Tips for Brides - stealingbeautyphotography
Choosing a photographer
Each wedding photographer has a unique style, it is important that you find a photographer whose portfolio reflects the types of images you most want for your wedding. Some photographers will go to great lengths to pose every shot just right (Traditional Photography), others take a running snapshot of every event during the day capturing small details, precious moments and being very unobtrusive (photojournalistic style) while others are more creative and will mostly follow photojournalistic style but will take some time to work with special situations, giving posing advice only for certain shots and relying heavily on photoshop for highly artistic images (portrait-journalism style). The first step is finding someone who takes the kind of shots you want and making sure you will feel comfortable with them on your special day. Definitely meet your photographer before you sign up!

Organizing before the day
It is extremely useful to appoint a person who is responsible for gathering the correct family members together when it's time for family/group shots. Ideally this is a family member who knows all the right folks- it is very difficult for a photographer to learn your entire family and their names on top of getting them in the shots you requested. A wedding planner can help with these situations but a family member can take care of this part of your day. If you can, try to order extra flowers and other cheaper detail pieces for photo opportunities.

Decorating the dressing room
Choosing your dressing room may seem like an irrelevant detail amongst all the other important decisions you have to make before the big day, but don't neglect this as it will have a significant impact on the preparation photgraphs. In a perfect world you will find a largish room with north facing windows, attractive furniture, no flourescent lighting and soft curtains. All of these factors contribute to even more beautiful preparation photos. If there is ugly furniture then plan on bringing white drapes or sheets to cover it. If the room is dark consider candles for lighting! Put flowers in vases and try to not let the room get too cluttered.

Planning your portrait photos
The easiest way to ensure you get lovely, romantic images from your portrait session is to plan this to happen about one hour before sunset lasting an hour! Half an hour is the absolute minimum for this session to get a good range of beautiful images in a variety of situations and backdrops. Please do not plan on less time or things will get rushed and the number of suitable shots will be much lower. If at all possible do not schedule any photos around midday- the harsh sun from 10am-2pm is NOT flattering!

Planning the reception
The reception is hopefully the most fun part of the day for you and normally run smoothly. Three are a few things to consider to ensure great quality images however. If you are providing lighting such as rope lights, try to place them above head height. If you have an outdoor dancefloor, a tent will make is much easier to decorate and is a more enjoyable environment for dancing mayhem and great photographs. If possible ask your DJ to limit the use of moving lights and changing colors as this can play havoc with dancing shots! Yellow spotlights do not make you look better in your wedding album! Many couples choose to provide disposable cameras on tables for the guests to play around with. Don't expect amazing shots from these in the hands of semi-sober guests! This is a fun new tradition but it won't provide you with material for your lovely wedding album. Always rely on a professional for your treasured photos but by all means experiment and let your guests take part.

On the day
Some brides get uncomfortable at the idea of a relative stranger being in the dressing room with them as they prepare and put on their wedding dress. This is not however the time to get squeemish- some of the most stunning images are captured in the dressing room and your bridesmaids helping you into your dress is an incredibly moving and beautiful scene. No photographer should ever pressure you into a situation you are uncomfortable in but do give this serious consideration. The most simple solution to any of the ladies being uncomfortable is to simple ask your photographer to leave the room for a moment, then ask them back in once you are 'decent' again. I always have a knock first policy with dressing rooms.

During your portrait and group shots, you can play around and be as natural as you wish, the more fun the better as far as relaxed looking images goes! Simple things that can add to the phots are holding the bouquet downwards (why hide an expensive dress with much cheaper flowers?) and about the same height you would hold a fig leaf, keep your elbows out (enhances your natural curves) and your chin up (eliminates the dreaded double chin). Try to avoid facing the camera head-on, a slight angle is far more flattering. If models do all this it's for the simple fact that it works!

During the ceremony I try to keep out of the way as much as possible by using a longer lens. If you want a photographer to be up on the altar with you the whole day then I'm perhaps not the photographer for you... my clients often remark at how discrete I was and yet still manage to capture so many amazing moments. When you exchange rings consider what the guests and photographer will see- unless you tilt your hands sideways with your fingers going up and down vertically all we will see is the thin side of your hands and no rings! When you kiss in the ceremony or during a photo session try to be relaxed, move in slowly and try not to smile or smash your faces together, this will mean lovely romantic shots without distorted faces.

Group Shots
Some brides and wedding organizers will allocate people you want in your groups shots a number or colored card- you can plan ahead to have the group shots coordinated so you can get the folks you want in for the shots and then back out to the party. A reliable point person or a well orgnaized system can really save you some headaches when getting people in the right place at the right time for your groups shots. Many people understimate the time they will need to get through the sometimes numerous group shots, as a photographer I can only work as fast as the people can get into place. The rule here is- the more time spent on group shots, the less time to enjoy your day relaxing and having fun. Keeping this time fast paced realy makes a difference. Talk with me when you are planning the day and we will make sure we can get all the family and friends shots you want in as little time as possible!

It's your day and your show to run
Ultimately your wedding day and the photos are all about you as a new couple. Feel free to guide your photographer if you think it's appropriate and to suggest ideas- we're working for you after all. If you don't like something just speak up, if you want us to work around certain times or events then simply let us know (preferrably in advance). As a photojournalist I'm not there to run the day for you, I may give some somple suggestions here and there but it's really up to you as a couple to enjoy your day and have fun all day long. That makes my job so much easier and ensures your satisfaction when you get your shots back! Personally it is a priveledge working with every client and I take immense joy in capturing the big and small moments of your wedding day. I can tailor packages to most budgets and will work with you to ensure you get the most out of your wedding photography experience.
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