Wedding Photography- A Quick Guide for Brides to Be | Lisa Silva Photography- Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida Fine Art Weddings
A few weeks ago, I was honored when Adair Currie of Dairing Events asked me to speak to some awesome brides to be at one of her wedding planning workshops, Brides of the Round Table. I created a guide with some tips and advice that I think will be really helpful for brides to be. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on it, so I decided to post in on the Journal and I hope it can help answer some questions. I'm always happy to answer more so please feel free to email me at Lisa@LisaSilvaPhoto.com with any and all questions!
If you are planning your own wedding, I highly recommend you consider one of Adair's workshops!
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT!
You said yes, accepted a beautiful ring, and are now on your journey to planning the perfect wedding day! There is so much that goes into preparing for a wedding that it can feel overwhelming at times. I hope you will find these tips on wedding photography helpful.
FINDING YOUR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
There are many different styles of wedding photography and it is important to find the style that you really connect with. Your wedding pictures are the visual representation of your day that you’ll have for the rest of your lives, so you want to make sure you will love them for the rest of your lives!
My style is fine art wedding photography. This means I shoot primarily in film and utilize natural light to create soft, romantic, and ethereal images. When I shoot a wedding, I visually tell a story with consistent imagery that flows throughout the day. I love incorporating all of your pretty details into my images, and will step in and style a lot of them myself.
Every bride has her own aesthetic and luckily there are plenty of really talented photographers with different styles, so choose the approach that is a perfect match for you and your vision.
CONNECTING WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Once you have chosen a style of photography that you feel fits, it is time to begin your search for a photographer. Photographers regularly book weddings about a year in advance, so once you have your wedding date and venue reserved, it’s a good idea to secure a photographer as soon as possible.
There are many ways to go about finding a photographer, from asking friends for referrals, to using search engines and exploring wedding planning sites. Be sure to hire a professional photographer -- you are placing your trust in them to capture the biggest day of your life.
First and foremost, your photographer should be licensed and insured. After your wedding, your photographs are the one tangible thing that you walk away with. They are a priceless documentation of the day you put so much of your heart and energy into planning. Your photographs will become heirlooms that you’ll treasure your entire life.
Secondly, you need to make sure that they are accurately representing themselves, their experience and their work. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Do they have formal training? How many years have they been in business? Are they comfortable shooting in difficult situations and can they adapt quickly to tackle the unexpected?
Ask to view at least one complete wedding gallery. Almost any photographer can pick a few beautiful photos from a wedding to share, but it is important to see for yourself that they can produce quality and consistent images throughout the entire wedding day.
Lastly, choose a photographer who makes you feel comfortable. Choose someone that you can connect with on a personal level. Over the course of working with your photographer you should develop a positive relationship that you feel comfortable and confident in.
I highly recommend booking an engagement session with your wedding photographer and I stress the importance of it to all of my clients. Engagement sessions are so much more than getting a picture for your Save the Date cards.
Think of an engagement session as a dress rehearsal for your big day. Unless you and your fiance are both professional models, you are probably not very used to being in front of the camera and taking instruction for posing. Your engagement session is a great chance to get comfortable in front of the camera and get all of the awkwardness out of the way before your wedding day.
In my experience, it usually only takes a few minutes for couples to loosen up during an engagement session and we have a great time. I am able to capture them authentically -- smiling, laughing, and letting their love shine through in the images. Then on their wedding day, they know exactly what to expect and have confidence their pictures will be beautiful, because they’ve experienced shooting with me already.
Some brides opt for additional sessions such as bridal portraits or boudoir sessions. Bridal portraits are a Southern tradition where the bride has her hair and makeup done and slips into her wedding dress for some additional portraits before the big day. They aren’t shared until after the wedding, but they are so much fun and we can create really unique and stunning images that we may not have the time for on a busy wedding day.
Boudoir sessions are more intimate shoots that are a great way to surprise your fiance on your wedding day. Boudoir is all about celebrating sensuality and creating portraits that are as powerful as they are intimate. A boudoir session is focused on showcasing your beauty and personality, and even though the images are a gift for your fiance, you will find them to be just as much a gift to yourself as well.
CREATING AND FOLLOWING A TIMELINE
I can’t stress enough the importance of hiring an amazing wedding planner. Your planner will take on the many tasks that go into organizing and executing your vision so you can relax and enjoy your day.
A good photographer should be able to give you suggestions for your timeline, but we can never take the place of a wedding planner. A wedding planner will work hard to ensure the day flows perfectly and things go off with out a hitch, so if you decide not to hire a planner, you will need to be extremely organized and detailed.
Creating a timeline of your special day will be the first task at hand. Planning ahead to create a timeline with your vendors is crucial. For example, you want to make sure that your hair and makeup artists arrive early enough for you to be ready in time for plenty of pictures before your ceremony, especially if you are opting out of a First Look. (More on that shortly.)
Before the ceremony, I like to photograph the bride separately and with her bridesmaids, the groom separately and with his groomsmen, and all of the special details that you’ve worked so hard on. (More on those later as well.) It is never good to rush these things, so it is imperative to develop a plan that will allow us the time we need to capture beautiful images.
THE FIRST LOOK
First Looks have become increasingly popular in recent years and I absolutely love them. A First Look is where you have a special moment with your fiance and complete the majority of your formal portraits before the wedding ceremony.
Some brides initially are hesitant about the idea of doing a First Look. Tradition tells us that the first time our groom should see us should be walking down the aisle. While I can totally relate to and understand that, I’d like to share with you some of the many benefits of having a First Look on your wedding day.
First Looks are a special and intimate moment between you and your groom-to-be. We stage the moment, and then step back and capture the emotions as they unfold without being intrusive. I’ve seen this done many ways, from the bride coming up behind the groom and tapping him on the shoulder, to placing the bride and groom back to back and having them read little love notes to each other before turning around. It is a very emotional and personal moment and many couples have told me that they are glad they did this and saw each other in private, before the wedding.
With First Looks, photographers are able to capture a wider variety, and usually greater number, of images. First Looks are something to consider especially if you have a large family or bridal party that you want to take pictures with after the ceremony. We’re usually allowed only 45 minutes after the ceremony for pictures, and that can limit the time that we have to do the formal portraits with your new groom.
After the ceremony, the first thing we photograph are the family portraits. These are extremely important, as sometimes a wedding will be one of the few times a whole family is able to be together in the same place at the same time.
I always suggest that you make a detailed list of groupings for each photo and who you want pictures with. For example, you could do one with your parents, then add grandparents, and then add aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Making a list ensures nobody is left out and also helps things run much smoother and quicker.
PLANNING YOUR CEREMONY AROUND THE IDEAL TIME FOR LIGHTING
I absolutely love soft and warmly backlit images. Those images align with my style and what brides are looking for when they hire me. Those images also have to be taken when the sun is lower in the sky. If you get married at noon in full sun for example, you may have bright, unflattering lighting and harsh shadows.
Sunset time is definitely something to be aware of when planning your ceremony. I generally recommend planning your ceremony about two hours before sunset time. This will ensure your ceremony is beautifully lit and you also have the “golden hour” for your formal portraits afterwards. It’s also important that you don’t marry too close to sunset so we don’t lose light before we can complete the formal images.
I love photographing your details! From the wedding rings, to the bouquets and boutonnieres, I love to capture all of the little details that make your day unique to you. I ask my brides to have their details ready and available to photograph when I arrive. This gives me plenty of time to get creative and style your details for beautiful images. Some examples of details that I love to shoot are the invitation suites, rings, flowers, shoes, garters, cufflinks, jewelry, perfume bottles, handwritten vows, and obviously your wedding dress!