Finding and hiring a professional photographer to document your wedding day is a sizable investment, in not only money, but time as well. By doing your research and hiring a professional that suits your style, you can rest assured that he or she is going to capture your day exactly how you want. But achieving the best possible results doesn’t end with the signing of the contract. Below are a few simple things you can do as a client before and on your wedding day to help you and your photographer capture the photographs of your dreams.
1. Develop a personal relationship with your photographer. Hopefully you have selected a photographer whose personality meshes well with yours, besides your fiancé, they are the person you will be spending the most amount of time with on your wedding day. By the time your wedding day arrives, you should consider your photographer a friend, not just another vendor. This can seem like a difficult task to accomplish, considering how busy and hectic the months leading up to the big day can be, but it can be done. Most photographers understand the importance of this dynamic and will take the initiative, but it does take a little bit of effort from you as well. You must make yourself available. Though most beneficial, it doesn’t necessarily have to take place in person. Phone calls, emails, any form of conversation will work. And it most certainly doesn’t need to pertain to the business of your wedding. The stronger this sense of friendship is between you and the photographer, not only will you feel more comfortable and relaxed around him or her, the rest of the wedding party will as well. As soon as the guard comes down, the photographic magic happens.
2. Be yourself. This may seem like common sense, but it can be more difficult than you might think. Most people aren’t used to having a photographer document their every move, especially with intimidating looking professional equipment. Though they may not realize it, people tend to carry themselves and act differently as soon as a camera is pointed at them, which looks stiff and unnatural in photographs. Others just freeze up altogether. Unless your photographer is giving you specific direction, the best thing you can do is relax, be yourself, and act as if the photographer wasn’t even there. Pay special attention to your hands, they are a good indication of how tense you really are. Relax your hands and the rest of you will follow. No need to put on an act, simply be yourself.
3. Don’t rush your wedding day. When planning the schedule of the day, allot a realistic amount of time for each separate event. Planning a shorter, more casual wedding is one thing, but attempting to pack an eight-hour event into four makes everything feel rushed, like you’re trying to run a race. Not only does it make it difficult for everyone involved to enjoy the day, it makes it more difficult to capture natural looking photographs when you’re sprinting from one thing to the next. Pace your day and cherish every moment, it is, after all, a once in a lifetime experience (hopefully).
4. Look through magazines, on-line, and, of course, through your photographer’s portfolio for specific examples of images, scenes, and body positions that appeal to you and share these ideas with your photographer before hand. It will give both you and the photographer a better sense of direction when working together. Also, if you internalize these ideas and are able to carry and position yourself in a similar way without having to be completely directed by the photographer, the photographs will look much more natural. The more the photographer must direct, the more awkward you will feel and it will show in the images.
5. Communicate with your fiancé about the photography. Often photography is of much greater importance to one half of the couple, typically the bride, but occasionally the groom. Sometimes the photographer wont even meet the groom until the day of the wedding, as everything related to photography was arranged and booked by the bride. This usually translates to the groom and groomsmen standing around in complete disinterest, with a ‘this is her deal’ attitude. If you communicate openly with your fiancé, and, even better, the core wedding party, beforehand about the photography, it will make it much easier and enjoyable to achieve your desired results.
6. Enjoy your wedding day. Again, this may seem like common sense, but with the anticipation and stress involved in planning the perfect day, it can be difficult to actually enjoy it. While there is certainly no way to eliminate the stress and worry completely, you can minimize it. If you don’t have a professional day-of coordinator, appoint someone you trust to handle the logistics of the day and let them worry about the details. You have been planning this day for months, even years, once it finally arrives, relax and enjoy it. You certainly deserve to and doing so will translate to more natural looking, joyous images.
About the Author:
Joshua Walker, Wedding Photojournalist
Joshua Walker is an award-winning wedding photojournalist based in San Diego, CA. www.joshuawalkerphotography.com