according to your planned events. Some common wedding receptions events are:

  1. Toast to the newlywed
  2. Cutting the cake
  3. Bouquet and garter toss
  4. Open dance floor
  5. Grand exit

These are just a few of the many events you can incorporate into your wedding reception. But, nevertheless, don’t overdo it! In all my years photographing weddings, couples who tend to pack too many events into their reception. And always, always remember to keep your photographer informed of what will be happening during the reception!

Let’s Take it Home!

In the end, if you get nothing else from this post, and getting the best wedding photos is a must, don’t skimp on hiring a professional wedding photographer. I promise you will not regret it. Better yet, I know a fantastic wedding photographer who is dying to talk to you! So let’s connect and start a conversation about how I can help you get your dream wedding photos!

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