As a wedding photographer in Southern California for the past 12 years and photographing over 300 weddings I’ve seen some patterns emerge that could potentially ruin a wedding day.
Tip #1 - The importance of hiring the right(best) hair and makeup artist.
Brides don’t underestimate how important it is to hire the BEST possible hair and makeup team for your big day! I’ve heard from many brides after the wedding and after I delivered their wedding photographs that they weren’t happy with the way their hair or makeup turned out. But in many cases this could have been prevented with proper planning and doing a trial with your hair/makeup artist. If you are NOT happy with the way your hair and makeup turned out there’s typically not enough time to fix it on the wedding day.
Tip #2 - Schedule plenty of time for hair and makeup on your wedding day.
I used to advise my bides to schedule 2 hours for your hair and makeup BUT with recent experiences I’m going to recommend 3 hours. This is in case you don’t like the way your hair turns out. The biggest complaint I hear from brides is their makeup feels heavy and “too much”. As a man I can’t really say what is too much or not enough makeup and what really matters is that you feel beautiful. A great photographer will work with you to bring out your best side and help you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera.
Tip #3 - Great photography takes time.
Good vs great photography sometimes comes down to how much time we have to capture your wedding photos. A really good professional photographer with lots of experience can capture photographs quickly. But if you want more than just the standard shots, you need to work with your photographer before the wedding day to plan out more creative shots. Some creative shots might require a 5-10 minute walk, or to hop in someone’s car to drive to a beautiful location. Take into consideration that moving around in certain wedding dresses might be difficult. Some venues have really SLOW elevators or if you parked in Valet parking they could take FOREVER to get your ride. There are so many things on a wedding day that could delay photography so having plenty of extra time is a good thing. 8hrs of photography coverage has become the standard in the industry for most American weddings, while cultural weddings are typically all day events and even multiple day events. When chatting with your photographer ask them what they recommend based on the rough draft of your wedding day itinerary. If you’d like a guide I created one for my couples that helps identify the ideal times for things like “First Look” “Family Formals” and “Romantics”.
Your sanity and experience on your wedding day is so important. You’ll be surrounded by your closest friends and family which for some can be a wonderful experience and for others can be an invitation to stress and anxiety. Choose the people you want by your side carefully. Your photographer and videographer will be with you all day so choose them carefully. It’s also okay to ask your bridesmaids to show up ready. Also make sure your parents are ready to rock before you get into your dress. So many beautiful moments are missed because people don’t know when to be ready for pictures and they wait until the last minute. By that time its too late to do things like a first look with Dad or document Mom zipping/buttoning up the dress.
Tip #4 - Choose Your Hotel Room Wisely
Choose a hotel room that will photograph well! A dark, dingy, or tiny hotel room will not photograph well no matter how talented your photographer is. When planning out your wedding budget make sure that you consider the cost for the nicest possible hotel room for you and your wedding party to comfortably get ready. Having 10+ women in a standard hotel room with 1-2 photographers, a hair/makeup stylist and all your wedding details is a complete nightmare. Think about the kind of experience you want on your wedding day and choose a room based on that. Make sure to book your room as far in advanced as possible and if your wedding venue provides a bridal suite for you make sure they also provide a room for the Groom and his groomsmen. I can’t believe how many venues make the guys get ready in the lobby, a conference room or literally one time in a bathroom closet! The Groom and his guy deserve to have an awesome experience as well. Book a venue that has plenty of natural light(big windows) and the look that you would be proud to put in a wedding album.