Wedding Photography Tips

Simple Wedding Photography tips for Brides


A little bit of planning can go a long way to help your photos turn out their best! Of course, hiring the right photographer is essential too, so first off take the time to get to know your chosen photographer and make sure their style and personality matches with the style of images that you are looking for. Once you have a great photographer, there are still things you can do to ensure that the photos turn out great. Here are some wedding photography techniques that will help you help your photographer.

Make sure you have ample lighting:

The thing that affects photos the most is the quality of lighting when the photo is taken. There are several things to consider depending on if your wedding in indoors or outdoors.

For indoor weddings:

Plan ahead to visit the wedding location and make note of the lighting in the room. Is it fluorescent lighting? Are there any windows? Which way do they face? North, South? Any skylights? Also make sure and look for a suitable dressing room because the “getting ready” photos are an important part of the wedding day.

The ideal lighting is to have a large north facing window. Even though your photographer will probably bring a flash or some kind of extra lighting, it doesn’t beat the soft look of natural light.

If you don’t have access to a dressing room with a large north facing window, but do have a window, check what time of day it gets direct sunlight. If you will be getting ready when the sun is directly shining in the window, see if you can get a set of sheer curtains to hang to block the direct sun.

No windows? Be creative with other light sources like candles and lamps throughout the room. See what you can do to brighten the place up! More light is almost always better than not enough light.

For outdoor weddings:

Planning an outdoor wedding in Victoria can be tricky. Even in the summer you could possibly get rain! The ideal lighting for photos when shooting outdoors is a slightly overcast day. Too much sun will give high contrast between the sunny and shadowy areas, so although sun may be great for your guests, don’t worry if you get clouds or even rain, as the photos may just turn out better! Plan to bring a large white umbrella, even in the summer. If the wedding is outdoors, you can’t be too cautious. If it rains, we can still get some great shots with a white umbrella and still keep you dry. And if it’s super sunny, we could use it to give you some shade if there are no sources of shade nearby (such as at a beach).

Choose the best time of day and allow enough time for photos:

The more time you have for your photos the more time you’ll have to become relaxed in front of the camera and the better the photos will turn out. This is true especially for your couple portraits.

Many times there is simply too little time for photography, and when things run late the first thing to go is usually the allotted photography time.

If you can afford to allow an hour to go somewhere special for your couples portraits that would be ideal – even better would be to schedule this time during the “magic hour” (the last hour of daylight, before sunset). Group shots can usually be done well in about 30 minutes to one hour depending on the number of groups you want to capture.

The best time of the day for your photos is in the morning or the early evening. This is so the sun is not directly overhead causing dark shadows under the eyes. If it’s overcast, the time of day is less important but you can’t really count on the weather, so it’s still a good idea to plan the photos at a good time of day. Since many brides and grooms do not want to see each other before the ceremony, morning photos are often not possible. In this case, try to take advantage of the soft evening light for your photos… even if that means sneaking away from the reception for 20 minutes while your guests are eating dinner.

Be aware that guests can get in your way:

While most people welcome friends and family to take photos at their wedding, there are some things you should know about that can happen. There is a very real possibility that if you have many guests taking photos along side your photographer that their flashes may ruin a portion of the photos your photographer takes for you. Flashes firing at the same time can cause over and underexposure of your professional images. With multiple cameras trying to focus at the same time, there is often a constant red glow from the various focusing lights, which looks terrible in photos. So, I recommend that you ask family and friends ahead of time not to use their flash when standing next to your photographer and not to use their flash at critical moments, like during the first kiss, ring exchange and cake cutting. These are moments you only do once, so it’s important to leave room for your photographer to capture professionally for you.

If you haven’t sent out invitations already, you could add a little note such as “Please be mindful of our hired photographer! Be careful not to use your flash when the photographer is shooting or at a critical time during the wedding.”

Preparing for Group and Family Photos:

Creating a list of the photos you want ahead of time is usually a good idea, even for small families and groups. This list can help ensure that we don’t miss any important photos on the day. Select a person who knows your friends and family (but is not in the wedding party if possible) and give a copy of your list them. Give them the job of organizing the people for each shot. (It seems logical to give your list to the photographer, but they will not be able to recognize any of your friends and family, so they would have to go around calling out names – which is not a good use of time, and something most will not want to do!)

If you have an outdoor wedding, and are going to have group photos outside, select a place with enough shade for everyone to fit. Partial shade, or broken shade through trees doesn’t work well for the images. Flat shade (beside a building or solid structure) is best.

Last, but not least…

Here are three essential tips to help you choose the perfect photographer for your wedding:

  1. Do Your Research: Take the time to research and explore different photographers’ portfolios, styles, and reviews. Look for someone whose work resonates with you and reflects the aesthetic you envision for your wedding photos. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions about their approach, experience, and availability. Personal compatibility is key, so trust your instincts and choose someone you feel comfortable and confident with.

  2. Schedule Meetings: Once you’ve narrowed down your options, schedule meetings or consultations with your top choices. Use this opportunity to discuss your vision, preferences, and any specific requests you may have. Pay attention to how well you communicate and connect with each photographer, as this will play a significant role in your overall experience on your wedding day. A photographer who listens attentively and understands your needs will be better equipped to capture the moments that matter most to you.

  3. Consider Value Over Price: While budget is undoubtedly an important factor, prioritize value and quality when choosing a photographer for your wedding. Remember that your wedding photos will serve as timeless mementos of your special day, so investing in a skilled and experienced professional is worth it. Be sure to inquire about package options, payment plans, and any additional services or products offered. Ultimately, choose a photographer who offers the best combination of expertise, reliability, and style to ensure that your wedding memories are captured beautifully and authentically.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer on Vancouver Island, check out my portfolio and see if we’d be a good fit!

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