How to Get the Best Wedding Photographs | 10 Insider Tips
What You Need to Know | To Get the BEST Wedding Photographs
This is a portrait of Courtney & Richard in 2006 before their wedding ceremony in San Clemente at El Adobe. Still, today I am moved by the love and emotion that they share . Recently Courtney referred me to her friends Kandace & Rick from New York City, who’s wedding I’ll be photographing in 2011 at Las Palmas Mansion in Laguna Hills.
You’ve Chosen The Prefect Wedding Dress | Now for the Prefect Wedding Photographs
Your big day has finally arrived! You’ve chosen the perfect wedding dress, an awesome location for your ceremony and reception, got gorgeous rings, picked out the sexiest shoes and sent a sweet note to you’re best friend, lover and future spouse on your wedding day. Hopefully all three are the same person. If not party on!
You’ve taken the time, allot of time, to find, to visit with, and hire the perfect wedding photographer, who will hopefully provide you with the best wedding photographs. But wait….this is your first experience ever with a professional wedding photographer, and there is so much to do on the wedding day. Sure, you’ve been in all your best friends weddings, but, that was different…kind-of.
So you hold your breath, cross your fingers, say a prayer and HOPE that she/he will provide the ultimate wedding photography coverage for you that you’ve always dreamed of. Ya know, those once in a life time images of your father giving you away. Images of your tears of joy as you slowly say the words “I DO!,” as your voice cracks a bit and your lower lip quivers. Those blissful and magical moments of just being married, there is a glow to your face and a knowing smile on your lips and that will all be captured by your photographer. Right? STOP! HOLD THAT THOUGHT!
Here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind to get the most out of your wedding photographer.
1. The Final Pre -Wedding Consultation
For every wedding that I photograph, I always have a final pre-wedding consultation with the bride and groom about 2 weeks prior to their wedding day. If they live in town we’ll meet face to face. If the bride and groom live out of state, Chicago, New York or San Francisco etc., I’ll cover the final pre-wedding consultation by telephone conference call, by Skype or iChat. This is a vital step to make sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to their wedding photography, and that I know exactly what the bride and groom’s expectations are and what is most important to them. During our final pre-wedding consultation we’ll discuss which photographs are most important, family groupings for portraits, and going over the wedding day time line in detail. Often there are multiple locations for pre-wedding photography, ceremony and reception. I also want to find out if there are any special activities during the wedding day: jugglers, elephants, sword swallowers, are the bride and groom arriving by hot air balloon? Stuff like that. This way my team and I are prepared and we are in-sync with the bride and groom and their families.
2. Are You Planning on Seeing Each Other Before Your Ceremony? Hidden Reasons Why You Should.
Emily & Brian seeing each other before their wedding ceremony at Estancia Resort in La Jolla
This can be a touchy subject. But I’ve gotta tell you, my brides that have seen their man before walking down the isle have each thanked me for two reasons: (1) It calmed their nerves. (2) The special alone time that they got to share with each other is a priceless gift that they’ll remember this moment for the rest of their lives through their wedding photographs.
And then there are 3 more reasons often not thought about that are sure to make your wedding more memorable and fun! (3) You’ll have amazing emotionally filled wedding photographs of the first time you see each other on your wedding day. (4) All your family and group wedding photographs are complete before the wedding has started while your makeup, flowers and dress are still prefect. (5) You get to attend your own wedding reception!
You: Marc, you are a stark raving lunatic dude! We love you but there is no way on earth I’m seeing my soul mate ahead of time.
Me: Okay, I’m a lover of options. Here’s my favorite one. Let’s do a day after session.
You: What’s that?
Me: Oh, this is my most favorite thing on the planet. It allows us to spend quality time together and not worry about breaking away and missing your own cocktail reception. Will just focus on photographing your families and bridal party on the day of your wedding. Then…. any time after your wedding day, we’ll spend about an hour and a half with each other and create amazing portraits of the two of you. This is usually done a day or so after your wedding, or, after you return from you honeymoon.
You: We love that idea Marc. Please sign us up for that. This is perfect. This way, we get to spend more time with our friends and family on our wedding day and attend our cocktail reception. That’s really important to us.
3. Are You A Micro Manager, A Detail Freak, Or… Are You a Giver?
After photographing over four hundred weddings, he best piece of advice that I can offer you is give any and all responsibility away on your wedding day. That’s what wedding coordinators are for. If you aren’t hiring a wedding coordinator, give it away to bride’s maids and groomsmen, not your mother! Let her enjoy her day too!! I’ve seen it too many times. Brides frantically micro managing, trying to arrange flowers, set out party favors, take care of some sort of coordination and getting totally stressed out. Stop. Just don’t even go there. If you want to enjoy yourself on your wedding day, make sure that you’ve taken care of all arrangements a few days ahead of time with vendors or friends that you trust. Delegation is the key. Just be a giver and give all your responsibilities away.
4. How to Get the Best Wedding Day Photographs of the Bride & Groom
Left: A beautiful wedding portrait of the Miriam and Nathan taken at the Turnip Rose, Costa Mesa.
Right: Taken just after their wedding during their 30 minute bride and groom portrait session on a private estate in San Diego.
Natalie & Fabio’s fabulous 30 minute fashion shoot right after their Mission San Juan Capistrano wedding. For some reason this is often the most overlooked part of the day. I find that so much thought goes into planning the theme and the overall look of a wedding, even major attention paid to the guest favors. To often there are so many activities condensed into 8 hours that little thought is given to how much time your photographer will need to photograph you. So here it is: Give your wedding photographer a minimum of 30 minutes alone with you. I can tell you from experience, that 5, 10 or 15 minutes is hardly enough time to make gorgeous portraits of the bride and groom. Give your photographer 30 stress free minutes to create an amazing portfolio of images for you. By giving your wedding photographer only 15 minutes, you will have to rush through the process. The last thing you want to do is to have to rush through anything on your wedding day, especially when it comes to your wedding day portraits.
5. How To Get Gorgeous Detail Photographs of Your Reception Site
I’m a detail freak! I love photographing wedding details and my photographer friends tease me about it, because I’m so good at it. Most times a bride will take a year or more to plan her wedding. So plan on allowing me 15-20 minutes to photograph your planning of your reception site. I guarantee you’ll be blown away by your reception detail images.
Shannon and Nate’s winter wedding at The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach.
How To Get the Best Wedding Reception Photographs
When photographing your reception site my focus is multifaceted. I use4-5 different lenses to capture all the details and the overall look of the room I’ll photograph in tight and then use a wide angle lens to get an overall feeling and the ambiance of the room. I’ll use a fisheye lens to take in the whole room or a whole table top. Then I’ll switch off to a telephoto lens to capture the wedding cake and switch back to a 50mm 1.2 my favorite lens to get small details of the table settings and little table top details. What I love about my 50mm 1.2 is that I can focus sharply on an object and totally blur our the background. For us photographer geeks that’s called bokeh or shallow depth of field and is a desirable element to isolate details and is used in wedding portraits too.
6. Why You Should Hire a Wedding & Event Planner
A wedding is a series of mini events over the course of the day or over the course of several days. It takes allot of logistical planning and attention to the smallest detail. An experienced wedding and event planner is worth their weight in platinum (more expensive than gold!). Your wedding and event planner will make sure that family and friends are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there, that events start on time and that all the little and big details are taken care of. Here are just a few details: Flowers and florals, making sure there is a steamer for your dress, hair & make up, band or d.j., place settings, reception linens, guest favors, place cards, seating arrangements, grand entrance, ceremony coordination, tea ceremony, rehearsal dinner and the list goes on and on.
When you hire a wedding and event professional you are hiring them to bring your vision to life and to ensure piece of mind. You trust them and know that they are there to make sure that your wedding will be as close to perfect as possible. On your wedding day it all about being care free. A great wedding & event planner like Jeannie Savage at Details Details will make sure your wedding will turn out just like you imagined.
7. Hair & MakeUp….Hiring a Professional
If you are going to have a time over run, this is the first place that it is going to happen. I’ve seen countless brides incorrectly estimate how long it will take to get their makeup completed, ultimately delaying their wedding by over an hour. The bride should be the first to have her makeup and hair done so that she is ready to have her portraits taken.
Hiring a professional hair and makeup artist really does make a difference. They know what to hide and what to accentuate. I’ve seen brides with problem skin transformed to having Cindy Crawford glowing porcelain skin by hiring the right makeup artist. Its amazing what a talented makeup artist can do for you! If you have a large wedding party you’ll need to hire professional who works with a talented team. I’ve photographed wedding parties where there are 6,7 or even 8 bride’s maids. As the numbers of attendees increases so do the number of make-up and hair pro’s. On average it takes about 45 mins. – 1.5 hours per lady depending on how much makeup and if there are up-dos. Do yourself and your photographer a favor and hire a professional hair and makeup team that will keep you on time for your wedding and your photography.
8. How to Plan & Get The Perfect Sunset Wedding Photographs
Sunset portraits at a Ritz Carlton wedding, Laguna Niguel and a Casa Romantica wedding in San Clemente.
Sunset is one of the most gorgeous times of the day when the light is soft and golden and the sky is filled with color. In order to get really stunning sunset wedding photographs you’ll need to break away from your wedding party about 15 minutes before the sun sets and allow about 15-20 minutes for your sunset portrait session. I always discuss the timing of sunset portraits with my couples at our final pre-wedding consultation. If wedding sunset portraits are important to them I’ll set up my lights ahead of time and gently let them know that its time to break away from the festivities for a bit.
9. 3 Ways to Look Slimmer for Your Wedding Photographs and a Bonus
A 2 second portrait of Natalie on her wedding day at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente.
Most people when having their wedding photographs taken will stand hips and shoulders directly towards that camera. Ladies, this is the least flattering pose for you. (1) Instead, what you really want to do is turn your body about 3/4’s away from the camera and away from the light, (2) turn your face back towards the camera, putting your weight on your back foot and (3) tilt your hips a little so that one hip is higher and the other a bit lower. (4) A bit of a head tilt is flattering too. Unless you’re a model or have spent some time in front of a camera you most likely wouldn’t know this. But, don’t worry I know just how to make sure that you always look your best for your portraits in a matter of seconds. And there is a whole quick and different mind set for photographing men.
10. How To Get Your Wedding Album 6 Weeks after Your Wedding
Beautiful hand-crafted LeatherCraftsmen ™ albums ready in 6 weeks for all our newlyweds.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories of newlyweds waiting 6 months to a year for their wedding album. But wouldn’t it be awesome to have your wedding album and be able to show it off within two months of your wedding day? Not possible you say.
Please read on…
The typical scenario for newlyweds after a wedding is…life starts again. There was a time warp for a year or so while planning your wedding. Time seemed to stand still. Sort of. Until your wedding day came around. For a while your wedding seemed so far off and then all of a sudden…Your big day is here. After your wedding you are either moving in with each other, consolidating houses, taking your honeymoon, switching jobs, or moving to another city or even starting a new family. Sound familiar? Because life moves so fast these days, as a complimentary service, we provide an album pre-design for you. Instead of having to sit down and sift through all your wedding images, and agree with your spouse about what to put into your wedding album, by the time you return from your honeymoon your album is ready to view and can be in your hands six weeks after you’ve seen your design ready to share with family and friends. Now that’s service.
p.s. Connie and I are celebrating four years of marriage this week. It was such an amazing day the day we got married, I could relive it over and over. The cool thing is we got to spend lots of time with our family and friends.
p.p.s. For me, creating great wedding photographs is a passion. I wrote this article to share an insider’s point of view. It’s through experience and having had the privilege of photography hundreds of weddings here and abroad that I consider myself both an expert on wedding photography and an expert wedding photographer. I sincerely hope that you’ve found this article useful in your quest to get the best wedding images from your wedding photographer.
Marc Weisberg Wedding Photographs | Orange County Wedding Photographs | Newport Beach Wedding Photographs | Los Angeles Wedding Photographer San Diego Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer
For Orange County wedding photography, Los Angeles wedding photography, Orange County wedding photojournalism, Southern California wedding photography, call Marc at 800.943.0414 to reserve a date and ask any questions that you may have concerning my services. I am an Orange County and Los Angeles wedding photographer.
Marc Weisberg is an award winning photographer and Sony Artist of Imagery based in Irvine, California. Specializing in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Weddings & Family Photography, he’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and technically flawless images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.