As a wedding photographer, I send out a nice checklist of things that may have slipped my couples’ minds before the big day. Things like family formal tips, guests with cameras, vendor meals, etc. But I also want to share a few tips that help with not only the logistics of the day, but how to get BETTER wedding photos!
Ask your florist if you can have some clippings or extra buds for your detail shots. I personally don’t bring a “styling kit” because I prefer to use found items from your actual wedding day, so flowers and greenery are always a nice bonus!
And don’t forget an extra invitation suite! Those cards, envelopes, and stamps are just as important as other details, and make a beautiful first spread of your album.
One last thing – your dress hanger. I still think it’s crazy that dress shops don’t supply a “pretty” hanger for a dress you spent $$$$ on, but I digress. You don’t have to spring for a super fancy diamond encrusted hanger for your dress, but anything’s better than the plastic cheapie thing that comes with it. Literally anything will give you better wedding photos.
THAT GOOD GOOD LIGHT IN YOUR GETTING READY ROOM
You have your venue picked out, and you’re starting to look for the space where you’ll get ready for the day. Consider a space (whether it’s a hotel room, Air BnB, or someone else’s home) with GOOD light. I know this sounds like “well DUH Sonj”, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a suite with literally no windows, or big beautiful windows on one side, and the makeup artist set up in a dark corner with LED lights.
The majority of your portraits (and/or ceremony) will be in natural light, so you might as well keep your images cohesive. Also, if your photographer turns OFF the lamps in the room, keep them off – no one wants a glowing lampshade in the background of their wedding photos.
MONOGRAMS AND GOBOS
These are classy AF and you know it. I love the look of monograms on the dance floor or on the wall above the sweetheart table. Just ask your DJ to turn the gobo (thats the light projected onto the floor or wall) OFF for the first dance and parent dances, or move it off the dance floor so it lights the wall and makes a beautiful background for those moments.
SPEAKING OF DJ LIGHTS – YES TO PARTY LIGHTS!
I la-la-la-love shooting into colorful lights, and the right lighting totally sets the mood for the party. Just ask your DJ to leave the explode-y laser dots at home. The spinning neon, yellow, patterned, five foot-wide gobos? Those can stay home too.
SWEETHEART TABLE: SPACE BEHIND YOUR CHAIRS
While planning your reception room layout, consider the space behind your sweetheart table. Can your ninja-like photographer squeeze behind you for an epic toast shot? Or is the table butted-up to the wall? This is absolutely a matter of preference, (and room layouts) but it’s always fun to get that shot of your Best Man or Maid of Honor toasting you through your champagne glasses. It might even allow for your decor and uplighting contribute to those toast photos. Better lighting = better wedding photos.
Same goes for your cake table. I’ve been known to ask the catering team if I (I mean, “they” – I don’t want to topple a cake, that’s fo sho.) can move the table so we can see all of those beautiful tables behind you and your partner as you slice into that delicious cake. If you’d rather keep the cake where it is, leave some space between the cake table and the wall so there’s nice separation in the final photos.
DECOR HEIGHT ON SWEETHEART TABLE
Speaking of sitting at your sweetheart table, try to avoid super-tall candlesticks or huge florals that may block our view during toasts and speeches. We want to see your reactions to those awful stories your wedding party share before dinner 😉
STAY IN PLACE
Well, for toasts and speeches anyway. Please remind anyone giving a toast or speech on your wedding day to stay in place. We set our lights depending on where your DJ/MC/or you tell us you’d like the speech-giver to stand. If they start walking around (as one does when they’re nervous) we have to scramble to move our lights.
CONSIDER “RECEPTION HAIR”
Girl, this is Florida. And I don’t care what kind of hair you have, chances are, by 8pm your down-do is looking a litttttle… flat. Ask your stylist if they can stay to whip up a pretty low-bun or braid after the formalities of the reception. Sometimes, the cost to have your hair stylist stay may be less than the additional retouching expenses to take care of sweaty strands on your neck and back. BONUS points if said stylist is also a dear friend and invited guest – they can whisk you away and get you back to dancing in no time! Good hair = happy bride = better wedding photos!
AND LASTLY, THE GRAND EXIT
The sparkler trend will never die – so you might as well do it right. Look into the LONG 36” sparklers. You definitely don’t want the little sparklers we all had at our neighborhood 4th of July block party. The longer the sparklers, the more romantic photos we can grab at the end of the night.
Over the sparkler trend? Consider a champagne exit! I think these are best photographed with backlight, and I’m totally prepared to get soaked for the right shot. Don’t bother spending all your dough on the good stuff – it’s not like you’re drinking it!
Looking for more wedding tips for your Florida wedding? Check out some of my other articles here: Help me, Sonj