10 Tips from One of our Favorite Wedding Photographer’s

We have had ONE of our favorite Bluebird Wedding Photographers, Laura Murray , put together 10 Tips for you to help you get the best out of your photos! Check them out:

  1. Allow plenty of time for photographs.  I always like to cushion the timeline a little bit so that the bride and groom do not feel rushed.  I like to make sure my couples have plenty of time to live in the moment and not feel like they are rushing from one place to another.  However, sometimes timelines get behind (Always plan more time for hair and makeup than you think you need!  That is a frequent bottleneck in the timeline) so we use up all that cushion time.  Other times, we finish photos a little early, but that just means more time to spend with friends and family enjoying the day.  It is never a problem to have more time than you think you will need.
    1. Magical light makes for magical photographs.  Try to schedule time at sunset for bride and groom portraits when the light is soft and beautiful.  Oftentimes the couples sneak out of the reception for 10-15 minutes while the rest of the guests are eating and we capture a few shots during the magic hour.  And it is also helpful to choose getting ready, ceremony, and reception locations in spaces with big windows that let in lots of light.  My favorite kind of light is natural light.
    1. Hire a good wedding planner.  This was the first advice I gave my sister when she was planning her wedding.  A good wedding planner helps make your wedding day run smoothly so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying!  Wedding planners will help keep the timeline on schedule, will gather family members before the ceremony, will make sure all those details that you poured your heart and soul into get set up correctly, will coordinate with catering to make sure food gets set on the table hot and promptly, and will orchestrate all the different vendors in your days to make sure they are all on the same page.  They often act as councilors and fairy godmothers, too!
      1. Print your wedding photographs!  Sometimes couples purchase just the disk of images and they will upload the images to their computer, post some to Facebook, and keep the images in the digital world.  I cannot stress how important it is to print your photographs.  One day your computer will be obsolete, the disk will be scratched, and Facebook might be no more … but the printed image endures.  I have prints from my husband’s great grandparents wedding.  It is absolutely amazing to see those photographs over 100 years later.
      1. Make the time for family photos efficient.  Make sure that all people involved in family photos know to stick around after the ceremony and create a list ahead of time with the exact family groupings you would like captured.  That way your photographer does not miss any crucial shots, or your photographer does not do TOO many grouping that you do no particularly care about (which can take time away from relaxing and enjoying!).  I recommend doing one big photo on each side with extended family, and then smaller groupings with the immediate family members (bride and groom with just parents, bride and groom with just siblings, bride with mom, bride with dad, groom with mom, groom with dad, etc).
      1. Your dress may not stay pristine throughout the day.  I do my best when I photograph to keep wedding dresses away from mud, water, and excessive dirt, but it is inevitable that dresses will get a little dirty, even on the sunniest of days.  Some of my favorite photographs I have taken were in a field surrounded by mountains on the rainiest day of the year.  The bride said she always envisioned taking pictures in that field, and the fact that storms came in her wedding day did not stop her.  I never shoot anywhere that makes my clients uncomfortable, but this bride was adamant that she wanted to go outside for photographs despite the conditions.  She did not care that her dress got a little dirty (and miraculously the dry cleaner got just about every last stain out of her dress). Be carefree on your wedding day.  Try to remember to live in the moment and let the little things, like a bit of dirt on the bottom of your dress, be the least of your concerns.
      1. Make sure that bridesmaids and family are present and fully dressed before you step into your dress.  One of my favorite moments of the day is when your friends and family help you with the getting ready preparations.  I have had a mother of the bride say that she is going to help her daughter into her dress, and then she will get dress.  I encouraged her to get ready first, because that way she all dressed up in photos, instead of being dressed in jeans and a t-shirt in the photos helping her daughter into that gorgeous dress.  Same for the guys.  I encourage the groom’s parents and grandparents, as well as the groomsmen to be present for the groom getting ready.  I have taken very sweet photos of the dad helping the groom with his tie, the mom helping her son with her boutonniere, and the groom giving grandma a big hug during this preparation time.  This time makes for great heartfelt candid shots.
      1. Have your photographer eat while you eat.  Sometimes catering likes to feed us after every guest has been served.  However, that means that by the time we are sitting down to eat, you are up interesting with guests, about to start toasts, cake cutting, etc.  Photographer work long days and while we always bring snacks to tide us over, a meal at dinnertime is always appreciated.  And it is even more helpful for us to eat when the bride and groom eat.  Because that way we are away eating when things are slower at the receptions, and back when you are up laughing, talking, and embracing your guests.
      1. Let’s talk about the bride and groom first look for a minute.  About half my couple opt to do a first look, and half my couples opt to not do a first look.  I do not have a preference either way for photographs — please choose based on your own personal preferences.  Will it make you feel less nervous seeing your groom ahead of time?  Does the idea of doing all the family photos after the ceremony stress you out because you would rather be enjoying a cocktail with your guests?  Then do a first look.  Have you always envisioned your groom seeing you for the first time at the end of the aisle?  Do you have plenty of time – and daylight left – for photos after the ceremony?  Then opt to not do a first look.
      2. Think about doing a dad first look.  Usually mom, bridesmaids, and some other female family members help with getting into the dress.  Once all that is done, I think it is a great idea to send your dad into your room to be the first guy that sees you all done up.  These moments are often so emotional and special.  Usually there is lots of hugging and often tears!

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