How to Get the Wedding Photos You Have Always Dreamed Of

By Martin Bentley Photography Raashka Mannie

All couples want amazing photos on their wedding day, so what can they do to make sure they get the photos they have always dreamed of? Professional wedding photographers, Martin & Leslie Bentley-Smith, have 20 great tips to make this happen!


Image by Danelle Bohane

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, to avant-garde options that you might fall in love with. Some photographers will also combine a number of styles to create something entirely unique. 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, which ensures you get some great practice on how to pose and what to do so you end up with the stunning imagery long for. 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.


Image by Expertise

5/ Trust your photographer

Allow them to use their creative flare. Be open to suggestions from them. This can lead to unique and breathtaking photos. They know what they're doing and need you to know that, too.

6/ Consider the light

It's actually the light on the wedding day that dictates where your photographer takes the group, family, bridal party, and couple photos. In the hands of a confident photographer, the sort that understands lighting and how to bend it to their will, you're bound to end up with photos almost unrealistic in their beauty.

7/ Golden Hour

Consider having your couple portraits during the ‘golden hour.’ This is a slot right before sunset, during which light turns soft and golden as the sun prepares to sink away and out of sight. There's nothing like Mother Nature lending you a hand to create the most romantic photos of all time, is there?

8/ No surprises

If you have something special planned for 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 − but a good photographer will be exceptional when it comes to capturing spontaenous moments, too!

9/ Pre-ceremony portraits

If your photography package includes pre-ceremony photos and you have one photographer taking all the photos, talk about how to maximise photo opportunities. Photograping the couple separately with their respective parties allows for a story through images, which is always exciting to look back on.


Image by Neil Redfern

10/  GIVE YOURSELF PREP TIME

Getting ready usually takes longer than most people think.  The ideal timeframe falls along the lines of: under two hours for hair, one hour for makeup, and then a half hour for getting dressed. No wants to begin their wedding day feeling rushed through it all. You need time to stop and smell the roses. If you are having pre-ceremony 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, so you'll be all dolled up and ready to go even if things do end up falling behind schedule. Your stylist can always do any final touch-ups just before they leave.

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 people 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

Have a backup plan for rainy days. This way, you'll be less stressed knowing that you've got another option that takes care of the photography for the day. Your photographer and the venue should be able to assist with recommendations.


Image by Maja Tsolo

15/ Select a stunning venue

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 trial

Deciding 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 outfit and theme, but what suits your face shape. Having a trial is an exciting way to making sure you will look as heavenly as you feel.

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 setting up and any 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/ remember to relax and enjoy the day

This includes the photography. It's your big day and you should be having the time of your life. Appreciate where you are and remember to have fun!


Image by Kent Wong

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.


Edited from an original article by Lydia Martin

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