We are back with more advice for photography week.  This time, we are talking about the little things that you can do to make sure that you get the most out of your wedding day photography.  Perhaps you’ve splurged on the dream photographer, or you just really want to make the most of your day in the spotlight, whatever the reason we turned the professionals for some advice.  We wanted to know what to pros had to say about getting amazing wedding pictures that you’ll love forever.

We talked to photographers in the Washington DC area wedding community and ask them for their help.  The feedback was great and, of course, informative.  Here is what the wedding photographers in DC, MD and VA had to say about making the most of your wedding day photography:

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Photo Credit:  Stephanie Ascari Photography

First Look
An overwhelming amount of photographers suggested that couples schedule a “first look” with their partner on the wedding day.  A “first look” is a private moment just before your wedding ceremony between you and your partner (and your photographer, of course) where you two get to see each other for the first time.  A first look session is not traditional in the sense that you won’t see each for the first time walking down the aisle, but you sure will get the same chills and goosebumps.  And, your photographer will be there to capture it without any other distractions.  So romantic!

Timeline
Work together with your photographer to create a realistic timeline and schedule of events for your wedding day.  Photographers can give you suggestions and provide advice for how things should flow.  Nearly all of the photographers that we talked to said that problems arise when there isn’t enough time scheduled for certain events.  Talking with your photographer in advance about the schedule can solve these issues.  Also, weddings often run late and problems arise on the big day, but if your photographer is in the loop, they can help things move along and ensure that regardless of what happens you get the photographs that you want.

Set Clear Expectations
If you have a certain vision in your head or things that you want photographed, make sure you let your photographer knows.  They are professionals and they will get the good shots, but they aren’t mind readers.  There is nothing wrong with communicating your desires.  It is better than keeping them inside and risking disappointment.

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Photo Credit:  Amie Otto Photography

Direct from the pros:  “Tell your photographer what’s important to you.  I don’t mean writing up a shot list that details things like the vows, recessional and first dance.  Any good photographer is obviously going to shoot those things.  But, unless you specifically tell us abut the not-so-obvious elements that you really care about, we won’t know that you spent 10 hours on your placecards or that your college roommate who’s not in your wedding party introduced you to your fiance.  Tell us these things and we’ll shoot them for you.  Also, pad your schedule.  Weddings almost inevitably run a little late.  Make sure you have time built into your schedule so that you and your photographer can make some nice, non-rushed images of you and your spouse on your wedding day,”  said Jennnifer McMenamin.

Be Realistic
Photographers are artists, yes.  Miracle workers, no.  There is only so much that your wedding photographer can do.  They are one person and can only be in one place at one time.  Know that issues and problems will arise on your wedding day.  They will do the best job they possibly can, but sometimes things are out of their control.

Trust, Trust, Trust
You need to trust the person that you hired.  Hopefully you’ve done the research to hire a wedding photographer that you connect with and whose work you love.  Your wedding day is the time to let your photographer do their job.

Direct from the pros:  “Trust and listen to your photographer’s suggestions and recommendations.  This starts by hiring a photographer whom you trust and get a good vibe from.  If you trust your photographer, you will be more likely to listen to their suggestions, which is very important because we’ve done this a few hundred times and if we are making a suggestion, say for timeline or photo location, it’s with your best interest in mind,” says Michelle Lindsay.

Direct from the pros:  “I’m sure each couple goes through an arduous process of selecting their photographer.  So, once they have picked the photographer, I would ask them to just trust the photographer with his/her vision, style, experience and approach and that he/ he will be able to create most unique images from your wedding day,” says Ethan Yang.

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Photo Credit:  {a}strid photography

Be Comfortable
Be comfortable with your photographer, that is.  In addition to trusting your photographer, you should also work to develop a relationship with them.  Tell them your love story and a little bit about yourself.  The more they know about you, the more connected and invested they will be as well.  If you are comfortable with your photographer, you won’t even notice their camera.  A few photographers that we talked to recommended having an engagement shoot with your wedding photographer.  This is a chance for everyone to get comfortable with each other and for you to have some pictures taken in a more relaxed setting before your wedding day.

Direct from the pros:  “Allow your photographer to really get to know you.  I require all of my clients (both the bride and groom) to fill out a fun questionnaire, which allows me to know them on a different level.  Be honest! Open up!” says Stephanie Ascari.

Hire a Planner
More than a few photographers that we talked to suggested that couples hire a wedding planner for their big day.  There are all levels of wedding planning and you can even hire someone to come just on the day of your wedding to assist.  A good wedding planner will help to coordinate all of your vendors, including your photographer, and keep everything running smoothly.

Direct from the pros:  “Hire a planner or coordinator.  This wedding gift to yourself will manifest itself in a more relaxed, enjoyable day for you and your families.  This lack of stress will also have the benefit of enhancing great photography.  Beyond that, communicate with your photographer; letting them know what is most important to you, but ultimately trust them to do what they do best,”  says Anne and Bill Holland.

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Photo Credit:  Erica Abbey Photography

Get An Album
At the time, albums can seem really expensive or unnecessary.  But, many of the photographers that we talked to suggested that one of the best ways to get the most out of your wedding photographs is to get a album made with all those pretty pictures.  This is a chance to show off your photos in a timeless way.  It has been six years since my wedding and I still haven’t gotten an album!  I should have done it right after my wedding.

“Speak and work with the photographer to create a package that is customized for you so that you and your fiancé walk away with exactly what you want.  Clients also underestimate the value of a custom album.  Most clients don’t do much with the disk of images and think they can create an album whenever they want, but really it takes a lot more time than they realize.  Its always a good idea to have the photographer create it for you so that you have a nice way of showcasing your images,” says Kate Haus.

Be You
This goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – be you!  The more fun you have on your wedding day, the more it will show in your pictures.  If you are stressed out and distracted with all the details, it will show all over your face and in your pictures.  Your wedding day is the time to let go and enjoy being in love!

“Most important, remember why you are there: to get married, be affectionate, have fun, and be you,” says Jessica from Paired Images.

That’s all the advice for now!  Check out the rest of our photography week, or browse our guide full of local photographers.

Stephanie Ascari Photography, Ethan Yang Photography and {a}strid photography are some of our fabulous sponsors.  For more on our editorial policies, please click here.

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