Imagine: many years from now, you’re about to show your children, or your grandchildren, or maybe even some new friends, a slideshow of your wedding photos. As you’re sliding through the photos, you notice something about the audience to whom you’re presenting the slideshow. Fidgeting. Yawning. Averting eyes. Phone-checking. It’s official: they’re not in any way intrigued or excited about your wedding photos.
To be fair, this hypothetical audience is being pretty darn rude. But let’s face it: a lot of people out there have galleries of their wedding photos that simply aren’t all that interesting. Not that you need wedding photos to be spectacular – it’s probably one of the least important parts of the day, after all – but most people do want to have great wedding photos to keep and show off to people in the future. (And to paste all over social media, of course.)
So let’s take a quick look at the things you should consider if you want to make sure your wedding photos are moving, inspiring – and maybe even fun!
Get some inspiration
Wedding photography these days is getting sharper and more creative. When we look at older wedding photos, we tend to see slightly washed-out pictures of pretty standards scenes. A few shots from outside the church, the placing of the ring on the finger, etc. These days, wedding photography tends to be more alluring than ever, with camera quality and accessibility being better and more widespread than ever. It may be worth checking out some galleries of creative wedding photography in order to get some inspiration for your own wedding. Be careful about simply ripping other people off, though!
Great wedding photography should capture all of the key moments and items of a wedding. You should consider having a bunch of photos of inanimate objects, free of people: the clothing, the venue, the rings, the invites, the bouquets, the ceremonial decor, etc. Getting snaps of people getting ready, the ‘first look’ (although some couples would prefer to keep the first look completely private), the drive to the venue, the aisle walk… basically, once you start breaking a wedding up into particular objects and scenes, you’ll begin to see what you should really be taking pictures of if you really want to have an exhaustive and detailed collection of photos of the day.
Should you pick a venue just because it will look in the photographs? Of course not. But it’s worth considering the photography, right? After all, people tend to pick venues because they think the venues are beautiful, so it figures that any venue you pick is bound to look pleasing to you in the photographs. One thing you should remember, however, is just how free you are to take photos in and around the venue. While it’s extremely unlikely that any venue which hosts weddings would prohibit photography in any way, it’s worth making sure you understand all the terms before you agree to get married somewhere.
Surely everyone at the wedding is going to look beautiful, radiant, and utterly photogenic almost automatically, as if the emotional power of the day had given everyone some kind of visual boost? Here’s the thing: most people will come across wedding photos that they don’t think are as good as the others, and quite often it has to do with particular looks and positions. Fake smiles can be seen a mile away – make sure people are genuinely smiling before snapping. Consider getting some unique jewelry, such as loose Colombian emeralds, to make the photos really pop. You should even think about working with a professional makeup artist or hair stylist!
Amateur vs professional
Speaking of professionals, you need to ask yourself whether you’re willing to pay for a professional wedding photographer. It’s true that they’re not cheap, but most of the amazing shots you’ll see online were done by professionals with very expensive photographic equipment (which is why they’re not so cheap to hire!), so it’s certainly something you should be considering. That being said, a professional photographer can’t be everywhere at once. It’s worth handing out some cheaper cameras to certain guests and encouraging them to take photos themselves – or you could simply ask everyone to send you any photos they happen to take on their phones throughout the day.
At the end of the day, just remember that any photos you take should primarily please you, the married couple. And any photos that bring back amazing memories of that day should be good enough for you.