5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Wedding Photos


Dear engaged couple tackling wedding planning, I gotchuuu. I want to make this process as easy as eating your fave dessert, so I’m serving up some good stuff in the next few months to help you through it. 

Did you know there are things you can do to make sure your wedding runs smooth as a baby’s butt, while getting the most out of your wedding photos?! Yeah, babe. I’m here to help with that. I know that planning everything out CAN be daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. This is your day to shine, while your kickass photo/video team follows you around like you have your own reality t.v. show. I’m here to make sure you have the BEST DAY EVER and get the wedding photos you’ve been dreaming of.

Here are my 5 tips to make the most of your wedding photos:

1. Consider an engagement session with your photographer!

If you are like most people, when you’re looking for photographers, you’re nervous about how you’ll feel in front of the camera. “OMG we’re soooo awkward” or “I hate the face I make when I smile” or “How are we supposed to know what to do? Are you going to tell us?” are real quotes from real couples who, in my super honest opinion, look like freakin’ beauty queens/kings. It’s your photographers’ JOB to make you feel like the babes you are, direct you into posing that feels natural, and capture all the real moments between you and your partner. Hiring someone you trust wholeheartedly is super important, too. They will be with you 95% of the wedding day, which is more than your wedding party, parents, and, well… anyone else!

Engagement sessions…

  • Help you to get to know the way your wedding photographer works, directs, and makes you feel.
  • Allow you to feel super comfortable in front of the camera, so that on your wedding day you can say “hell yeah, I’m ready for this!”
  • Give your photographer the opportunity to learn what you are not too keen on, (like, “please don’t deliver photos of me laughing like a hyena”) and so on!
  • You get extra photos of the two of you together, and can use them for save the dates, wedding websites, and guest books! Suzie and Lauren printed theirs for their welcome table while Chanel and Corey made a wedding website from theirs. Fun, yeah?!
  • Annnnd… it solidifies that trusting bond and giddy feelings you got while hiring the perfect photographer for YOU. (Yes, I totally believe there is a perfect photographer out there for everyone)!

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2. Hire A Wedding Planner — (bonus points if they are badass at styling, too)!

Your mom/aunt/dad/cousin/best friends’ boyfriend are probably amazing at DIY-ing things at this point, but puhleeeaaasssee allow them to enjoy your wedding day. Hire someone else (like a wedding planner) to do the hard work. A wedding planner is going to make your life easy FROM THE MOMENT YOU HIRE THEM. They will undoubtedly make sure your day runs smooth as a baby’s butt, that your reception space looks sophisticated AF (see below) and that Uncle Joe doesn’t stand in the middle of the aisle with his giant iPad during the processional. Planner’s gracefully handle unexpected challenges throughout the planning process and day-of… so if anything “goes wrong,” you will NEVER know. (And you don’t need to know, either). That way you can enjoy your newly minted #marriedAF status with peace of mind.

On the flip side, not hiring a wedding planner will put unnecessary stress on your family, you and your partner, as you try to put out fires and set things up, when you should be taking photos and enjoying the entirety of your wedding day.

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3. Create a realistic timeline (with buffer time)!

My general rule for creating timelines is: add 25% of time to what I actually think it will take to go through the moves of any part of the day. For example, if you are having hair and makeup done for 5 ladies, and say it’s going to take 1 hour per person to get their makeup/hair done, I add 15 minutes to it as a “buffer.” The best thing about this is, if things DO happen on time, now you have extra time to relax, and if they don’t then you won’t be late to any part of your day. Think about it, if each one of the 5 ladies getting their makeup done were 15 minutes late and you didn’t plan for it, now you’re an entire hour behind in your wedding day plans! Yikes.
p.s. I’m using hair and makeup with those times as an example — Since every team is different, you should consult with your vendor team to find out the real time it takes for each part of the day. But also, if you have a wedding planner, you won’t have to do much of that at all *wink wink*

10 hour photo coverage is my favorite because it allows for a lot of flexibility in your day, and for us to capture it beginning to end. Here is a 10 hour photo coverage day, with a first look example:

12:00PM — Photographers arrive at venue to scout

12:30PM — Photograph Partner #1 (details + getting ready)

1:45PM — Photograph Partner #2 (details + getting ready)

2:15PM — Hair + Makeup should be done

2:30PM — Get dressed!

3:00PM — First Look / Romantic Portraits

3:30PM — Wedding Party Photos (separate groups with separate photographers, then altogether)

4:15PM — Immediate Family Photos

4:45PM — Hide Couple

(here’s where we capture your ceremony details!)

5:00PM — Invitation Ceremony Time

5:15PM — Ceremony Actual Start Time

5:45PM — Extended Family Photos / Cocktail Hour

(here’s where we photograph your guests at cocktail hour and capture reception details!)

6:45PM — Grand Entrance + Reception (we eat when you eat so we don’t miss anything important)

7:20PM — Sunset Portraits (sunset scheduled for 7:50pm)

10:00PM — Grand Exit

Yay! Easy peasy, yeah?

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4. Remember to set aside important details that you want photographed.

When I arrive to the getting ready locations, I love starting off by photographing all your details! My basic rule is, if they are important to you, include them. Set everything aside on a clean table or in the same bag so you can hand it off to your photographer when they get there. Here are some things you can include:

  • Invitation Suite
  • Wedding Gown/Suit
  • Wedding rings and bands
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes
  • Hair Pieces / Veils / Hats
  • Cuff Links
  • Bowtie / Tie / Bolo Tie
  • Alcohol Bottle (if you and your friends are taking shots/drinking champagne)
  • Extra florals or your bouquet if you want to add to the styling!
  • Ring Boxes / Details Tray (if you’re going for that extra feminine photo)
  • ANYTHING special/sentimental to you

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5. Make a short and sweet family photo list.

My general rule is to keep the combinations at 20 or less. Why? 20 combinations usually takes between 20 – 30 minutes. There’s the gathering of the family, separating them, calling them up (and interrupting their conversations to do so), and trying to keep them from wandering to cocktail hour for a “quick drink”. The process isn’t an assembly line, as much as we try to make it one, so we need time to avoid this part being stressful. I don’t say this to sound snarky, but to give you realistic expectations of what a real wedding is like! If family portraits are important to you, it’s ok to delegate MORE time for more than 20 combinations, but make sure your family knows what you expect of them, (aka patience), and maybe have a family friend bring some drinks while everyone waits!

Now you’re like, “Alex, what combinations am I even supposed to have?” Below are the check boxes I feel are super important. This is about 15 combinations. You can always add on odd-ball photo combos for those special aunts/uncles/cousins in your life!

  • Couple with Grandparents
  • Couple with Grandparents, Parents, Siblings (and their spouses)
  • Couple with Parents, Siblings (and their spouses)
  • Couple with Siblings (and their spouses)
  • Couple with Parents
  • Partner #1 and #2 with each combo above, separately
  • Group Photo of everyone at the wedding (usually on the dance floor or at the reception, SUPER CASUAL)

*tip: make sure your family knows what time and where they are supposed to be at the venue for family photos. Have a friend help find and keep family at the designated spot. Have another friend help read down the list of names. Before you know it we will be BOOM. Done. Party time. 

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6. aka *BONUS* — Dedicate at least 30-45 minutes for romantic photos with your partner!

  • Unless you choose to get ready together, this is likely the ONLY time you’ll have to be alone the entire day! You have now given yourself the luxury of breathing time, make-out time, and to soak in the fact that YOU’RE MARRIED!
  • We get to capture more photos of you at whichever beautiful venue you chose to marry at, so that’s a win!
  • This can be spread out throughout the day, by taking photos after a first look and then sneaking away for sunset photos, adding variety to what your romantic photos look like.
  • Side note: with me, the party doesn’t stop. My tiny speaker will play your fave jams — dance parties highly encouraged.

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I’m super stoked to continue sharing tips with ya’ll in the future. If there’s something specific you wanna know more about, LEAVE ME A COMMENT and I pinky promise I’ll make a post about it. HUGS!

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