1. Try to keep the prep area free of clutter.
This can be difficult…especially in a small hotel room where 12 girls are all trying to get ready at once. But keeping all bags, makeup, dresses, etc. to one side of the room will make for much prettier images! When it comes time to zip up the dress, you won’t have to worry about trying to move shoes, purses, curling irons, and drinks out of the shot!
2. Gather all your details the night before.
Details include: garter, rings, shoes, perfume, jewelry, and anything sentimental that you want photographed. I always suggest that brides keep all these things in a bag separate from their other wedding day essentials. That way, your photographer can simply take the bag and find a good place to photograph everything. This is perfect so that you don’t have to stop whatever you’re doing and try to locate every little item you want pictures of.
3. Think carefully about ceremony lighting.
The softest prettiest light - otherwise known as the “golden hour” - is the hour leading up to sunset. However, every venue has a different lighting situation. For example, if you have an indoor venue and all the windows face east…natural light is going to disappear a lot quicker than if you’re out in the middle of a field. Likewise, the indoor venue might be stunning at 2pm. But that field is going to be extremely tough to photograph in midday light (and you’ll be squinting!) Visit the venue as early as you can to get an idea of the lighting situation and ask your photographer if they’ve shot there before. Chances are they can offer some advice.
4. Hire a day-of coordinator.
Let me put it this way: there will be at least 6 (usually more) vendors arriving/setting up/running around on your wedding day. Without a coordinator, those vendors will be coming up to you (and probably your mother) all day with questions and concerns. While they are just trying to give you the best experience possible, this can be so overwhelming for a bride. Especially because she will already be feeling a lot of jitters. Having one person in charge makes it easier to keep track of everything and everyone so that you don’t have to. That way, we don’t waste valuable time (trying to figure out when the flowers are arriving, or where three groomsmen wandered off to) that could be used for pictures!
5. Consider doing a "first look"
Okay, okay. This can be a touchy subject. Usually brides are totally for it or totally against it. If the first look isn’t for you - no worries, I totally understand! But the reason I suggest it to brides isn’t to save time. It’s to get images like this one. It’s to give you an intimate moment with your fiancé that just can't be replaced. Walking down the aisle, while it’s a beautiful and emotional moment, will ultimately be a blur due to nerves. The first look gives you a chance to REALLY see each other and hold each other one last time before “I do”.
6. Create your family shot list ahead of time.
A few weeks before the wedding, I sit down with brides to come up with a list of groupings for family formals. On the day of the wedding, my second shooter calls out names while I snap away. This gets the family in and out efficiently so that there is more time to celebrate!
7. Don't be brainwashed by Pinterest.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a pinterest addict when it comes to home decor and recipes. But I often see brides that are so concerned with replicated images they've seen on pinterest, they miss out on the opportunity to have their wedding documented in an authentic way. If you see a shot on Pinterest that you just have to have, by all means, send it my way! But I (and most photographers I know) don't accept lists of ideas. You are beautiful and your wedding day will be beautiful - and THAT is the story I want to capture. Not someone else's.