Your wedding photos are one of the only things you hold onto after your wedding day is over. They shape your memory of your wedding day, and allow the special moments to be held onto for generations to come. The importance of your wedding photos can not be underestimated. That’s why we have a guest post from the very talented documentary photographers Deon & Reni, to give you some practical tips on how to improve your wedding photos.
Getting ready in a nice, neat room with plenty of natural light will result in better photographs. If you’re not getting ready at your home or in a familiar room, we prefer rooms that have a personal touch to them. Instead of getting ready in a hotel, maybe think of renting a home via Airbnb.
Don’t rush down the aisle too swiftly. Tell your bridal party that they should not walk too quickly after each other.
Ask any readers to read from a paper instead of an iPad or Iphone. It looks more personal and romantic.
Consider having a phone-free ceremony. Although we don’t want to say that your guests can’t take pictures, we do find it nicer (also for the groom) if people don’t take out their phones and iPads, during the time that the bride walks down the aisle. People often tend to block the grooms view and ours, and we get all the phones in the picture. As it’s one of the most wonderful moments during a ceremony it must be nice for the guests also to really soak it up instead of experiencing the moment through a screen. Again, totally up to you – but just a recommendation.
Photos look more engaging when all the seats are filled during the ceremony, especially the front rows. Think of allocating these seats to close family and friends by reserving them.
Pay attention to the area where you will be standing during the ceremony. Think of the position of possible sound speakers. If there is an arch, stand in the middle of it, not next to it. Don’t have any extra objects standing around if they are not being used, like a table or microphone stand.
Have a bit of leeway in your schedule. Weddings tend to run late and you don’t want to be stressed about it. We prefer to have about 20 minutes for the family photos. This can be done before – or directly after the ceremony – or a bit later during the cocktail hour. We recommend to keep the groups as small as possible to keep it personal. The amount of family photos is totally up to you but we recommend not more than 10 different options as it will start cutting into the cocktail hour. But if you would like to have quite a few family photos taken, we require someone to help us out with directing the family. Due to organizational reasons we are not a big fan the full group shot as it takes too much time and always feels like we are disrupting the flow of the day.
For the couple photos, we’d usually say anywhere around half an hour to 45 min is great. Preferably as close to sunset as possible as that will result in better photographs. This might sound long for some, but like we said – things tend to run late and then the schedule cuts into the shoot. Of course, we also don’t have to use all the allocated time to shoot anyway, we can always come back sooner so you can spend more time with your guests. Most couples do find the couple shoot quite a relaxing time, as they can break away for a bit and take a breather. Whatever time you like to allocate for the photos, we’re happy to go with the flow.
Very important – the Light. We shoot as much with natural light as possible and only like to take our flash out during the dancing. Please make sure that there is enough light during the reception (and ceremony as well!) If the ambience doesn’t look good as is, the photos won’t either. Remember that just candles and little fairy lights aren’t enough.
Think about your floral arrangements on the tables during the reception. As we like to capture the emotion, please see that your faces aren’t being blocked by flowers or candles that are too big or placed right in front of you.
If the space permits it, and if you have tables standing in rows or close together – please see if someone can still walk in between the tables when people are sitting down. It’s nice for us to really get in to the action – but if we can’t fit, or really have to wiggle ourselves between tables it’s difficult to get the shot.
We find that people dance more at night when the lights are dimmed above the dance floor and the size of the dance floor is rather more compact than too large. But please don’t switch off all the lights during the first dance.
Furthermore, please update us on any acts/performances/surprises that are happening during the course of the day and night.
Lastly, please do surprise us! Do what you think feels good, do whatever you love, there are no rules. Have a picnic in the forest, have everyone sitting on blankets, or get married on the mountain with your close family standing around. Don’t do a sit-down dinner but have scattered seating where everyone is free to sit where ever they like. Or do sit down family style and all share the food on the table. Get married in your own backyard with your friends’ band playing for your guests. Have a tiny wedding where you are all hanging out in a little cottage, walk over to the beach for a little ceremony and have a private chef cook for your little gathering. Have a huge wedding and invest in a good DJ so you can dance the night away. Just celebrate it your way!
Reni & Deon
Photos and words by Deon & Reni