The concept of a traditional wedding is ever-changing, and the coronavirus pandemic has certainly shifted the way weddings are being planned even further. With that, elopements and microweddings are undeniably on the rise. But, just as smaller celebrations at tucked-away locations are being planned more and more, so are beautiful and intimate at-home weddings.
An at-home wedding gives a couple the security of a reliable venue they know and love. And, while it sounds daunting to plan a wedding at your own or a family member’s home, it definitely is possible to make the celebration just as special as it would be at your dream venue.
But, what’s a couple to do when it comes to photographing that special day? Is the option of bringing in a professional photographer still on the table. Or, are you setting yourself up to have to rely on a friend or family member to capture the day?
Rest assured, we have the answers to your photography questions if you’re planning an at-home wedding. Read on for an expert guide to at-home wedding photos.
Hire a Professional Photographer
First thing’s first, it’s crucial to determine who will actually be responsible for capturing your meaningful day. According to photographer Jenny Soi, she absolutely loves the concept of having an intimate at-home celebration. But, the idea of a couple doing their own photos is gasp-worthy. “I would deeply urge couples to consider how they want to feel when getting married at home—on cloud nine with zero worries or busy multitasking,” she says.
An at-home wedding certainly doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own or solely rely on your loved ones to help out. You can still bring vendors into the mix, and a great photographer may be one of the most important to add to your list. “Photography to me is the most important service on your wedding day. I would always advise couples to invest in it, even if you are just doing a small elopement at your home,” adds Wendy Kay, owner and creative director of Tiny Weddings Dallas and Birds of a Feather Events.
As you make this decision, you’ll definitely want to put plenty of thought into how much stress you want to put on you and your partner on your wedding day. Adding the expense of bringing in a professional photographer will certainly make the day more memorable as you’ll be able to truly celebrate in the moment.
Map Out a Game Plan
As you’re deciding on a photographer to fit your style, be sure to have a few conversations ahead of time. Because your wedding is at home, you’re inviting vendors into a more personal space, rather than just meeting them at a venue. Once you decide on the perfect fit, make a solid game plan for your big day.
“I would recommend getting to know the photographer really well and set expectations as to what they can expect to capture throughout the day,” says Soi. “The beauty of an at-home wedding is that you can make it however you like, adding new or skipping wedding traditions.” She suggests being sure your photographer knows what to expect. “A great photographer will be proactive with you and will ask all that [they] will need to know,” she adds.
Schedule a Site Visit
Before your wedding, be sure your photographer has time to see the space. Often, local photographers are familiar with most venues in their area. But, an at-home wedding provides a different setting. “If you are partnering with a professional photographer for your wedding, I highly recommend having them do a site visit of your home prior to the wedding day,” says Kay. “They'll be able to look at the light in different spaces, determine where the sun will be at any given hour, and tell you which locations will work best to deliver you the best images.”
And, as with any vendor coming on-site, it’s important to discuss precautions being put in place. “Share what precautions both parties can take during the celebration,” says Soi. “Set boundaries early so there are no awkward moments between you and your photographer on the day of your wedding."
Capture the Light
Whether you’re bringing in a professional or keeping things low-key and relying on a friend or family member to snap pics for your wedding, it’s important to keep light in mind to achieve the best possible photos. “Make sure you have plenty of natural light flowing through your windows and light color-reflective walls,” says Soi. “Take note of where the light flows through in which direction of your home from morning to night to dictate where your photos can be taken.” You should also take lighting into consideration when choosing your ceremony location, along with focal points of your reception, to better capture each meaningful moment.
Clear the Clutter
As you consider the layout and design for your at-home wedding, don’t forget to think about what personal items may make it into a shot. “For indoor locations, make sure you take notice of all the items you may not want in your photos,” says Soi. “It’s easy to forget in the moment of the celebration, so take a scan around your home to clear all personal, non-décor items ahead of time.” Of course, these are normal things you’re utilizing throughout your home on a day-to-day basis. But, they can certainly be tucked away on your wedding day. Soi advises keeping little things in mind such as space heaters, exposed lamp wires, and mail. “Design your space with editorial intention and purpose!” she says.
Embrace the Backyard
If you have a backyard, it may be the perfect spot to capture gorgeous photos, no matter the season. “Never underestimate the power of a beautiful sunset and golden-hour light streaming through simple tree branches,” says Soi. “If you have both in your backyard, you are blessed with the perfect outdoor backdrop.” Even if you have every intention to capture the majority of your photos inside, set aside some time to head outside to capture just a few options with that beautiful, golden-hued sky.