How to Get Amazingly Beautiful Wedding Photographs!

Wedding photograph of wedding rings and band by White House Wedding Photography

Getting some fantastic wedding photographs on the day of your wedding is an essential part of your perfect day. Because of all the many things purchased to make your day magical, your wedding pictures will be the only thing you will have left long after your wedding.

The music will stop playing, the Champaign and the food will be long gone, and your dress will be packed away if not donated to charity. However, all the fun memories, the laughter, and cheers, the tears in his eyes as he saw you during the first look, will be captured and preserved for generations. Therefore, it is paramount that you get some stunningly beautiful wedding photographs on your big day!

In this post, I will give you some tips on what to do and what not to help you get the photos you will love and cherish forever.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Do Set a Budget Before You Start Searching 

The first thing that I would recommend you do is set a budget. It makes no sense to start looking at photographers’ portfolios without knowing how much you can afford to pay. Understand that amazing will cost more than ok! 

Typically, your wedding photography will be approximately 10% to 12% percent of your overall wedding budget. For example, if your overall wedding budget is $40,000, your breakdown could look something like this:

  1. 30% Wedding Venue = $12,000
  2. 30% Food & Drink = $12,000
  3. 20% Flowers, Décor, Rentals = $8,000
  4. 10% Photography = $4,000
  5. 5% Dress = $2,000
  6. 5% Miscellaneous = $2,000

As you can see from the above breakdown – 10% of your overall budget is a small price to pay for wedding photographs. 

Don’t Skimp on Your Wedding Photographer!

Look! Simply put, you will get what you paid for. You can’t expect to purchase ok and get fabulous. When you pick a photographer to capture and preserve the beautiful moments on your wedding day, don’t cheap out. Remember that the pictures you will receive will be treasured for the rest of your life. 

I can’t say it enough, DON’T SKIMP on your photographer. Invest your money wisely by thinking about the long term and not just your wedding day. Yes, you want amazingly beautiful photos, but you also want to have an unforgettable experience with your photographer. You want a photographer that not only takes gorgeous photo but one who has a warm and fun personality to boot. So, don’t compromise on price over quality!

Do Your Research

The process of getting fantastic wedding photographs begins with picking a photographer whose work you love. It is also essential that the photographer you choose has the personality and temperament that you will enjoy. Sound easy, yea?

It is a good idea to have your wedding venue already booked but not necessary. You want to have your venue booked before picking your wedding photographer because you want to search for photographers that service that location. If you have not selected your wedding venue, no worries. You can still pick your wedding photographer.

Start your research by reviewing the photographer’s online portfolio. You can use Google sheets to keep your research organized and to compare photographers. 

Many people will suggest that you figure out which photography style you like when looking for your wedding photographer. I’m going to tell you to forget worrying about the photographer’s style! Really! What I want you to focus on is what you like about the photographer’s photos. Here are some things to consider when looking at potential wedding photographers portfolios:

  1. Sharpness – are the photos sharp, or are they blurry?
  2. Colors – are the colors natural, or are they manipulated. Some photographers may use filters and special processing to give the photos a specific aesthetic (not necessarily a bad thing). So are the greens, green, reds red, blues blue, etc.? Pay close attention to skin tones.
  3. Clean – are there any distracting things in the photos. When I am creating a picture, I don’t just look at the subject. I look at everything in the image frame, and if it is distracting or doesn’t compliment the photo, I will move it or change location.
  4. Lighting – are the photos adequately lit? Watch out for lighting that cast shadows around the subject eyes. Are there lots of shadows and lighted areas in the pictures? Can you see the details in the dress?
  5. Pose – do the subjects in the photos look too posey? Look at the hands – do they look awkward or natural?

If you grab my wedding photographer comparison Google sheet – you can use it to compare your list of prospective photographers. Grab the Wedding Photographer Comparison Sheet!

Don’t Get Caught Up in Trying to Learn & Identify All the Styles

Please do not get caught up in trying to learn all the photography styles. If you want an overview of the four main styles, read my post “4 Wedding Photography Styles Every Bride Should Know”! I don’t want you to get wrapped up in learning and identifying the styles because I think it is a waste of your time. And here is why:

  1. There are several styles listed between the Knot, Brides, and the gazillions of other wedding blogs. And you know what? Each publication has a different list of wedding photography styles, with some publication’s lists overlapping. For example, one publication will list digital, film, classic, etc. as styles. In contrast, another publication will list dark and moody, Arial, landscape, etc. as wedding photography styles. So, trying to learn the styles can be daunting, to say the least.
  2. Furthermore, I don’t recommend spending your valuable time trying to learn photography styles because professional wedding photographers are versatile in many styles. Your wedding day is filled with multiple events in multiple locations, with a variation of lighting and challenges. Your wedding photographer will use the style that best fits the situation as they unfold. 

Don’t worry so much about the styles – just make sure you like the photographer’s photos and personality.

Do Choose Beautiful Venue & Locations for Couple’s Wedding Photographs

If amazingly beautiful wedding photographs are a must for you, make sure you chose a picturesque venue. Yea, you may spend a fortune on a top photographer, but if your wedding is in a crappy location, your photographs will look like crap. 

There is only so much a professional wedding photographer can do regardless of how experienced they are. Consider the locations for the couple’s/newlywed’s session too. The photos from your couple’s session are the ones that make up your heirloom album and wall prints. So, you want to make sure you have a stunning backdrop to bring those photos to life. 

Do Schedule an Engagement Photo Session 

Doing an engagement photo session with your photographer a few months before your wedding is a great way to set yourself up to get some beautiful wedding photographs. The engagement session is like a trial run. It is an opportunity for you to get to know your photographer and experience what it feels like to work with them. You want to make sure that you take the time to plan your engagement session. Choose a beautiful location that compliments you and your love personality. 

Don’t Worry About Posing 

Unless you are a professional model, most brides will get nervous in front of the camera and tense up when posing. To avoid looking awkward in your wedding photographs, don’t get obsessed with posing – just focus on expressing your love to each other. 

Your photographer will provide guidance in posing so that you look gorgeous in your photos. Also, doing an engagement photo session will help you get comfortable in front of the camera and prepare you to create some epic wedding day photographs. 

Don’t Cram Too Many Events into Your Wedding Day

When planning your wedding, think about the events you would like to have on your wedding day and how they will impact your wedding photographs. You don’t want to schedule so many events that you don’t have enough time for your couple’s session or golden hour portraits. Additionally, your wedding day will probably feel like the longest day of your life, and you will be exhausted. Plus, you will be on a tight time schedule. 

Do a First Look 

A first look is when the bride and the groom see each other before the ceremony. It is really a sweet and romantic private moment that relieves many of the wedding day stress. Doing a first look will allow you to create some beautiful wedding photographs while your makeup and hairstyle are still fresh. Furthermore, you will be able to get a lot more pictures as opposed to not doing the first look. I strongly encourage doing a first look, especially during the winter months, when the days are shorter. 

Do Keep the Lines of Communication Open 

Communicating with your photographer may seem like a no brainer to you. But you would be surprised how many couples hire a photographer but don’t give them the full scoop on how their wedding day will unfold. Keep your photographer in the loop. Share a draft of your wedding day timeline with your photographer. 

Don’t Overthink It

Finally, don’t overthink it! If you hire a professional wedding photographer whose work and personality you love, then trust them—no need to micromanage your photographer. Listen to the suggestion they give you. 

Personally, I have an investment in every couple that hires me. I want my couples to have the best experience ever. Because if they do, they will tell everyone which means more business for me. Therefore I will go above and beyond to deliver an unforgettable experience.  

Have questions? Let’s connect here.

If you like this post, you may also be interested in these other posts:

First Look Wedding Photos | What Every Bride Needs to Know

5 Reasons Why Having Engagement Photos Taken is a Good Idea