Obviously, you want to leave the big stuff to the pros when it comes to your wedding-day photography, but there's something so genuine and personal about a bride's own photos. Whether you're rocking a wedding day social media hashtag or just capturing special memories for yourself, we recommend taking a moment to step back, soak it in, and snap that Instagram pic. To help you get the most stunning shots, we asked professional wedding photographer Christina Szczupak to share her best tips. So, take a selfie or three on your big day ... you look gorgeous!
Keep it Simple
"If you're taking selfies or Instagram portraits, stick to a plain background such as a wall so your photos don't look cluttered," advises Szczupak. "Stand about three feet in front of the wall to avoid shadows."
Work the Lighting
"The best way to get that romantic airy look for your photos is to head for natural light whether it's a window or even better, outside. Getting shots with daylight makes all the difference!" says Szczupak. "A nice side light is also often really flattering and much more interesting than straight on light. If you have a window next to you, turn slightly towards the window (not a full profile, about three quarters of the way), and your skin will look amazing! If you are outside, go to a shaded area. It is much more flattering not having all those harsh shadows on your face."
Try Different Shots
"You don't always have to look at the camera," encourages Szczupak. "Try a few shots where you're not looking straight on. There's no one angle is best for everyone so experiment — you might even surprise yourself and like that profile shot!" Also, don't be afraid to crop creatively. "A centered image is great but I love switching it up," she says. "Cropping with a little negative space can be fun. I also love to add some contrast to my images so they pop a little."
Focus on the Details
When you're taking a photo of your setup or venue, get closer than you think, Szczupak advises. "Most people want to just take a large room shot but it is often hard to see those beautiful details that you spent so long on, especially in a small Instagram photo. Choosing one table setup and focusing on it can create much more beautiful and impactful shots."
Brighten Photos With Filters
For Instagram filters that brighten photos to give it that airy look with just one tap, try Amaro, Rise, and Walden. Szczupak also recommends apps VSCO Cam and Picfx for editing images because they give the user much more control over how to use the filters.
Capture the Key Players
"Some of the best moments on a wedding day happen before the actual ceremony," Szczupak says. "Make sure to capture your bridesmaids getting ready and grab a group photo right after hair and makeup is complete. Also make sure to take an image of your parents, and don't forget to grab a shot of your handsome groom — it's important that he has his moment too." But ultimately, what makes your Instagram feed most impactful is selective editing, she advises. "You don't have to share absolutely everything. Often less is better, so only show the images you really love!"