Who better to tell you how to snag amazing photos at your wedding than the guys and gals behind the camera? Here, six photographers share their top secrets to getting wedding photos you'll treasure forever.
1. Schedule your portrait session at sunset.
"For those dreamy, glowy photos, plan on having your photographer outside during golden hour, which is the hour directly before the sunset," says Tim Muller, co-founder of George Street Photo and Video. "During this time, the sun will be low enough to create those strong golden hues, soft shadows, and some serious sun flare. Swoon."
2. Do what feels natural.
"Being photographed all day long can be exhausting, and couples will often look stiff during portraits," warns Erin Wik, owner of Erin Wik Photography. "I recommend standing in a way that you normally would together. For example: Holding hands, or with your arms linked around each other's waists. The more comfortable you feel, the more natural it's going to look. Plus, this will ease you into the process, because being the star of the show can be nerve wracking."
3. Hire a professional hair stylist and makeup artist.
"Not just for yourself, but for your bridal party as well," says Ashley Lodge, owner of Ashley Lodge Photography. "You get to feel the benefit of feeling like royalty all day long, and your photographer will love you for it. The editing process goes a whole lot smoother and quicker when hair stays in place and makeup doesn't run."
4. Don't give your photographer a shot list.
"The problem with those lists is that they're the stuff of imagination," explains photographer G.E. Masana. "The requests may be for things that never happen that day, making your photographer obligated to devote their focus on watching for those, so preoccupied with nailing your requests that they miss the spontaneous moments that do happen at your wedding. And those moments can be far more powerful, richer and meaningful to you, now and in later years, than any pre-conceived idea of what you imagine your wedding photos should capture."
5. Trust your photographer's instincts.
"Know that if your photographer suggests one spot over another or doing some photos slightly later than you had initially planned, it's because they know best," says Meredith Moran, owner of Meredith Moran Photography. "They know that their photos are very important to them and they want to give you the very best. That being said, if you have your heart set on a location or backdrop that is not photographically ideal, your photographer should be able to make that happen no matter what."
6. Definitely do an engagement session.
"Not only will it give you a chance to see if you like the work of said photographer, but it will also help you by getting to know them and getting to know how they work," says Victoria Johansson, of Victoria Johansson Photography. "All of this means that when your wedding is running late, and that carefully allocated photography time shrinks from an hour to five minutes, your photographer will know what works for you and what doesn't, and you will already feel comfortable working with them and having a camera pointed at you."