Have a Clean and Bright Space to Get Ready In
Having a clean and tidy space goes a long way into good photos while the bride and bridesmaids are getting hair and makeup done. Too often I see rooms filled with clutter, which is understandable when five to ten people are in one room trying to get ready and dressed. Try having a small designated space or closet where everyone can stash their bags and clothes to minimize unsightly and distracting elements in the background of your photos.
It’s also good to pick a space with lots of good natural light. Photographers love being able to work without mixed light sources (window light plus incandescent). Having a lot of good soft window light is much more flattering than yellowish artificial light. Getting your makeup done in front of a large bright window is ideal for great getting ready images.
Plan Enough Time Before the Ceremony
Far too often does hair and makeup go late and throws a wrench into the rest of the wedding schedule. Allow more time than you think is necessary before the wedding to ensure you have time to get the photos you want. Before the ceremony is the perfect time to get images of the bridal party and groomsmen as well as a few bridal portraits if you did not schedule a bridal portrait session. Allow 20-30 minutes for the bridal party as well as 20-30 minutes for the groomsmen.
Consider a First Look for Winter Weddings
For weddings starting around October through March, there often isn’t enough daylight after the ceremony to take advantage of the natural light for great portraits. These bride and groom portraits are often the highlight of your photos and the ones you will likely have printed in your house for years to come. In the winter, the sun sets around 5:30pm, meaning any ceremony that doesn’t end before 4:30 or 5pm will likely mean having all of your portraits being taken in the dark or with artificial light. Plan on having at least 30 minutes before your ceremony for a first look where you are able to get bride and groom portraits taken in the good natural light. This is also a great time to photograph family pictures!
This is another part of the day that can slow down the wedding schedule after the ceremony and before the reception when everyone is ready to eat, drink, and have fun. Try keeping your list of family formal photos to as much of a minimum as possible and focus on your immediate families, any other extended family group photos can be taken during the reception.
Also designate a family member to assist in gathering family for each group shot that you want, someone that is able to identify each person and be able to have each person ready when it’s time for their group’s photo. Have a printed list of groups ready to go and plan on each group on taking at least 2-3 minutes, keep the list to no more than 10 groups if possible to keep the rest of your wedding day on time.
Plan Your Portraits for Golden Hour
This goes a long way into getting the most out of your wedding images and gives photographers the greatest flexibility on good locations. The 30-or-so minutes before the sun sets is prime time for portraits to be taken outside, make sure you set this time aside on your wedding day!
Take a Few Minutes for Nighttime Portraits
Take 15 minutes or so to get away during the reception for some alone time and get some creative portraits taken at night. This is a great time to get a shot in front of your lit up wedding venue or even under the stars!