If all goes according to plan, you’ll only get married once – so that means you only have one chance to get those picture perfect wedding shots. With the right wedding planning, it’s easy to do though. Remember, wedding gifts are more than favors and bridal party gifts (though they’re important)…making lasting memories of your wedding day is essential.
Here is an easy four-step process to make sure you end up with the wedding photos you’ve always dreamed of.
Step 1 – Decide on the wedding photos you want
This very basic step is often overlooked, and it’s one of the key causes of not ending up with the photos you want. Be sure to give some thought to this. While there is bound to be some variation, here are some classic wedding shots that have proven to be popular over time:
- Bride getting ready for the big day – You can have photos taken of you getting your hair done, putting on your earrings, or checking out your reflection in a mirror prior to leaving for the ceremony.
- Bride getting out of the limo or wedding transport before the ceremony
- Groom, bride, and wedding party walking down the aisle
- Bride and groom during ceremony
- First kiss as a married couple
- First dance as a married couple
- Shot of the wedding bands on the bride and groom’s fingers
- Bride and groom cutting the cake, and feeding each other a taste of it
- Groom going after the bride’s garter
Step 2 – Decide on the right wedding photographer
The best way to figure out if a photographer is the right one for you is to check out their previous work. Every photographer has their own unique style, and you want to make sure that their vision of the perfect wedding shoot meshes well with yours.
Start by checking out their website. Any photographer who’s had some experience will showcase some of their work online. After checking out their portfolio, you’ll have a good idea of whether or not they lean towards the classic, quirky, traditional, or outside-the-box style. You can also get an idea of how good they might be by looking at whether or not they’ve won any awards, like this one. Another good source of leads for potential wedding photographers is by looking at “best of” lists.
Finally, call or email any photographers who make it to your shortlist and find out more details on what they can do for you, and how much it’ll cost.
If you need to save money on your photographer, try these two tips:
- Try hiring someone who has a fabulous portfolio, but is still a bit new to the business – photographers just starting out may be willing to give you a deal.
- Don’t hire them for the entire wedding day. You’re paying for their time, and the more of it you take up, the more you’ll have to pay. The most costly way of hiring a photographer is to have them spend 12 hours with you on your wedding day: for a morning ceremony, afternoon photo session, and evening dinner/reception. If you can shrink the amount of time they’re with you, your costs will go down. Consider hiring them only for the ceremony and a quick photo shoot afterwards. If you have your heart set on some photos from the reception, consider faking it – you and your new spouse can pose with the cake in the reception hall for a quick shot before the reception even begins. Ditto for a “first dance” photo – pose on the dance floor in a strategically chosen spot that doesn’t make it obvious that this was staged before the party began.
Here are some recommended wedding photographers from across Canada:
Toronto – Ben Kane Photography
Vancouver – Melissa Lucida
Calgary – Sean Leblanc
Edmonton – Dorota Karpowicz at EDFK Photography
Ottawa – Union Eleven
Laval – Sonia Bourdon
Regina – Jessica Lena Photography
Saskatoon – Grant Romancia
Winnipeg – Moore Photography
Hamilton – Elizabeth in Love
Halifax – Jeff Cooked Photography
Step 3 – Crowd-source your photos
Stretch your photo budget by turning your guests into photographers. Purchase disposable wedding cameras for them. At the ceremony, give a disposable camera to people in the front row, and to a select few in the aisle seats. These people will have a great view of all the big moments, and just might snap a few shots that are worth far more than the small amount of cash you invested in those cameras. At the wedding reception, depending on your budget, you can either give each guest a disposable camera, or put one on each table.
After the day’s events are over, have someone from your wedding party collect the cameras and get the photos developed. There are almost always going to be some real gems in the collection.
While it’s probably best not to leave all of your photos to chance (i.e. you should still hire a pro to ensure that you’ve got the most important moments covered), crowd-sourcing your photos from your guests can be a very economical way to increase the number of memorable moments that are captured on film.
Step 4 – Provide the photographer with something great to work with
While the best photographers can make any scene look even better on film, if you want a picture perfect wedding, it can’t hurt to help make their job easier by providing the photographer with a great setting. Dress up your ceremony location with flowers and other decor. Take the time to decorate the venue being used for the reception. And if an afternoon photo shoot between ceremony and reception is planned, choose somewhere beautiful for this to take place. Finally, in regards to your afternoon photo shoot location, you may have to book the space in advance. Typically, the best locations for wedding photo shoots require advance booking to ensure you’ll have your turn – ensure that this is one of the first things you do when planning your wedding – booking a year in advance is NOT too soon. Of course, you can always shop for a great photo backdrop!
Last, but not least, the bride, groom, and wedding party can indulge in getting pampered to look their best – it’s for the sake of getting great photos, after all! Get everyone’s nails manicured. Get the ladies’ hair done by a professional. Hire a makeup artist to do everyone’s makeup in a way that will bring out their best features. Coordinate everyone’s outfits ahead of time – you’ll probably be doing that anyhow, it’s your wedding after all – but it’s so important that it’s definitely worth a mention!
Your picture perfect wedding is in reach
By choosing the right photographer to capture the most important moments of your big day, and using the pooled talents of your guests via candid shots they’ll take, you’ll end up with a wonderful collection of photographs to choose from. And you’ll help things go in the right direction by pre-planning the shots you want to get, and helping every person – and location – to look as good as possible. There’s no time to waste, and you can get started right now. Brainstorm a list of moments you want to capture on film during your big day, then make a list of photographers that you want to reach out to for quotes. You’re on your way to a picture perfect day!