Seven Wedding Photography Tips for Brides
This bride and groom photo was taken on the beach at the Diplomat Country Club in Broward County

Seven Wedding Photography Tips for Brides

By South Florida Photographer

Bride and Groom taking a walk at a equestrian center in Fort Lauderdale
Because everything came together perfectly, I was able to spend plenty of time with the bride and groom creating this shot. This photo is a result of the hair and make-up people being on time and having the bride photo ready when needed. Also, the wedding planner created a wedding day time-line which left enough time for me to photograph every aspect of this wedding. Nothing at this wedding was rushed and the bride and groom were able to enjoy every second of their wedding.

When planning your South Florida wedding, everything can become overwhelming, between picking and hiring your vendors, determining the best wedding date and finding the best wedding venue it’s enough to make any bride crazy.   One of the most significant vendors is – your photographer.  Your photographer is the one who captures your entire day from start to finish. So, once you have hired your wedding photographer of choice, it’s important that you work together as a team in order to get the best images possible.  Keep in mind, your photographer is not a wedding planner,  However, there are a few that do encompass some wedding planning experience, which can be a huge plus! By working with your photographer and event planner, you can ensure you will get the photos that you will cherish for years to come.  If there is no wedding planner, there is no need to panic.  A really good wedding photographer will get the ball rolling for your special day as smooth as cake fondant.  As a South Florida based wedding photographer I have watched brides, grooms & some wedding planners make some mistakes that have seriously affected the wedding photography.With some research and planning these mistakes can be easily avoided.  The tips in this article can save couples lots of unwanted stress as well as help your photographer get the best pictures ever.

Wedding Timeline

Personally, I break my photography coverage into different sessions such as, Getting Ready, First Look, Bride and Groom, Bridal Party, Family, and so on. Now, not all weddings will have the same photo sessions. Some will include a variety of additional elements depending on the religion or wedding location,  For example most Jewish weddings include a Ketubah signing, Indian weddings have a Mehendi, sometimes there is a first look with the brides father.  In the end, it just varies on preference, your wedding photographer will be able to provide the best wedding photography timeline tips for any South Florida wedding if any questions come up.  One of the biggest mistakes I see is not allowing enough time for your photographer to get all the needed photos are a specific session. It’s very important to allocate enough time for each session to make sure the photographer can capture all of the important moments.  It’s easy to misjudge the time needed because there is so much to do.  Not allowing enough time will create a “rush” situation which will affect the overall quality of the photos.  For me, I always make sure to build in extra time to prevent this situation from occurring.  I have written an article on creating a wedding photography timeline to help couples make a realistic time-line. In this article are sample timelines from previous weddings.  Feel free to use these as a template for your wedding.  These wedding timelines will also give you an idea of what a typical wedding day will look like from start to finish, from a photography standpoint. These really become helpful when time management is important.

I wrote an article on creating a wedding photography timeline that is filled with helpful information and sample timelines from other weddings.  Here is the link: Creating a wedding photography timeline

Taken at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton. Groom helping her father tie a bowtie
This photo was taken during the getting ready photo session. Almost every wedding I have photographed in which there was a bowtie involved extra time was spent tying it.  This is why it’s important to allow more than enough time for the getting ready photos.  Off the cuff, it’s easy to think, 30 minutes for getting ready photos is enough time.  Not really, between the girls mingling in the bridal suite, and the fun photos,  the getting ready pictures almost always take longer.  A snag such as, tying the bowtie can easily take up an extra 20 minutes.  In addition, there are many special  journalistic moments that happen at this time.

 

South Florida Wedding Photo of bride and mother sharing a card.
Sometimes there are many unexpected mini  photo sessions that take place during the getting ready segment. Here the bride is giving a special card to the grooms mother. These special moments make for great emotional photos. It’s important for the photographer not to be too pushy when it comes to these moments. This is a time for the bride and mom to enjoy the emotion of the wedding day. It’s up to the photographer to hang back and let the action unfold infront of the lens, without allowing enough time in the schedule these moments get rushed. Or if they don’t get rushed than the posed pictures will get rushed later. Once again, this is another example of why a great realistic wedding timeline is so so important.

 

Hair and Makeup

I can’t stress this tip enough. There are many talented make-up artists available here in South Florida.  Hair and make-up are very personal and brides usually like to have a certain look.  Great hair and make-up can transform a brides look into a different era, such as vintage, or hair and make-up can be natural or add a touch of glamour. When searching for a South Florida make-up artist there is a huge selection of very talented artists.   However, dependability is just as significant as the talent they may have.  For example, if the hair and make-up is not finished by the timeline start time, then it would affect the entire photography process.  Keep in mind: time never stops moving, but the show must go on.  If too much time is wasted then your photographer will have to make difficult decisions that involve cutting time from some key sessions.  Due to the delay in hair and make-up, your photographer may need to cut the time from bride and groom or family photo session or have to rush through the photos.  A hair or make-up stylist that runs late to can greatly impact the main event, your wedding.  I believe dependability is as important as talent. As a skilled photographer and photo retoucher, I am able to adjust make-up through photoshop to make the make-up look better.   However, no photographer can photograph someone who isn’t there.

Currently I’m based in South Florida, however I started my career in Hollywood, California. While shooting high end weddings in Hollywood I almost never had an issue with make-up artists not having brides photo ready at the required time.  When I moved to South Florida I was amazed at how often I found myself sitting around after the photography start time due to a bride who was still in make up.  Sometimes I would loose well over an hour or more waiting for anyone to photograph.

During a conversation with one of my Hollywood friends we figured out why this issue happens here in Florida and almost never in Hollywood.  The reason is simple, and totally clear.  Having worked on several movies and television shows I can tell you first hand.  When the show is live at 5:00PM the shooting time is not negotiable!  If the hair and make-up isn’t finished on time the make-up person is fired and never hired again.  I have worked on shows in which 15 minutes before the television show goes live, all crew is told to leave (clear) the set and only the camera operators and live production crew is in the studio.  A film crew is very costly and no production staff is going to delay for an extra hour waiting for the talent to be ready.

I want to be clear that there are many talented and dependable hair and make-up people here in South Florida.  I have worked with many amazing make-up people who are fantastic to work with. I recommend brides read reviews, such as wedding wire, ask other wedding vendors, and also do a test make-up trial.  One of the best times to test a make-up artist is at an engagement photo shoot.  A trial session with a make-up artist will not only show a bride the finished result but also allow a bride the opportunity to time how long the make-up takes to apply.

Below is a list of hair and make-up artists I have worked who are not only talented but also dependable.  This is not a complete list and I’m sure I will accidently forget some people, However I will continue to add to this list in the future.

Trump Jupiter Golf Club Wedding
This photo was taken at Trump Jupiter Golf Club in South Florida. When I arrived the hair and make-up artist were almost completely finished. This meant that I was able to shoot some creative photos of the bride having her make-up applied.
Hair stylist showing the bridesmaids how to put the brides veil on.
In this photo Kei, from http://keipuccihair.com is showing the bridesmaids at The Polo Club how to put the bride’s veil on.

 

Below are some dependable and creative hair and makeup artist that I have worked with in the past.

Kei Pucci Hair

Amy Palma of South Beach Make-Up Studio 305-756-7827 (both hair and make-up)

Hair:  Rebecca of  Phairisbridal@gmail.com 561-906-7408

Jaye Goldberg (make up) – 561-251-7081

Lips to Lashes – lipstolashes@yahoo.com

Talk with Your Photographer About What is Most Important

There will be a lot happening during your wedding, and more than likely people will come up to you and request photo after photo after photo, to the point that your mouth will be sore from smiling so often.  However, it’s important to make sure you get all the photos you really want.  It’s also important that you get to enjoy your wedding. Having shot over 1000 wedding in my career I have found that every bride has different expectations in regards to that photos are important. Some couples want a ton of family photos, others want a minimum posed photos and prefer the photography be shot photo-journalism style. There is also the question of parents and their expectations.  In my business, here in South Florida I have found that often the parents have different expectations than the bride and groom.  During the wedding planning process, I have found that I’m often working with the parents more than the bridal couple.  A really good wedding photographer should be able to meet the requirements of both the bride and groom and the parents. When planning for wedding photography I always recommend the bride and groom take time to sit back and really think about what means the most to you on your special day.  Are family photos a must-have?  Talk about how many family members will need to be photographed. Are your parents together or divorced? If they are divorced, will they get along or will they take photos separately with the bride? Believe me, that is something a lot of brides don’t think about. That’s why it is critical to discuss these things with your photographer so that he/she can provide the best wedding photography tips for brides. A photo list may also be a helpful tool to provide for the photographer. Believe me – it’s all in the details.

Wedding party and family group photo taken at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton FL
During the wedding planning process I was informed that both the bride and groom have large families, because of this we built extra time into the timeline. The result was a wedding that went smoothly and included enough time to get all the posed pictures as well. Since the posed family photo list was so large, the wedding planner included a helper to manage a photo list. I posed and shot the extended family photos while the assistant used a check list to make sure everyone got photographed.

Fixing the Gown?

Working as a South Florida wedding photographer, I have found that the style of the brides’ gowns can affect the timing of the photography. For example, if the bridal gown has many layers that need to be continuously fixed, it could take more time than originally planned for that photo session. While I love photographing brides with beautiful luxury gowns that feature long trains, I do notice how long it takes to tweak and quick fix the gown during a session. A long train doesn’t automatically mean that time spent fixing the train is required. However, having a train with several layers will unfortunately take longer because each layer needs to be fixed separately.

I have photographed many weddings in which the bride has hired an allocated wedding gown person where their main job was to style their gown during the entire day. Not only does this mean bridal gown styling but also prepping the gown by steaming wrinkles.  A bridal gown stylist can also help the bride get into her gown as well.  This can really come in handy, because this relieves the photographer of the need to set his/her camera down, fix the gown, pick up the camera, and take the necessary photo. With someone there to style your gown, your photographer can instead keep shooting and capturing those perfect moments. One freelance wedding planner / stylist I have worked with is (Link: Lisette from Bless the Dress.) Personally, I am a very hands-on photographer and I am always happy to fix and style the dress when needed. However, if I’m shooting a wedding with a gown stylist on site, hats off to them!  In addition your bridal gown stylist can also stay until the end of the ceremony and help bustle the gown which means saving time, giving the bride more time to enjoy the cocktail hour. To add an extra sprinkle to your wedding cake – most bridal shops offer this service, so you can easily check that box.

Bride photo taken at The Country Club at Mirasol
This bridal gown had many layers. Every time the bride moved to a new setting the gown needed to be re-styled. If you look closely you can see the multiple layers of the brides train. Once styled she looked beautiful in this gorgeous gown however, extra time was spent in re-styling this bridal gown. If you have a bridal gown like this, a really good tip is to allow some extra time for the bridal gown train the be styled often.

Table Pictures

Another bridal tip is to think about table guest photos. Most photographers no longer go around and photograph all of the guests at each table. The problem is, they also don’t talk about this with their couples. It’s not like they say, “I don’t do tables”. The problem happens after the wedding when the bride or groom’s or parents ask to see the table photos.  I have found that most couples don’t want or care about table pictures. However, those that want them, REALLY want them. If you or your parents want every guest photographed at the wedding you many want to add table photos to the coverage.  Today, most couples don’t want table photos, because they would prefer for their guests to not be disturbed while eating.  It’s sort of like a black and white scenario, either they do or don’t – plain and simple. This is definitely a topic to discuss with your photographer before the wedding, because once the wedding is over it’s too late. If you would like Table photos done remember that they can only be done while guests are seated and eating at their tables. These photos are not done during toasts, dances, and so forth. The reason why we do this is because when everyone is sitting at the table enjoying their meal, it is much easier to coordinate one half of the table to stand behind the other half for one seamless photo. The point of your wedding photographer is to capture every moment, so definitely take advantage of having him/her get a photo of everyone that was there to share your special day with you.

Table Guest Photos taken at The Ritz Carlton, Fort Lauderdale.
The only way to completely guarantee every wedding guest gets photographed is by having your South Florida photographer shoot all the guests at each table. Most couple don’t want guest table photos taken because they don’t want their wedding guests disturbed while enjoying the main course. Many wedding guests also don’t like the idea of getting up and standing behind other guests sitting at the table. However, I have found that the wedding clients, (Especially Parents). who want table pictures taken are serious about having all their guests photographed. Because of this, we include in our photo agreement an option to have the guest tables photos taken.

Create a Pinterest Wedding Board

Photo grab from Jeff Kolodny Pinterest page
Creating a Pinterest gallery to share with your photographer is a great way to convey the type of images you like. I love it when brides share a Pinterest page with me. I tell clients that they should not expect me to copy all the images on their page. However, I will re-create some of the images using my own creative style.

If you have not started a Pinterest board yet, you are definitely missing out. Not to be biased, but it will definitely help your wedding photographer gain a better understanding of what your specific style is. Now, don’t expect him/her to exactly copy those images, but it will get the creative juices flowing and create inspiration.  I would not make sure your photographer is held to the board photos, because photographers are their own individual artists who love to imagine and create their own works of art too. By allowing your photographer to gain a sense of your favorite styles, it will not hinder with your photographer’s personal touch and style to your photos and will allow them to provide the best wedding photography tips to brides before her big day. That’s what you especially want, something special and unique to your wedding day. When sharing a Pinterest board with a photographer, it needs to be clear this is intended for inspiration and not a demand, because the last thing you want to do is overwhelm him/her with too many images. Pick your top choices, and then let them bring your style and their ideas to life. Believe me, it will be worth it.

If you wear glasses, have them treated with an anti-reflective coating.

The picture below was taken at The Club at Boca Pointe during the bride and grooms first look.  Because the grooms glasses were treated with a non-glare coating his glasses absorbed the light instead of kicking back bright highlights.  While it’s possible to retouch out glare from glasses,  having your glasses treated is a much easier and effective solution.  Some people are ok simply removing their glasses while being photographed, However  people who are used to seeing the bride or groom with glasses will say they look like someone else and not themselves.   If you are not sure if your glasses have been treated run a test by having someone take your picture with flash and judge the results.  If after testing your glasses you have glare bring them in to a eyeglass shop the have a coating applied.

Taken at Boca Pointe Country Club, the groom in this photo wore his glasses during all the pictures. Because his glasses were treated with a no glare coating, there were no reflections in his glasses in any for his wedding pictures.

Another more extreme solution is to have 2 pairs of glasses available.  One pair of glasses with no lens, just frames, is a solution that is common among for many celebrities who are photographed on a regular basis.  As an experienced photographer I’m skilled at photographing people with glasses in such a way to minimize glare. However, reducing glare in glasses requires changing the lighting so that the light strikes the glass from the side and not head-on.  While this is usually effective, the question becomes one of, do you want your photographer to light for no glare, or would you rather have your wedding photographer light for beauty?

If you are wondering if applying a no glare coating is an effective solution here is a link to check out: Look Better and See Better with an Anti-reflective coating .

 

Wedding Picture taken at the Eau Palm Beach

I hope that you have found this article useful.  These wedding photography tips for brides are created from my past experiences.  As a wedding photographer, I have had to cut short photography sessions because the hair and make up people have arrived late, or misjudged the time needed to finish the job.  I know that if the parents wanted table pictures and you don’t get them, you will have to deal with unhappy parents. This is why table pictures are covered in my photo agreement.  I have worked with wedding planners who work with the photographer to make a great wedding timeline.  I have also worked with planners who have made no timeline or a really bad timeline and I see the results.  A little pre –planning and knowledge can make you wedding day the most enjoyable day of you life and result in beautiful wedding photos.

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