Tips On Rocking Your Wedding Photos | JayLee M.O.

Yeah, it’s our job to take awesome photos on your wedding day. But, here are 12 tips on ways you can help ensure they turn out super rad and just how you want them!

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1. Let your photographers get to know you as people before your wedding. We make it a point to get to know the couples we work with by talking to them through e-mails, on the phone, and most often through Skype and client meetings. We like to hear your stories, how you met, how you got engaged, and what your plans are for your wedding day. Because we are with you throughout your wedding day, it is important to us that you think we “fit” with the vibe of your day and the people who are a part of it. Our client meetings are more like double dates. The couples we work with are pretty diligent about researching their vendors, so by the time we meet with them, we are free to chat about them and just answer a few questions if they have any. A lot of our couples will meet us for coffee, for fun, more than once. We love hearing about different stages of your planning process. If you hired us, that usually means we get along with you (we are pretty darn lucky to have clients we enjoy). The more we know you, the more you know us, the more you trust us to take your photos. We want photo to be the last thing you stress about. Yes, we can show up to a stranger’s wedding and shoot it and the pictures will turn out great, but… where’s the fun in that? If you don’t like your photographers as people, we think you shouldn’t hire them. If we get along with you, your wedding party, and your guests, the pictures will turn out better. Promise.

2. Make time in the schedule for the photos you want. Although wedding photography is generally pretty photojournalistic in nature, we do carve out a good chunk of time for “formals”. We aren’t stuffy photographers so the word “formals” isn’t really quite right. Essentially, these are the pictures you will want to frame and your mom will ask you for. Making time in  your schedule for photographers to take the two of you away for portraits, and then returning to your chosen location for bridal party and family photos is usually what we recommend. We make those portraits of you as a couple on your wedding day a priority. Between the first look and the end of these portraits can take around 2 hours. We are huge advocates of the first look for this very reason. It gives you time together as a couple and time for us to take the best possible pictures of you (makeup is fresh and you’re not tired, hungry, or worried about your guests yet). The more time you can give us, the better. If these photos are rushed, you’ll be able to tell when you get your disk of image (there will be less of them).

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3. Be natural in front of the camera. This sounds silly and obvious, but something about cameras makes people a little…weird. Having a lens in your face may cause you to contort your face, blink uncontrollably, stick out your tongue, or bolt under a table. It’s some odd, innate fear most of us tend to have of immortalizing our face in that particular moment for-ev-er. That said, people tend to look good at weddings. Brides look terrific. Men are all cleaned up. The more natural you act in front of the camera, the happier you will be when you get your photos. Try to talk to your bridesmaids and groomsmen before the “getting ready” pictures too. We photographers are not out to catch you looking your worst…really, we aren’t. If a photographer isn’t asking you to look at the camera or smile and they are sneakily (not so sneakily) taking pictures while you fix your hair, take this advice and go with it. Resist the urge to grimace or run or put your hand in front of your face.

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4. Utilize go-to people. Wedding days are pretty chaotic. There can be a lot of details to remember, things to bring, and people to corral. We suggest having a few people in charge of a few different things. Someone should be in charge of saying who should be in what family portrait, someone to deal with wedding day issues, and someone to take care of the bride specifically. Whether it’s a wedding planner, bridesmaid or a friend, it is helpful to have someone who can focus on these little details and help out. A plastic bag may end up on the floor behind where you are getting ready, your veil may come loose, or your eye makeup may run from crying. Men may need help tying ties. Photographers are pretty good at framing shots so that ugly things (such as trash cans) don’t make their way into the shot, and yes, there’s always photoshop; however, the less distractions in your photos the better. We do our best to keep track of these details as we are shooting (we would totally tell you if your lipstick was looking’ rough), but it does help to have that right-hand guy/gal. In the same vein, if something comes up with a vendor, issues arise with the cake, or someone can’t find the dj, the bride and groom are the last people who should be notified. Have a go-to person to keep an eye out, hold on to your vendor contact list, make sure everything is as it should be, and worry so you don’t have to. The less you are worrying about details, the more you can enjoy your day and the better your pictures will turn out.

5. Be honest with the photographer about what you want. From the get-go, communication is key. If you have any special expectations, heirlooms you need photographed, pictures that you can’t live without, etc. tell your photographer. The style photographers have posted on their website and blog is what they do. If there is something else you want the day of your wedding that you didn’t tell them ahead of time, be sure to speak up. We basically follow you around all day, so if you need us in a certain location, we should be there to do it. We try our best to be on top of every moment and of course capture the obvious important ones, but we are not mind readers. Most all of this should really be ironed out in a client meeting, but on the day of the wedding things come up, schedules change and so do priorities.

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6. Let your true emotions show. This one feels like a given, and usually it is not hard at all. Wedding days are emotional, fun, and go by very quickly. Try not to let the fact there is a camera on you change the way you are acting. If you are allowing yourself to be in the moment on your wedding day and focusing on your soon-to-be-spouse rather than stressing over details, the photos will reflect that.

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7. Go ahead and forget the photographers are even there most of the day. You probably won’t even know we are there taking photos most of the day. That’s what we want. We are up in your business while you get ready and during portraits, but the rest of the day is about you and your partner. Don’t worry, we didn’t leave. We are just hiding in the bushes, darting around behind your guests, or laying on the dance floor to get an awesome shot.

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8. Do some easy day-before prep. Get lots of sleep, drink water, and consider avoiding puffy face foods (red meat, salt, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food). Brides may want to wear loose clothing the night before the wedding and in the morning as they get ready to avoid elastic marks. Men, make sure your nails are cleaned up, facial hair is shaven or trimmed, and that you have had a recent hair cut. If you can do your bachelor and bachelorette nights a few days before the wedding, that’s ideal!

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9. Consider investing in a good makeup artist. We are total supporters of deciding what is right for you. This is only a tip from our point-of-view. Makeup worn on a normal day is a lot different than makeup that is created specifically to look good in photos for an entire day. Two major tips for the ladies: well groomed eyebrows frame your face and false lashes make eyes pop. Some more insider info: Whitening your teeth just a tad makes a huge difference in photos, vaseline keeps lipstick off your teeth, and having a little baggie of “just in case items” the day of the wedding can help keep your stress level down (bobby pins, safety pins, eye drops, etc). Also, when it comes to photos, fake tans can look orange in photos so go easy.

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10. Use some sneaky posing tips during portraits: Stand up straight, stand at an angle, think of something happy when you smile (sounds silly, but it lights up the eyes), elongate the neck by lifting the chin upward, and allow yourself to feel beautiful in front of the camera. Your wedding day is very likely one of the days in your life you will feel most beautiful. Confidence and personality in photos matters most. If you feel scared in front of the camera, it shows. I hate being in front of a camera for portraits so I try to hold on to the emotion of the day (which is why you’re taking a photo to begin with) so I can keep those memories forever.

11. Trust your photographer’s posing suggestions. If something you are doing looks good, we may say “hold that” or “can you do that again?” etc. Especially when it comes to portraits and “formals”, we are not afraid to get in there and make things happen. We will tell you how to sit or stand, how to tilt your head, and where to put your hands. We will put you in a pose and then ask you to make it feel a little more natural to you. Then, you have to forget all instruction and go back to being in love, being happy, and looking awesome in that photo. The rest of your wedding day, just be yourself, smile, and let us do the rest!

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12. Have a really, genuinely fun time. Your wedding should be fun. It should be a good depiction of who you are as a couple, and it should be a celebration of finding someone you are choosing to love forever. Whatever your idea of fun is, make sure you wedding includes your favorite things. Have a great time, stop worrying about details coming together, stop worrying about making everyone happy, and have a blast! When you get your photos, they will tell the story of your day (and it does go super fast), and hopefully you will look at them and think, “Yup. That was how our wedding day felt and it was awesome.” //Josh + Ali

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Posted in: JayLee M.O., Weddings

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