How to Get the Wedding Photos You Have Always Dreamed Of

By Martin Bentley Photography

All brides and grooms want amazing photos. So, what can you do to make sure you get the photos you have always dreamed of? Professional wedding photographers, Martin & Leslie Bentley-Smith, have 20 great ideas to help make this happen!

1. Choose a photographer whose style you love, consider whether their style of photography would suit your wedding. Styles range from posed/formal, informal, photojournalistic (documentary), soft and romantic, vintage, artsy, etc… Some photographers will combine a number of styles. Visiting the photographer’s profile on Auckland Weddings and the photographer’s own website, including their blog pages, will give you a good insight into their style. 

2. Hire a professional photographer. There are many advantages to doing this. Qualified members of NZIPP, New Zealand’s Professional Institute of Professional Photography, for example, are bound by a professional code of ethics and have had their photography assessed as being of a professional standard. NZIPP has a list of members throughout New Zealand on their website. Qualified members will also state this on their website.

3. Allow adequate time for your photography. Your photographer should be able to provide guidance on how much time to allow. For, instance, at least an hour (or more), for the bride and groom portraits. A photography schedule will help to ensure that the day runs smoothly. If you are having photos away from the venue you will need to allow extra photography time.

4. Have an engagement photo shoot. This is a really fun way to get used to being photographed without the pressures of a wedding day! You’ll also get to know your wedding photographer better, get some great practice on how to pose and what to do and walk away with some stunning images. The more relaxed you are in the front of the camera the better the photographer will capture the essence of you as a couple and the more fun you’ll have on your wedding day.

5. Trust your photographer and allow them to use their creative flare. Be open to suggestions from them. This can lead to unique and stunning photos.

6. Consider the light. It is actually the light on the wedding day which should dictate where your photographer takes the group, family, bridal party and bride and groom photos. In the hands of a photographer who understands light and is skilled with manipulating it, you have the possibility of the most stunning photos.

7. The 'Golden Hour.' Consider having your bride and groom portraits during the ‘golden hour.’ This is the time of day where you get the soft golden, sun flare light in the hour before sunset and for about 20 minutes after it has set. It is perfect for romantic and beautiful photos….and what couple doesn’t want this! 

8. No surprises! If you have something special planned for during the ceremony or reception, such as a specially choreographed first dance, let your photographer know beforehand. This way they can ensure that they are in the best possible position to capture it. Of course a good photographer will also be able to capture the spontaneous moments!

9. Pre-ceremony portraits. If your photography package includes pre-ceremony photos and you have one photographer taking all the photos, they should start with the groom and groomsmen photos and then move onto the bride and bridesmaid portraits. This maximises the photography opportunities. The photographer can then take photos up to the time that the bride leaves for the ceremony.

10.  Allow adequate time for getting ready. This usually takes longer than bride thinks. Allowing one and a half hours for hair, one hour for makeup and up to 30 minutes for getting dressed will ensure that you are enjoy the pampering, have time for a glass of wine and don’t start your wedding day feeling rushed and stressed! If you are having pre- ceremony bridal portraits, let your hair and makeup artists know what time you need to be ready for these. Ensure that you are one of the first to have your hair and makeup completed. That way if hair and makeup runs behind time, your photographer will still have time to capture the beautiful bridal portraits. The hair dressers and makeup artists can do any final touch-ups just before they leave. The groom also needs to ensure that they are timely with getting ready. Otherwise valuable photography time may be lost. 

11. Scout locations with your photographer. Check whether your photographer can visit your venue in advance with you to scout out photo locations. They may have some great ideas that you may not have thought of.

12. Check whether your photographer is able to attend your rehearsal. They may provide some useful suggestions to help ensure that you get great ceremony photos.

13. Read testimonials. Testimonials are important as couples share what their experience was like with the photographer, what they thought of their wedding images and album and what they liked best about the photography.  

14. Have a wet weather plan. This way, if it rains, you will be less stressed as you know that you have another option for the ceremony and the family and bridal party photos. Your photographer and the venue should be able to assist with recommendations.

15. Select a stunning venue and this will provide a lovely back drop for the photos. You may wish to consider the theme of your wedding when selecting your venue.

16. Choose a theme. Consider choosing a theme and carrying it throughout every aspect of your day. This may include the venue selection, the bridal party gowns and suiting, the hair and makeup styling, the flowers, the ceremony decorations, the reception table settings and decorations and the service cards, invites and thank you cards.

17.  Have a hair and makeup trialDeciding how you want your hair and makeup should be a fun part of your wedding planning. You should not only consider what suits your wedding gown and theme, but what suits your face shape. Hair down styles are very in vogue and if you love your hair down there are many beautiful styles to choose from. By having a trial you will know that you will look absolutely stunning on your wedding day!

18. Choosing your gown. Whether you are purchasing a designer gown or one off the rack, ensure that the fit is perfect. You will be photographed from every angle and the photos will show how perfect or imperfect the fit of your dress is.

19. Delegate, delegate, delegate! Delegate any setting up and other wedding related tasks that need to be done on the day. This removes unnecessary stress, allows more time for the photos and makes the whole day much more enjoyable.

20. Lastly, but most importantly, remember to relax and enjoy the day including the photos. It should be one of the best days of your lives and the photography should be fun!

Other Things To Consider:

Has your photographer won any national or international photography awards? Awards show that they have achieved excellence in the industry. 

What level of coverage does the photography package provide and does this meet your needs? Check what the cost of purchasing additional hours is. 

Does the venue provide all weather options for the ceremony and photography? 

Does your photographer use industry leader brands? For instance, Queensberry is New Zealand’s premier album supplier. Do they also offer the option of top international album ranges?

Implementing these ideas will help ensure that you get the photos you've always dreamed of! When all the partying has died down, the photos will help you relive your wedding day for the rest of your lives and keep it alive for generations to come!

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