8 Wedding Photography Mistakes That You Should Avoid
We have covered many articles on why you should hire a professional wedding photographer, why it is so important and why you should maximise your budget.
When it comes to your wedding day there is only one thing you won’t see until it is over, and that’s your wedding photos. Everything else you will have seen, planned and booked, your wedding venue, flowers, dress, band, seating, decorations, the list goes on.
Your photographer will capture the day for you, but you won’t see the output of their work until a few weeks after, that is why choosing your wedding photographer is so important, once the day is over your wedding photos are are only thing that capture and hold onto those moments, memories and feelings.
Wedding Photography Mistakes to Avoid
However there are still some mistake couples make when it comes to their wedding photography, so we have rounded up 8 common ones we see.
1. Under Appreciating the Importance of Photography.
The first regret and sadly an all to common occurrence is not actually hiring a professional wedding photographer. Weddings are not cheap and everything can feel expensive so when you think that a wedding photographer doesn’t ‘add’ anything to the day itself it can be easy to decide they are not needed or money can be saved. Cost plays a big part in why couples may not hire a professional and when you have a family friend who has photography down as a hobby then it is easy to see why you may think it is a good way to save some money.
The fact is you are paying for something that you won’t see until after your wedding, the photographer will be there on your day however they will be in the background working away. You could save money and spend it on bigger flowers, better food, free drink, however what about capturing all these moments, your guests won’t care or even notice if you spent more on your flowers or food, however you will notice and regret your wedding photos if they don’t reflect your beautiful day, the emotions of your guests or all the hard work your put in planning your day.
Ensure you hire a professional wedding photographer, hire someone that knows what they are doing and have years of experience doing it, it will be one the best investments you will make. Don’t regret it.
You should maximise your budget, you should put a lot of importance on your wedding photography. Why? At the end of your special day the cake will be eaten, the flowers will wilt, the venue will be cleared and all you will have are memories. What better way is there to capture and hold those memories so you can show family, friends, grand children, than through images.
We hear a lot of brides focusing on creating their dream wedding, focused on getting everything perfect, but they forget that it is for just one day, and they don’t think or maximise their budget to hire a professional wedding photographer to capture their day, their perfect wedding they have dreamt about and spent months planning and creating.
Make sure you capture your day and your perfect wedding. It is the one think you will have when your day is over that will last forever.
If you are nervous in front of the camera or don’t like having your photo taken then consider an engagement shoot too. Photography is an up-close-and-personal service and both you and your photographer need to feel comfortable working together. Not only will an engagement photo shoot enhance your wedding album, it works like a dress rehearsal for photography on the day to make you more relaxed and natural in front of the camera.
2. Not capturing the whole day
You may have hired a photographer however another regret can be only hiring them for the ceremony, again this comes down to costs. With all the stress of planning your wedding it can be difficult to think how you will be on the morning of your big day, and so sometimes to save money it can be easy to not have this captured, however these can be some of the best photos of your day.
Getting ready photos can be so much fun, you and your bridesmaids getting ready together, having a glass of wine with a whole range of emotions and feelings, from excitement, nervousness, to relaxed and fun in the room.
After the ceremony, yourself and your guests will feel more relaxed and the drinks will be flowing, with everyone feeling more relaxed lots of great photos can be captured of guests chatting, dancing and enjoying your day.
Photos of all your close family and friends together for the celebration of your wedding, you have spent a lot of time planning it so ensure your capture moments of your guests enjoying it all.
3. Not meeting their photographer first
When hiring a wedding photographer it is important to meet them, if not you may regret it when it comes to your photos. Their work maybe amazing however if you don’t feel natural and relaxed around them then it will show in the photos, all photographers will try to ensure you feel relaxed and at ease, however you may find it awkward around them which will then show in your photos.
They may have some fun ideas for photos but you may not want that, the point is you want a photographer that you get on with, feel relaxed with, a photographer that almost feels like a guest too.
By meeting your photographer first you can see how you get on, you may find it difficult or awkward with them which may then show in your photos, however if you click and feel like you are talking to an old friend then your wedding photos will become more fun, natural and enjoyable. Your best photos will be you just having fun and enjoying the day.
You could meet up in person, do an engagement shoot, or at least talk to them on the phone or do a video call.
4. Last Minute Bookings & Disappointment
You have set your budget for your photography, you have maximised it the best you can so you can afford the best photographer you can get. All ticks so far, however you leave it, you don’t make a decision and then when you realise you still need to hire someone, you can be left disappointed when the wedding photographers you wished you had hired are fully booked on your day.
As with your wedding venue, as soon as your wedding venue and the date is confirmed, you should be booking your wedding photographer. No matter what your budget the best wedding photographers will be taking bookings up to 2 years in advance, so don’t wait a couple of months before your big day and be surprised they are booked up. Our advice is as soon as you have your date and venue, find your perfect wedding photographer and get them booked.
5. Not having an engagement shoot
While relating slightly to the previous point, couples sometimes regret not having an engagement shoot, of course you can have something like this done after your wedding however the other benefit of this type of shoot is that it helps you feel more relaxed in front of the camera.
Unless you work as a model you won’t be used to having your photo taken and the focus being on you, this isn’t about striking a silly pose, it is about just being more comfortable being infant of the camera and having your photo taken. Many photographers will include an engagement shoot in their full days package so that you can get use to working with them and help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. When you wedding day comes around you will be feeling more relaxed around your photographer with the only difference being you are in your dress this time!
6. Photo Lists
When you pick and hire your perfect wedding photographer you pick them because you love their style, you pick them because you feel comfortable working with them, and you pick them because you trust them.
If there are a few nice shots you would like, family shots, mum and bride etc then let your photographer know, but don’t tell and show them every photo you would like. You are hiring them because you trust them, because you have seen full albums of work and love their style.
There is no need to give them a long list of shots you want, trust them to do their job and capture moments that even you won’t have thought about, or even expected to happen let alone be captured. Let your wedding photographer capture real moments and use their years of experience to produce the best story of your day.
Let your photographer know if you want any specific family shots you want, including a list of any group shots and perhaps assign a guest to round up those people on the day for you. It is important to note this point is family shots and important people that you want a photo with in a more traditional style.
This is not about telling your photography you would like a shot of you and your husband on the bridge in the garden, or on the steps in front of the venue, let the photographer that you are paying for use their expertise and experience to find and suggest great places for a shot. Trust them, they will have years of experience and may have even shot at your wedding venue before too.
Allow enough time. This is especially true for group shots where it can take time to track down key people you want in photos. Let guests know in advance when and where they need to be for group photos. On the flip side don’t let this dominant your day, you want to enjoy it and have fun, you don’t want to have memories of your day stressing about a hundred group shots.
7. Pockets… empty your pockets.
No this isn’t a hold up, we are talking about grooms, the best men, infact anyone that has pockets, do you want your wedding photos of your groom or guests with bulging pockets, shots of them with their wallet, keys and phone imprinted on the side of their trousers. I thought not.
If you are the groom do you need your wallet? Do you need your keys? And if the most important people in your life are there with you on this special day then why would you need your phone? So empty your pockets and enjoy the day, store them somewhere safe and forget about them.
8. Put your phone away
Always an interesting topic but we feel wedding photos can easily be ruined by shots of the bride and groom walking down the isle to a sea of camera phones being held up too. Weather you ask your guests not to do it or not, perhaps ask them to have a cut off point, you can take photos if you wish up to this time, then please put your phone and camera away and enjoy the rest of the day with us. Have you considered an unplugged wedding?
Smartphones can be an absolute nightmare for wedding photographers. It’s almost like having paparazzi to compete with for key shots, like the bride walking down the aisle. You’re paying a lot of money for your wedding photos so follow a growing trend for unplugged weddings by asking your guests to leave their cameras alone and enjoy the experience first-hand rather than through a lens. We covered this topic in more depth in a recent article Unplugged Weddings: Ensure your Guests are ‘there’.
In an age where is has become so hard to leave your phone alone for an hour let alone a day it is so easy for guests to turn into photographers themselves. Something that is often overlooked or not consider is an unplugged ceremony, ensuring your guests sit and enjoy the moment with you, no holding up phones, cameras, iPads, no looking down updating your Facebook status.
Do you want to be stood their getting married to the person your want to spend the rest of your life with after spending months planning this moment to enjoy with all your special people in your life that you have invited to look back and see cameras all staring at you? Consider having an unplugged wedding and when you look back you will see your guests faces and their emotions.
These are just 8 things that we hear about when it come to wedding photography and mistake and stories we find out about with couples. So make sure you consider and think about these so you don’t fall down these traps and make the same mistakes.
Don’t have any regrets when it comes to your wedding photos, they will be with your for the rest of your life so hire the best photographer you can afford, meet them, chat to them, consider an engagement shoot and enjoy the day!
Wedding Photography Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to couples and wedding photography there are a few do’s and don’ts to consider when hiring your photographer, and also on the day itself, we round up 5 of each for you to think about so you know what to think about and what to ensure you don’t do.
Wedding Photography Do’s.
1. Do maximise your budget for your photography, it is the one thing you will have at the end that captures all those memories and tells the story of the day. Make sure you get the best wedding photographer you can afford, don’t lower your standards or hire someone you are not happy with just because you have a tight budget, if possible look at other areas where you can save some money, be it flowers, the food, the drink and wine. Whatever you do understand the value of wedding photography and hire the best you can.
2. Do meet up with them, make sure you feel at ease with them an ensure they answer any questions you may have. If you don’t feel at ease with them, relaxed or natural around them then this will show in your photos, meeting up with your photographer is important to see how you get on with them, you want to be relaxed, you want to enjoy talking to them about the plans for your day, you want to feel like you are talking to a friend. If you feel like it is hard work or you are not feeling a connection then consider getting in touch with someone else.
3. Do view complete recent albums of their work. You are looking for consistency and not just a few really good shots, but a whole album and story of quality photography. They may have some great money shots on their website, but you want them to tell a story, the story is worth a lot more to you then 1 or 2 amazing photos. Ensure the quality of their work shines through in completed albums and that it tells a beautiful story.
4. Do go with your gut, if you trust them and love their work, and feel comfortable around them, then go with your gut. If you have any doubts or concerns speaks to them, ensure they put you at ease and answer any questions or worries you may have. If you have any doubts or don’t feel you can trust them then get in touch with someone else, or go and speak to another photographer and see how you feel with them.
5. Do relax and enjoy the day, forget about the camera and relax. You have hired a professional to capture your wedding day, when hiring them you felt at ease with them, you trusted them to do their job, so relax and let them do it. Enjoy the day and your photographer will capture all those amazing moments and emotions for you.
Wedding Photography Don’ts
1. Don’t leave it too late. The best photographers can be booked up to 2 years in advance. As soon as you have your date get your wedding photographer booked, even before you have you venue and date confirmed start to look at photographers. Get an idea of the style you like and want, shortlist photographers that you like the look of and perhaps get in touch for prices and more info. As soon as you have your date get in touch with your photographer and get them booked.
2. Don’t ask a family member to be the photographer (Unless they are a professional wedding photographer). You only get one chance, don’t be left saying ‘I Regret Not Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer‘ like this bride. It maybe a great way to save some money however it is important to understand the value and importance of wedding photography, it you understand this then you will hire a professional.
3. Don’t direct your wedding photographer. Trust them and let them do what they have years of experience in. On your wedding day you won’t want to be worrying about everything, directing people around, ensuring everything is being done, hire a photographer you trust and leave them to do their job, leave them to do what they are good at, leave them to do what you are paying them to do. If you don’t trust them don’t hire them.
4. Don’t have your pockets full, thats right guys, empty your pockets, there is nothing worse than the pocket bulge on your wedding photos! Get rid of those phones, wallets and keys, leave them in a safe at the hotel, or in a bag with one of the guests, don’t let your photos be ruined by keys sticking out of your pockets ruining the slick lines of your suit trousers, it will just look odd. At the end of the day all the people you want at your wedding are there, there is no need to be checking your phone and Facebook, you don’t need to be carrying your house keys around with you and if you are the groom people should be buying you drinks to leave your cash at home!
5. Don’t give your photography a long photo list of set staged photos you would like, let them do their job and use their years of experience to get the right photos for you. If there are a few family shots you would like let your photographer know, but don’t give them a long list of shots you want, such as a couple shot down on the little bridge over the brook at the venue, or standing on the steps outside, let your photographer take charge, they will know the best spots, where the best light is and where there is a great backdrop. Relax and let the do their job.
Photography is important, it is also a lifetime investment, so hire the best you can and ensure you do what you can to have the best wedding photos and story you can get. Hire someone you trust and their style and work you love, then relax and enjoy the day. After your wedding when you get an album of your day you will know how worthwhile it was and grateful you are for hiring a professional wedding photographer.