three ways to increase the likelihood that you will love your wedding photos

wow. sorry for the long title.

1) DISCUSS AND DECIDE A TIMELINE: discuss your expectations with your photographer before the wedding day. create a timeline with your photographer and stick with it. i create timelines with each and every one of my couples to ensure that we all on the same page. decide before the wedding if you want ten minutes of formals or two hours of formals. this will help the photographer know exactly where you expectations are. in other words, communicate with one another. if your photographer is not the catalyst behind a timeline, then ask them yourself to work on it with you. [but honestly, if you have to pursue your photographer, you should probably not go with that one…] below is an example of a simple timeline i had with a couple from january’s wedding. i wrote a rough draft, they reviewed & approved it, and then i finalized it. wallah!

2) PERSONALIZE YOUR PHOTOS: yes, photographers are paid to be creative. but what helps me out is when bride & grooms are vocal about their passions, hobbies, interests, etc. this helps me create a look that represents THEM. not what they see on pinterest. not what they saw their friends do at their wedding in 2005. but something that shouts their name, their relationship, their wedding day. that being said, dont be afraid to tell your photographer about yourself. and you never know what little info about yourself can turn into a masterpiece. below are two of my favorite personalized formal photos from this year. first, tina & calebs love for travel (they went to Africa on their honeymoon!!!) was the inspiration behind this winter traveling wedding:

secondly, vicki & ben and their bridal party shared a same common trait: musicians:

3) DON’T ALLOW PHOTO-BOMBS: how to make the most of your wedding day photos, when your guests are determined to photo bomb your ceremony & formals so they can quickly post your photos online. and although i am not blind to the hashtagging-world we live in, i have to pull the breaks on this and advice brides & grooms to speak up sooner than later. clearly my contract states that noone, no matter how cute a grandmother, can take photos during the posed formal portraits. but what about the ceremony? where is the line drawn? well, after the past 3 or 4 weddings in the last month, i realize the vitality of having the couple or coordinator communicate to the officiant to announce that no one is allowed to get up and walk around with cameras during the ceremony. of course you may think, “bethany if you are a photographer, you should be able to work around the guests and capture the photo despite what they do.” yes that is true but no. yes, i can and do maneuver around guests. however, if you look at the photo below, the lighting was pretty harsh during the ceremony and shooting at this side of the couple produced the best lighting. so, yes i could move to a different angle, but i would sacrifice perfect lighting for a guest who wanted to take a photo for their facebook page.


another bummer is when people stretch out their arms so the iPhone is in the middle of the aisle. you couldn’t imagine how many beautiful images get ruined by a random phone in the aisle or guest in the background. if you are worried about what your guests say, ask your officiant to politely remind guests that the bride & groom would feel very respected if their guests remained seated and kept the phone & cameras within the seating area. [sounds like a disneyland ride]

of course there is the occasional bold guest.

remember, there is plenty of time during the reception for your guests to capture amazing moments of the bride & groom. its just about directing your guests to the appropriate place and time to go crazy with their cameras. this was a great crowd at one of my july weddings:

these three things can and will help improve your wedding day photographs significantly. most professional photographers are prepared for anything at any type of wedding. but you can do your part by communicating your expectations beforehand and creating a detailed timeline, by allowing yourself an extra cup of coffee with your photographer so they can get to know you beyond what color bridesmaid dresses are, and by asking your officiant or coordinator to communicate to your guests that photos during the ceremony should be taken from their seats.

wallah! now what do you think?