How to plan your wedding day for great photos

Wedding days aren’t about photos, but everyone wants great photos to help remember their wedding day. The wedding day is one of the few times in their lives most people have their photo taken by a professional, so you should make the most of it! You need to balance time spent with your family and friends with time spent on photos, but in twenty years which will you value more? An hour spent with your family, or 1-2 hours making amazing images that will last forever.

You can also read our article on wedding day timelines.

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We can take great photos with no preparation whatsoever, but the more we prepare the better the photos are. Here are some tips on how to help us take great photos for you:

  • Would you like photos like you see in magazines? A lot of the photos in wedding magazines are of models, and they have the entire day to get just one photo! The more time you give us the better the photos.
  • For the best preparation photos get ready in a spacious room in a nice hotel, not in a small cluttered bedroom. If you’re getting ready at home plan to get ready in the largest, nicest room you have available, and try to remove any clutter. Distractions like children’s toys, clothes on the floor, TVs showing sports, etc, detract from the images.
  • For great individual portraits allow between 30 minutes and an hour for photos after you’re dressed and ready, for both the bride and the groom. Remember we need time to pack and unpack our equipment, as well as getting from the groom to the bride, and then from the bride to the ceremony. We have to be leave for the ceremony venue at least 15 minutes before you, just in case we hit traffic and so we can set up our equipment.
  • Our recommended ceremony time is 1 – 2pm. There are a lot of “fixed / formal” things that happen on a wedding day, including ceremony, family photos, wedding party photos, dinner, dancing, etc. Those take up roughly the same amount of time on each wedding day, and don’t leave a lot of time for relaxing or spending time with family. The extra hour or two you make by having your ceremony at 1 or 2pm instead of the standard 3pm is all spent however you choose – relaxing with family and friends, or maybe a little on photos. This reduces the stress of your wedding day considerable as well. 7am – 12:30pm allows 5.5 hours to get ready, which is plenty of time!
  • Family photos are best done immediately after the ceremony, at the ceremony location. Allow around 45 minutes after the end of the ceremony for congratulations and family photos.
  • Wedding party photos can take between 10 minutes and 3 hours, it’s entirely up to you, but we recommend 60 to 90 minutes plus travel time. Half of this time is usually spent with the wedding party, the rest with just the bride and the groom.
  • Plan to take drinks and snacks for the wedding party during their photos. Your reception venue can often provide this, but you can do it yourself (or delegate it to a friend or family member), and  some supermarkets will put together a basket for you too.
  • Don’t forget to plan for travel time! It takes a while to get a bride, groom, and gaggle of bridesmaids and groomsmen in and out of vehicles, and takes a couple of minutes for us to pack up our gear to go to the next location.
  • Remember if you want sweeping views of stunning landscapes we have to go to those landscapes!
  • Plan for the weather! Here in Wellington we can have wet, windy days in the middle of summer, or perfect clear days in spring. Make sure you have somewhere indoors away from your guests for photos, in case of wind or rain. We can help plan for rainy wedding days, after six or seven years photographing in Wellington we’ve had our fair share!
  • The best time of the day to take romantic photos of the bride and groom is around sunset, when the light’s good and everyone’s a bit more relaxed than earlier in the day. 20 minutes around this time will let us take great romantic photos of the two of you. Most people will have had a drink or two by then, so they’re a bit more relaxed.
  • Make sure your reception venue is big enough for all your guests. You really need to stay 20% below the advertised capacity of most venues to avoid overcrowding.
  • For great speech photos leave a couple of meters between the head table and the back of the chair of your closest guests, to avoid having them in your photos you while you’re sitting at your table.
  • At the reception make sure someone lets us know a few minutes before any of the important events such as cake cutting, first dance, or speeches start. This gives us time to move our lighting, find the best positions, and get ready to take your photos.

The better you plan your wedding day, the better your photos usually turn out! We’re more than happy to help you plan your wedding day, so please call or email us and let us help 🙂

This entry was posted in Wedding tips.

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