The positioning of the Bride and Groom during the actual Ceremony
People want to see your faces so, if possible, avoid standing with your backs to the audience. Unless there are moments when you have to look directly at the minister, face each other, smiling, and have your shoulder to the audience (perpendicular to the minister) so pictures of you can be taken from the side. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dozens of shots of the backs of your heads. When exchanging rings, face each other at a 45 degree angle toward the crowd so everybody can clearly see and your photographer will be better able to capture the moments.
We promise you’ll have better pictures if you take this simple, but key, advice.
The Benefits of a Receiving Line
For the sake of pictures, try to have a receiving line immediately after the wedding. With this in mind, know that a good photographer should position themselves so that you are naturally looking into the camera as you hug each guest. Why is this important? Because with a receiving line you are likely to get a shot of yourself and each guest at the wedding. As the ceremony ends, all the guests are going to come through the receiving line to congratulate and hug you, and at that moment the photographer can quickly take a picture of the two of you. Doing this removes the concern of not getting pictures with a guest who won’t be able to stay for the entire reception, so it’s one less thing to think about during the day.
So for the sake of pictures, remember the importance of not only having a receiving line, but also ensuring the photographer captures you with each and every guest. You’ll be glad you did.
Having a Picture-Perfect Dress
Try to have your wedding dress photographed in a photogenic spot. Be sure the area is cleaned up and free of clutter. Trash cans, exit signs, toilets, snacks, and fire alarms often show up in the picture and nobody realizes it until it’s too late. Here is what you can do to ensure a good shot:
- Place your dress next to a mirror, some nice furniture, a made-up bed, or a pretty bookcase.
- Try to have the room ready well in advance of pictures — do not wait until you start getting dressed.
- If you are getting dressed in a hotel, let the front desk know and ask if room service can help.
- Here is one of our favorite dress shots to give you an idea of how yours could look.
Just something to consider for your wedding day to ensure you love your pictures.
Check Your Backgrounds
As you, the bride, are entering the church during the wedding, keep the area behind you clear. The photographer will be taking shots of you as you walk through the doors to enter the church and whatever is behind you will be captured in the picture. If the hallway that leads in is cluttered or full of people, then the background of the pictures will be cluttered or full of people. If possible, either have the doors closed immediately after you walk in. Otherwise keep the hallway outside the sanctuary clear of people and/or clutter. (Clutter, by the way, can include church bulletins pinned on the wall). Be as picky as you have to be when organizing the area behind where you enter the church during the wedding.
Trust me my friends, by keeping this in mind you are more likely to love your shots when you finally get them.
Use your Wedding Party for Last-Minute Tasks so You Can Enjoy the Day
Wedding days can often seem stressful dealing with last-minute details, especially without a wedding planner. Here’s a quick tip: weeks before the weeding, give each bridesmaid and groomsman a specific task, like handling a vendor, answering questions for guests, etc). Starting the morning of the wedding, instruct all guests and vendors to contact the wedding party for final details rather than you.
Doing this can allow you to relax, be yourself, and enjoy one of the most important days of your life.
Make Sure Most of the Pictures Feature Both of You
Many times during the reception, the bride and groom will split up to speak to their individual friends and family. Be careful doing this for the sake of the pictures. If possible, try to walk around to each table and greet everybody together so you’ll be in more shots together. Otherwise, there will be a lot of shots where it’s just one of you with the various guests rather than both of you.
Remember, since this is your day together, in the end you’re probably going to want shots that feature you together.
Consider Taking — and Finishing — All Formal Wedding Party Pictures Before the Reception
Be aware that it’s best to finish all formal wedding party pictures before the reception starts and people start eating. Depending on the time of day, once people eat they will be ready to dance or even become sleepy, and may be ready to go after a long day of wedding activities — the bride and groom included!
It is best to ensure all formal wedding party pictures get taken while people are clearly fresh and alert so that none of them (the people or the pictures) gets missed.
Watch Out for Extra Jewelry Being Worn by the Wedding Officiant
During the ceremony, as you exchange rings, you want the focus to be on your rings, not the rings or watch worn by the officiant. If you look at the picture to the left, you’ll notice the ring and bracelet of the officiant along with the bride’s ring.
Watch out for this and speak up if you don’t want to see another person’s diamond ring next to your in the picture.
Where Will People be Standing as They Give a Toast?
When a guest is giving a toast, consider standing them somewhat close to you. Ideally, a shot of the toast taking place should capture three things: the guest toasting you, the bride and groom, and a small percentage of the audience. If this isn’t possible, consider a designated spot in the center of the room for people to give a toast, and have them face you while talking.
Doing this can not only clarify picture of a guest giving a toast, but also keeps the pictures centered on the couple while sharing the spotlight with the guest, rather than giving the spotlight away for a toast from the other side of the room.
Don’t be Afraid to Kiss
When it comes time to kiss the bride, don’t just peck. Kiss like you just got married: eyes closed, lips locked, and passion flowing! It may sound like silly or inappropriate advice, yet it’s serious. The wedding kiss is the highlight of the day where you will have just been declared husband and wife. The picture of the kiss should reflect that, with the kiss lasting 8-10 seconds to allow for multiple shots. If that’s too long, it’s perfectly fine to have 4 or 5 kisses, each lasting 2-3 seconds.
Whatever your preference, make the kiss lasting and sincere to help produce lasting, sincere pictures — not to mention a lasting, sincere marriage!
Give Yourself Time to Take Pictures in Your Dress Before the Ceremony
Do you want the photographer to take shots of you in your wedding dress before the wedding? If so, keep in mind: the longer you wait to get dressed before the actual ceremony, the less time there will be to take pictures of you in various poses.
If possible, try to provide at least 30 seconds for pictures once you are fully dressed to allow for several candid and formal pictures that won’t be rushed.
Keep the Pose Natural
We often get asked by our clients, “how should I pose?” There is no right way to pose as it often depends on your level of comfort. Some people like facing the camera for formal shots and others prefer a more candid, natural look. If you’re one of those people who is sometimes unsure of what type of pose looks best, perhaps the best thing to do is not to pose, but instead keep a natural look, glancing away from the camera. If this applies to you, remember our rule of thumb for alternative poses:
A natural look can bring out natural beauty.
If You Are Getting Makeup/Hair Shots of You and the Bridesmaids, Consider Getting Yours Done First
Otherwise there will be pictures where everybody has their makeup on except for you, the bride. This is your day, not theirs! For the sake of the pictures, it may be best to have your makeup put on first, then as picture-taking continues, you will be made-up and waiting for everybody else, not the reverse.