I love blogging, I really do. I think that taking to a blog to help spread helpful and positive advice is one of the best things a Toronto wedding photographer can do. We try to be polite but firm and support our points with an array of examples and often even reference other professionals. Writting a helpful blog article is almost like writing an essay! Today; however, all of that will go out the door and I’m breaking it down to the nitty gritty for my readers.
As a storytelling wedding photographer, my job is to capture the wedding day as it happens. Unfortunately, for many couples, when left to their own devices and without proper information given to them prior to the day, they often set themselves up to be in a position that isn’t all that positive for photos.
Here’s a little bit about what I’ve learned over the years and hopefully it can give you some insight into what you should (and should not) do to help get the best photos possible:
Don’t assume that wanting a relaxed day means ‘winging it’ on the day-of: A relaxed wedding day actually requires a considerable amount of planning before the big day and management of the little things that inevitably pop up on the day of. There are many parts of a wedding day that need to have a timeframe associated with them. The officiant will need to know when the ceremony is starting as they often book several clients on any given day. The photographer will need a certain amount of time to get through your list of ‘must-have’ photos. Your caterer will need to serve dinner at a certain time if you need it to be warm… do you see a trend here? You may want “relaxed” but you will have to put a time table to your day whether you like to or not and “winging it” on the day of isn’t an option unless you’re wanting total chaos. Trust me: a well planned wedding day equals a relaxed wedding day. Not into planning? Hire someone to help you with it.
Don’t talk during your first dance: Just enjoy the moment. Take a minute to close your eyes, hold your spouse extra close and just take it all in. If you are going to chat with each other, please, please, PLEASE keep it positive! Laugh, smile, giggle, flirt… just don’t vent about any frustrations that may have occurred on the day because trust me – those frustrations will show in your bodylanguage and be forever preserved in your photos.
Ditch the photochromic glasses: You know what I’m talking about… the glasses that magically become sunglasses when you go outside? Maybe it’s just a Canadian thing but up in this neck of the woods, we have a tendency to call all photochromic lenses “transition” lenses. (It’s the same way we Canucks call any macaroni and cheese ‘Kraft Dinner’ even if it’s homemade) I’ve learned; however, that Transition is actually a brand name of photochromic lenses so I don’t want to pick on any particular brand – I simply want to make all brides, grooms and readers aware that if you plan on wearing photochromic lenses on your wedding day, any photos that are taken outside will feature you wearing sunglasses. No, this cannot be “photoshopped out”. If you want to see your eyes in your photos, leave the lovely photochromic lenses for another day and opt for a standard set of specs on the wedding day.
Don’t leave your new spouse by themselves: I see it all the time; the minute a cocktail hour starts of the dance floor opens the bride and the groom are on opposite sides of the venue and will never appear in a photo together for the rest of the night, save for the first dance. Spend a little time with your spouse on the wedding day – it helps create a lot of great moments for the future.
Don’t share a dancefloor for the parent dances – Photographing a dance can be challenging; not only are you looking for flattering angles (and not just photos of someone’s backside) but you’re also dodging the people who stand on the dance floor to shoot photos with their iPads all while trying to capture the perfect emotion, the perfect moment, the perfect memory. Photographers know they have approximately 3 minutes in which to do this… per couple! If you decide to share the dancefloor for a combination father/daughter + mother/son dance you’re giving your photographer half the amount of time to do twice the amount of work. This often jeopardizes the sweet and serene moments that could be captured during these times. Dance your full dance and keep the dance floor all to yourself!
BONUS: Don’t turn down the house lights too low unless you want your photographer to have to turn on their big, honkin’ video light. The autofocus on cameras reacts slower in dimmer conditions and boatloads of flash will have to be used to compensate for the near cave-like darkness you’ll be creating. If your idea of “ambiance” is to simply turn off all the lights, please reconsider that idea and instead, choose to decorate with light. Your DJ and event designer would be the first 2 people you can talk to about that.