7 Wedding Photos You'll Regret Not Taking
So many things go into planning a wedding: Will the dress fit? Will the cake toppers stay on the cake? Will the weather hold up? Will the venue get the table settings right? When it comes to the big things like your photos, you can use all the help you can get to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
This must-have wedding photo checklist is designed to help you look back on your day and remember how perfect it was … because it will be perfect, everything will work out, we promise.
1) Getting Ready
The morning of your wedding is full of emotion -- nerves are flying, the air smells like champagne and hairspray, and everyone is joyfully strolling down Memory Lane as they remember the old times that brought you all together. Those are emotions that you really want to capture, which is why getting ready photos have become so popular.
Some of the strongest images include the bride fixing her make up or buckling her shoes as the last piece of the transformation, bridesmaids buttoning up their best friend's dress, or Mom giving one final hug as her little girl grows up in front of her eyes.
TIP: This one is important for getting ready, but should be carried into the rest of the wedding photos as well -- don't forget about the groom! Many photographers focus on the ladies getting ready, but make sure to get plenty of shots of your hubby too. There are few things more touching than a father and his son sharing an emotional moment, and Dad helping the groom with his tie or cufflinks is one of those moments.
"Don't forget the groom! Many photographers focus on the ladies, but make sure you get plenty of shots of your hubby too."
2) The First Look
There's a lot of tradition and taboo behind seeing each other before walking down the aisle, but with so much going during the ceremony, it's difficult for the photographer to capture that once-in-a-lifetime look the groom has when he first sees his bride. The "First Look" shot is a way to make that moment last forever, and it allows you to enjoy the wedding you worked so hard (and paid so much) for. Not seeing each other until the ceremony forces you to take any photos of you two together during the cocktail hour or reception. Planning a First Look before the ceremony, however, frees up some of that time to mingle, talk with your guests, and eat! Plus, some of the nerves will be gone for when you take that walk to the altar.
TIP: While there is a focus on the groom seeing his bride-to-be, to really nail the First Look pictures have your photographer set you up in a way that both of your faces will be in the shot. Instead of facing each other, try standing side by side so the camera can catch your reaction as well as the groom's. No matter how gorgeous your hair came out, people would rather see your face than the back of your head.
"Instead of facing each other, try standing side by side so the camera can catch your reaction as well as the groom's."
3) The Wedding Party
We've all seen the standard wedding photo: bridesmaids and groomsmen standing boy-girl-boy-girl with the bride and groom in the middle and everyone smiling at the camera. While there's nothing technically wrong with those photos, there's also nothing wrong with having a little fun with your bridal party pictures. Let the group be themselves, make jokes, make faces, and laugh about it all. A good photographer will keep snapping away catching those "in between" shots when the true smiles come out. You're probably paying a pretty penny for your wedding photographer – get your money's worth with truly memorable shots.
TIP: Don't be afraid to mix up the groups. Show your bridesmaids ogling your hubby's new ring or fixing his boutonniere, and pose yourself with the guys. Even a small change to the traditional wedding party photo - like having some people sit or kneel in front of the others - will create a more dynamic image and make it look more natural.
"Let the group be themselves… capture the in between shots when the smiles are more natural."
4) The Family
A candid moment will almost always deliver a better picture than a posed shot since it's documenting what's actually happening. If the emotion is in the wedding it will show in the wedding photos so don't try to force it. When you do arrange formal pictures with your family, don't shy away from including more than just Mom and Dad. Show different generations and gather Mom and Grandma together with the bride or groom in a casual group, or strike a pose with the flower girl and give it to her as a keepsake of a magical day you spent together.
TIP: Try creating a First Look with your Mom, Dad, or other family members who you think will have a strong reaction. It can be difficult to get that stunning shot of your Father-Daughter dance since you're, well, dancing. A First Look is a great balance between posed and candid that delivers beautifully emotional photos you can cherish forever.
"If the emotion is in the wedding it will show in the photos so don't try to force it."
5) The Kiss
You've said your "I do's" and "'til death do us parts", you're official – time to seal the deal with a kiss. The whole reason to have a wedding is to share your love for each other, so the kiss pic is an absolute must-have photo.
This is a great opportunity to let your photographer get as creative as he wants to be. Using props like flowers or your veil, or playing with lighting, angles, and depth of field can take these types of images from simple pictures to stunning photographs.
TIP: Be gentle with each other. You don't want to downplay your excitement and affection, but nobody wants to see a picture of two faces smushed together. The best photos are often the moment just before your lips actually touch, it shows a sense of anticipation and tenderness that's difficult to capture in any other way.
"Be gentle with each other -- the best photos are often the moment just before your lips actually touch."
6) The Party
Once you finish with all the lovey-dovey stuff, it's time to kick back, put on your dancing shoes, and have fun! The reception is where people start to let loose, and where the party happens. Make sure your photographer is snapping away catching all the action of the wedding party, grabbing candid shots of dance circles, toasts, and intimate moments between guests. You'll be thrilled to have photos that show what actually happened at your wedding instead of just posed portraits. Group bridal party photos are great, but nothing brings out Grandma's wild side like a good beat and your husband's college roommate.
TIP: If you want candid photos, be clear with your photographer that you truly mean candid. Nothing kills your guests' buzz like being asked to move out of the way, or having to stop dancing to their favorite song to pose for a portrait. If you want your photographer to be a fly on the wall, make sure they know.
"Take photos that show what actually happened at your wedding instead of just posed portraits."
7) The Best Night Ever
You want wedding pictures that show the relationships you share with your friends and family. You want photos that show the emotions behind such an important day in your lives. But at the end of the day, you want something that you can look back at and think "I'm so glad I married him." There's so much going on the day of your wedding and so many moments to try to capture, but every couple needs one bombshell wedding photo to hang on their wall.
TIP: Don't be afraid to think outside the box – bring sparklers or balloons, play into the weather, or experiment with back-lighting. Think about the time of day – grab a romantic shot in front of the setting sun or under the stars with some dramatic lighting. Above all else, make sure you take some time to focus on you and your new husband. Show off the love you have for each other with a truly special photo.
"Every couple needs one bombshell wedding photo to hang on their wall."