What makes the best wedding photos ?
My advice below applies to both wedding photos and videos alike.
Plan your ‘official’ wedding pictures to the hilt. You can pretty much guarantee that one of the family members will go AWOL for the family group shots and it can use far too much of that precious time to round everyone up. I always recommend that you have at least one of your bridesmaids or ushers who knows your family and guests well enough to be able to round them up when needed.
Even for reportage style wedding photography, the group shots are still very much on the menu. You may not feel the need or want the family shots but your family almost certainly will. My advice is to ensure this part of your day is run with milletary precision, ensuring that the its done as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
After all the weddings I have attended, both as a photographer, family member or a friends wedding, one of the things that bugs me the most is watching the groom waiting on his bride, steadfastly looking straight ahead and missing his bride as she walks down the aisle. You can almost see the groom squirming as he readies up for his speech…. “how beautiful you looked as you walked down the aisle….” I want to shake him by his lapels.. No No No ! you missed it, because the vicar / registrar said you should look straight ahead.
My advice to all grooms is “miss that magical moment at your peril”. Not only will it will be captured in your wedding photography and video as your stare head but you will miss that ‘perfect moment’ in your brides mind. Those weeks, months of bridal preparations for the feast for her husbands eyes. It’s a beautiful, emotional shot when caught perfectly.
Let it go and smile like the cheshire cat! I more than anyone appreciate it can be a little nerve wracking (for some) being in front of the camera but I encourage you to lose those inhibitions. Usually, a good pre-wedding or engagement shoot can help you get to know your photographer and what they will be asking you to do on your day. That alone can help shake this nerves. Having a happy, joyful couple who are obviously enjoying their day makes for the best wedding photos and photography outcomes.
Chill ! Relax and keep the stress levels low. Its a good idea to get ready somewhere as close to the wedding venue as possible. Rule out (as best possible) any stress inducing factors such as travel delays from traffic, weather or mechanical failures. It’s better to drive around the block a few times with minutes to spare rather than trying to attempt to navigate your route like its the Monaco Gram Prix.
An exciting exit. Don’t forget to pay attention to how your wedding ends ! I always ask my couples on how they are planning to end their day. Surprisingly, it’s not been considered and many opportunities have been lost. I recommend a ‘final moment’. A couple can afford to be completely cheesy here, tie the cans tot he car, employ your guests to make a tunnel, light those sparklers or fire up the fireworks… A particular favourite of mine is to have the band / DJ introduce a ‘Last Dance’ with the guests standing / toasting and circling the beautifully lit couple.