Your wedding photographs will probably (aside from videography) be the only lasting way to really remember all the effort you've put into this magical wedding day, so we've come up with the wedding photographer's five top tips to help you make the most of your photographer (and allow them to create the best photographs possible).
Create more time! If time is going to be a bit tight for wedding photography later on in the day (and with demands on your attention from family, relatives and friends it usually is) why not start getting ready earlier? Then you can make plans to have photographs with your bridesmaids, parents and other important people in your life when you've just finished getting ready. You'll be looking absolutely perfect and if you've left extra time for this you'll also have a bit of time to calm your nerves before walking out the door. Your bridesmaids and parents will especially treasure these photos with you - the last hour as a single girl!
Plan locations in advance! Your wedding photographer is going to have a lot to think about on the day. Make their life easier by thinking about potential good locations for your group shots in advance. Ideally you want a photographer who will be happy to come with you to see the venue(s) in advance so they can get their own ideas. If they don't offer - ask them! This is one of the most important days of your life - make sure your photographer is prepared!
Make time for your wedding photographs! We know weddings are about celebrating your union with your closest friends and family, but remember that your wedding photographs are your way of showing your future children or grandchildren what your wedding day was like. It makes sense to maximise the skills of your photographer and to try and get some really beautiful pictures of the two of you. Pictures like the ones you see in magazines though don't just 'happen' when you're not watching; they take time, effort and a willingness to work with your photographer. If you want photographs that also look like beautiful pieces of art then talk to your photographer about setting aside half an hour after the ceremony when you can do these. Our favourite wedding was a couple in Bristol who left their wedding party for half an hour and got a friend to collect their pet dog. We got some really special shots of them walking in the park with their dog which worked wonderfully to represent the start of their new life together as a family.
Be natural! It might be the only time you ever have a camera pointed at you for an entire day, but try to act natural and forget the photographer is there. It's great if you can find a wedding photographer who you really get along with, because they really do become a friend and can then blend into the crowd and get some really relaxed shots. It's especially important when taking photographs of the bride and groom that you focus on each other. Laugh, giggle, cuddle and kiss. Forget about the camera and let your love shine through! That's what makes great wedding photographs, not stiff and awkward formal poses with no emotion!
Ask your parents! While we don't recommend handing your wedding photographer a huge list of group set ups (which will only stress everybody on the day when Auntie Elma can't be found), it's still great to get some feedback from your parents and other key family members on which photographs they would absolutely love. We've heard horror stories of parents being devastated when the prints come back and there isn't one of the bride with her Mum on their own, for example. If this or other shots are particularly important to you or your family then let the wedding photographer know in advance. There are so many variations of family shots it would usually take hours to do them all, so if you have a particular preference do let your photographer know - and well in advance of the day!
These tips are compiled by Rosie Parsons, a wedding photographer at Rosie Parsons Awesome Wedding Photography!, Bristol. She photographs weddings in a reportage, storybook style.