June 16, 2011

Top 10 “Musts” For Couples Seeking Great Photos


1.  Nice hanger

Yes, maybe not the most important one on the list but one of the most simple.  This helps the photographer get really great shots of the dress(es) or suit(es) before the wedding.


2.  Find venues with natural light

This isn’t always easy in a small city, like the one in which I live.  It doesn’t matter how good your photographer is with artificial lighting, sunlight is always favorable.  Sunlight can create a beautiful glow on the couple during the ceremony or make for great photo ops before all the festivities get started. Pick a room for your dressing room that has windows.  Also, if you can, get a seat near the window in the salon.  Ask your photographer if they suggest any places in your area.


3.  Practice

Feel weird about the more serious pictures but love the romantic feel?  Practice in front of the mirror.  The photographer is there to help you look your best, but it helps to build up your confidence by smiling in the mirror.  It sounds strange, but if you know what you are going to look like in front of the camera, then you’ll be confident. That confidence is going to make for great pictures.  Also (#9) the engagement shoot is GREAT practice.  That’s why I always include them in my packages.

Outdoor Muncie Indiana Wedding | Jennifer Van Elk Photography | Eaton Indiana_148

4.  Smile, relax and be confident

Confidence is going to be the key to your satisfaction with your pictures.  If you work the camera and KNOW that you are awesome, then those pictures are going to be awesome.  You’ve already picked your photographer knowing that they are going to do a good job, so no worries!  The one thing that stresses couples out the most is being on time for their ceremony.  I’ve had a few couples get a little nervous about being punctual. This is your day. It can’t start until you are there and no one is going to think twice about it. I only say this to assure my couples, but really I’ve never had a couple late to the ceremony.
Smiling isn’t that hard on the happiest day of your life, but you’d be surprised how the stress can get to you.  Take a deep breath, relax, and focus on the most important thing of the day: being wed to the love of your life.  Nothing will change that.  A destroyed cake, the power going out, or missing rings will not keep you from marrying that special person.  If you just focus on that, you will not stop smiling the entire day.


5.  A First Look

If you aren’t sure what the first look is, I plan on writing more about it in my next post.  This moment, where the couple sees each other for the first time on the wedding day. It’s shared by no one but the two of you (and your photographer).   Having a first look before the ceremony will not only calm nerves but it will also make for really amazing pictures.  The only time you will be alone with your significant other during your wedding day will be during this brief time (unfortunately).  Weddings are fast-paced, and it’s nice to have a quiet moment to spend time with the person for which you are doing all this.  I will go into more detail about a first look and why it makes for great photos in my next entry.


6.  Start the dancing as soon as possible.

The more people on the dance floor the better the dancing photos.  The longer you wait to start the dancing, the more people there are that will leave without a chance to kick it out on the floor.  Even those who might have planned on leaving early in the reception might stick around for a couple of dances once the music starts playing.

Wedding Party

7.  Give your photographer time to take pictures

Wedding photographers understand that the day will be fast-paced, and we plan for it. If you give your photographer time to shoot the wedding party and couple portraits, your photographer will have time to be creative.  If you give your photographer 10 minutes to do everything, your photographer will only have a short time in which to cram tons of pictures.  Plan for a least two hours of photos.  45 minutes-1 hour of family photos (if you are going the traditional route) and 1 hour for wedding party portraits.  If you have more time- GREAT!  Plan for more time if you can, and if you get burnt out, then let your photographer know that you are at your absolute limit.  The last thing your photographer wants to do is cause more stress.

Muncie Indiana Wedding Photography | Horizon Convention Center | Jennifer Van Elk_030

8. Hire or make sure you have a second shooter

As much as I wish I could be at two places at one time, I can not do it.  A second shooter is a must for a variety of pictures.  For example, if I’m in the chapel before the walk down the aisle, I’m getting all the pictures of the guests and those in the chapel but I’m not getting any shots of those behind closed doors.  This is a very special moment.  I only had one photographer at my wedding, because my husband and I were on an extremely tight budget, but if someone would have told me the importance, I would have got a second shooter.  Before I walked down the aisle, my dad started crying. If there had been a second photographer their with me before I walked down the aisle, then that moment could have been captured.  That moment wasn’t captured, but I’ve learned from it, and I encourage my couples to have a second shooter.

Muncie Indiana Engagement | Muncie Wedding Photography | Livingroom | Muncie Downtown | Jennifer Van Elk_022

9. Give your photographer ideas for photos and have an engagement shoot

Some photographers hate when you suggest photos or poses to them, but I’m actually inspired by it.  Some of my couples will says, “I saw this one pose I really liked,” or “this ad in Vogue had (…).”  It tells me what style of photography my couple likes.  If you are someone that is particular, I would recommend doing this.  A good photographer will take those poses and put their own creative twist to it.  The one thing I do ask is that you don’t expect it to be exact, because your photographer honestly wants to give you unique photos.   The best way to get images that you want is to do an engagement shoot and let your photographer know what your favorites were from the shoot.  This way your photographer gets an idea of what you like and then can expand on those ideas for the wedding session.  Think of the engagement as practice for the wedding.


10.  Have a post-wedding shoot

Honestly I suggest these post-wedding shoots to my couples because I love doing them.  When a couple isn’t worrying about getting dirty, the photographer can shoot some amazing pictures!  Have you seen shots in a field with the couple are sitting in the grass? Or how about a shot of the couple in the ocean?  These are more than likely from a post-shoot.  Some will spend thousands on their attire and once it’s worn,  you’ll never wear it again. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to have super fun portraits in that attire?

I hope this helps with your planning! Best wishes!

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