Wedding Photography Tips

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a Fabulously Wed Workshop on how to work with your photographer to get great images of those wedding day details. Here’s a wrap-up of the tips and guidelines I shared with the attendees. 

Wedding sites like Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes, in combination with the power of Pinterest, have sparked a trend in the wedding world that inspires gorgeous and creative details. Whether you painstakingly do it yourself or hire a pro, the details of your wedding day are often a glimpse into your relationship – something that’s special to you as a couple. And while cliched, it is true that after the wedding day is over, much of what you created or planned will only be left in the images captured by your wedding photographer.

My love of details began at my own wedding. When my husband and I were married we were on an extremely tight budget. Ten years ago, wedding day details were not nearly the rage that they are now, but we definitely wanted to put some special touches into our wedding. Every single thing at our wedding meant something to us. And every single detail, including the wreaths below, were made by myself, my wonderful bridesmaids, my mother or my mother-in-law. It was a personal affair (and extremely labor intensive!).

Photo Credit: Steve Silver of Silver Image Photography

Of course, wedding photography was very different a decade ago, so we don’t have very many images of those details; but what we do have means so much to me because it reminds me that our wedding was a family effort.

I knew when I started photographing weddings that capturing those details for my couples was going to be a priority, mostly because I knew how much planning and work went into those details. What I’ve learned over the years though, is that it can get a little tricky to be everywhere and capture everything. It’s just the unpredictable nature of weddings. This is why it’s so important to work closely with your wedding photographer to understand the roles that communication, scheduling and lighting play on the wedding day. These three things apply to just about all aspects of your day, but for the sake of the topic, I’m going to share how it relates specifically to getting great images of your swoon-worthy details.

If there is something that you’ve worked really hard on or that’s sentimental to you, be sure to let your photographer know during your final planning session. If your bouquet is finished with the photo of a loved one or a handkerchief from your grandmother, share that with your photographer. If each table has unique place settings, be sure you mention it; otherwise, only one or two tables could be photographed under the assumption that they are all the same.

I had a couple recently who built their own chuppah to stand under on their wedding day. The groom cut the wood, they sanded it, stained it and he engraved it. It was a labor of love that is going to be a pillar in their home long after the wedding day. If they hadn’t told me how personal it was to them, I may have missed the engraving or not made it a priority to take a portrait of them underneath it. The details that matter to you will matter to your photographer as well. Offer up the details of your story so that he or she can share it through the images.

Just like you needed time to create or plan those amazing details, your photographer needs ample time on the wedding day to photograph them. Chances are, if your ceremony and reception are at the same venue, it will be much easier to take room shots and details before your guests enter a specific area. If your ceremony and reception are in different locations, it requires a bit more planning and interaction with your planner or venue coordinators.

In some cases, a second photographer heads to the reception location early to snag detail shots while the lead photographer stays at the ceremony site. Even then, sometimes the room doesn’t get finishing touches (candles lit, favors placed, hors d’oeuvres set out) until just before the guests enter the room. This scenario leaves the photographer to take photos of an unfinished room or they may not be able to get a full room shot. If this is important to you, be sure you have the chance to discuss the timing of things with your photographer and planner before it’s finalized. It’s always best to hash out these logistics before the day of the wedding.

This is the advice that isn’t a must but will certainly add that extra bit of pop for your detail images. This is the icing on the cake. You can’t literally eat this icing, but it’s just as good! If any part of your wedding day is going to be inside, you’ll want to consider the lighting in your venue and whether or not you’ll need to plan on additional lighting to create the ambiance you want. The image above is a perfect example of how candlelight and room lights can mix to create a feeling of romance.

Make an effort to see your venue around the time of day your event is taking place, or set-up a time to crash a wedding so you can get a feel for what the lighting will be like at a real wedding. If it’s not quite what you envisioned, add some accent lighting, it will be well worth it. If you can’t crash the party, your photographer most likely has experience in that particular venue and can offer up some advice, so be sure to ask. And yes, your  photographer can use a flash to light up an area, but your guests won’t be popping a bright flash while checking out your details. Again, you worked hard on those personal touches, show them off!

There you have it, my tips on working with your photographer to get great detail images. A caveat worth mentioning: these tips are only guidelines to consider when planning your day. Every photographer is different and it’s best to discuss these things with your hired wedding photographer for the best results.

One final note, while we photographers work hard and do our best to capture every detail and moment that happens, keep in mind that things happen that can cause schedules to shift and create logistical changes at the last minute. It’s for this very reason we can’t guarantee specific images, but if you plan ahead using the guidelines here and discuss what’s most important with your photographer, you’ll find that he or she is well prepared to tell the story of your day as it naturally unfolds, including those details that are most precious to you.

Good advice Krystal!


Thank you, Erin!

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