Wedding Photography Tips for Brides

Makeup and Accessories

Brides -- keep your photography in mind when applying that makeup. First, try to find a place with natural light to apply and evaluate your makeup, and have someone else help. As always, match your foundation to your neck color and stay away from foundations that have too much pink or orange coloring, as these colors will show up very strongly in photographs. Choose matte finishes in a soft and neutral colors for best results.

Avoid using eye and cheek colors that are too bright. The camera will make them look even brighter so try to stay natural and remember that photography will make everything brighter. Matte lip colors photograph best. Shiny makeup reflects in photographs.

Avoid jewelry that is reflective. Small pieces without large polished surfaces photography very well, however, metallic items (especially polished) can ruin an entire series of photographs if they catch the light (or flash) wrong and flare.

Rest and Drink Water

As silly as it sounds, be sure to get as much good sleep the night before so you look bright and well rested. That may seem an obvious tip but it deserves repeating -- photographs capture the day and if you spend your day exhausted because you were up all night finishing the last dozen centerpieces, it will show. Get some rest! You've got a big day ahead of you -- and you've spent too much time planning it to spend it exhausted.

Another simple tip that can make a big difference in your photographs -- drink lots of water. You are going to be on your feet and on the move most of the day. You may get dehydrated so make sure in the days proceeding the ceremony you get lots of water (and if possible, food, too!)

Spend some time talking to your photographer (before the wedding day!) about how you envision the day. If your photographer is serious about your wedding and capturing your photographs -- not the one his magazine editor wants -- they will want to spend a few hours (probably over multiple meetings) talking about your style, plans, itinerary and venue.

Communicating with your photographer (and finding one who listens) is one of the most critical pre-event steps you can make to ensure that your photographs are what you hope them to be.

Plan for things taking longer than you think. Your wedding day will be exciting, fast-paced and at times it will feel like chaos. However within this amazing day you will very rarely find yourself ahead of schedule. Think of this when you are deciding how much time with the Photographer you'll want.

If you plan to need 3 hours, book 4. If you need 5 book 6. It won't cost that much more and it will be worth it to reduce the stress for everyone. Trying to squeeze in too much in too short a time causes stress and strain for you, your guests and your vendors. Rule: "It always takes longer (for everything) than you think."

At the Reception

Help the photographer by informing them of special events, especially if the events were not on the itinerary or schedule you gave to the photographer at your pre-wedding consultation. Throwing a surprise or two into the mix at your wedding or reception helps build an atmosphere of romance and excitement but it can stress your photographer out a lot if they do not have any warning. You want great pictures of those events (and the priceless reactions of your guests) and if the photographer knows ahead of time you can capture the magic.

Another fun possibility for the reception is to buy some inexpensive disposable cameras to place on your wedding reception tables. You should be able to find wedding-themed cameras in bulk at a discount. Buy them ahead of time (Sams club has Kodak ones) because it can be annoying to try to find them two days before your wedding reception. Your guests will know exactly what to do with these wedding cameras.

Have printed instructions on each camera so the guests will take photos and then leave them at the reception.

Professional Photography

Help the photographer by assigning a helper during the formal portraits if possible. This family photographer's assistant should know your family (and the groom's) so that they can help quickly and efficiently keep the photographer from wasting time looking for "Uncle Sal". This person is taking some of the stress off of both you and your professional and is a great job for a family member who may be feeling left out.

The photography contract can seem complex. Be certain that you have a complete understanding of the quantity and size of prints you will be purchasing, when the prints will be available, whether you get any of the proofs and when they will be ready to be viewed, and how long after the wedding you receive your photos. I have some answers to these questions in my frequently asked professional wedding photography questions.

No matter where you purchase your album, be certain that your wedding album is acid free. Acid eats away at the paper over the years and you want your photos to last for generations to come.

Most important is that if you are relaxed, being yourself, and enjoying the wedding, it will reflect in your photos.