You may think a photographer would mostly care about how things LOOK but in truth I place more importance on how things FEEL. This is because the feels affect the looks!
If everyone is “feeling” this correlates to real, emotional photographs that will forever trigger your memories and have the emotions flooding back.
It can also be said that if things look amazing then that can affect the energy of the day, it can flatter you and it can make your photos more vibrant so for those reasons I also have tips to help the looks to help the feels to help the looks…
MY TOP TEN TIPS
Before the Day
1. PERSONALISE YOUR READINGS
Find your most creative friends and ask them to create or find a reading for you. Readings can poignant or funny. They can be from verses, poems, stories or songs. They can even be edited for laughs or found in unusual places like a hiphop song or kid’s book.
The most creative option is to get someone to write an actual story or poem about you that enhances the introduction by your celebrant. It can be extra cool if the readings are a surprise to you.
Readings gives special people a beautiful role in your day.
2. CHECK SUN ANGLES
Go to your ceremony spot at the same time of day (ideally same time of year or adjust for change in sunset) and see what the sun is doing. If you stand in your position what light is on your face? Maybe you can adjust to get a more ideal angle…
Most ideal – your faces are shaded.
Sun behind you and maybe behind leaves/structure. Guests face sun.
This creates a glow around you and soft flattering light on both your faces.
Second best option – full sun on your faces.
This means the guests have the sun behind them. It may be bright but at least the light is consistent and I can shoot behind as well.
Least ideal – sun from side.
One of you squinting and the other shaded. This makes it hard to get a good photo of you both facing each other. I feel sorry for the squinter.
Avoid – Patchy light.
This is where you have shadows and sun patches on your faces/body because the sun is coming through leaves in front of you. This is very hard to get a flattering photo!
Extra Tip: While you are there also take note of which side you are on and if your hair will be styled in a way to suit that side (eg not hanging down in your face).
3. GO UNPLUGGED
Look at the idea of an unplugged ceremony. This is where you kindly ask guests to put their phones away and to instead be present with you. It enhances everyone’s enjoyment, eye contact with you and naturally makes for better photos of people. This is such a special occasion and therefore a wonderful opportunity to encourage people to be IN the moment. You can encourage them by promising copies of professional photos later!
Extra Tip: You can tell people with signage but getting the celebrant to mention it will ensure your request is noted.
On the day
4. GO SLOWER THAN FEELS SLOW
Your celebrant will tell you to walk slow but even then I notice that everyone bolts down the aisle so my advice is to walk even slower than feels slow. Be conscious of every step you take. This not only helps me focus my camera but it sets the mood of anticipation.
Being slow is a good tip for the entire day. Slow your speech, slow your movements and slow your mind. By slowing our gaze (not darting your eyes around) and breathing slowly we are better able to soak up the moments.
5. MAKE EYES AT EVERYONE
From the moment you arrive, LOOK. That means as you walk down the aisle, make eye contact with your guests and that magic person waiting for you down the end. It seems kind of obvious but fairly often people feel overwhelmed and look at the ground.
This rule applies through out the ceremony. Look deeply into your partner’s eyes and smile at your beautiful guests. All the familiar faces in your life that are a part of this occasion.
The other common occurrence is the couple looking at the celebrant most of the time. It can be a bit of a ‘safe space’ and you may feel it’s polite. But instead I reckon just hearing the words and feeling them with your partner’s gaze makes more sense and keeps you feeling connected throughout.
Also don’t look at the photographer unless asked. I’m invisible! shhh…
6. TUNE INTO THE SENSES
By focusing on our senses we engage in the moment more:
We remember how it looked, sounded, smelt, tasted and really FELT. The added benefit is that it brings you into your body and out of your head, helping to reduce anxiety. It shusses your busy brain!
Look: at the light, at the smiles and the colours around you.
Listen: to the wind, the music, the words and the birds.
Smell: the fresh air, the perfume, your flowers.
Touch: wiggle your toes, squeeze your hands and the hands of your lover.
Taste: champagne lingering in your mouth, the kiss.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR RING CAN BE SEEN
This is a very practical tip.
You can make the handing over of the ring more of a ‘thing’.
It can be done by anyone, animal or human. Not just the best man. What about your granny, a neice or a person dressed up as a ring bear? Whoever it is though should be aware of the way in which they hand it over. Ideally in a way that the guests can see (not their back to the crowd).
When you put on the rings be try angling your hands so it can be seen by guests and photographer as well. It’s nice to show everyone that shiny goodness!
8. MAKE THE KISS LAST (OR REPEAT)
Sometimes the kiss is a bit quick and then you hug and maybe you know you didn’t kinda nail it so just go back and have another kiss, go on!
It isn’t “too much” to let a kiss linger… say for about 3 seconds.
Enjoy ending your vows on this note!
9. GET YOUR CONFETTI FACE READY
Don’t overact the thing but be prepared to remain calm in the face of a rose petal attack. Truly, I have so many photos of one gleeful person and the other looking like they are being pelted with eggs. It’s funny but just remember to enjoy the shower! And feel free to high 5 guests on route.
The kind of confetti you use also makes this shot different. Here are some confetti ideas.
Extra Tip: Make sure your celebrant prompts the guests to “get your confetti ready & throw high” as often people forget to throw it!
10. START THE PARTY IMMEDIATELY
There is nothing less ‘party’ than a long line of people waiting to hug you after the confetti toss. It can kill the vibe a bit if you have a dry mouth, an arm breaking from holding your bouquet and saw jaws from smiling at everyone saying how beautiful you look.
Congratulations make the best photos of genuine moments with guests so don’t skip it! But what can you bring to it to keep the fun going? Think of it more as a mingle than a lineup?
You can enhance this part of the wedding by getting the party started immediately.
- Make sure the tunes are playing. On the ipod or musicans. Choose a killer song to start with.
- Pop the champagne, get the drinks flowing so it’s more of a milling between hugs and the bar. Make sure you are getting a sip!
- Have canapes roaming. People can munch as they wait.
- Any other entertainment you can throw in will set the vibe. For example: a gelato cart, an icecream stand, a glitter station, a llama to pat, dogs on the loose, a surprise brass band, a magician, bar staff on rollerskates (this is genuinely what I want for my own wedding).
A little “party” before you move into your family photos is a very good idea.
Download your ‘cheat sheet’:
Want more ceremony inspiration?