Photo – Steve Gerrard
For the majority of couples a wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion. Many will cite it as the happiest day of their lives. Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience however. You’ve never done this before yet you want it to be absolutely perfect.
For wedding photographers a wedding is something they are witness to multiple times a year. They get to see what makes a great wedding but they also know all too well that events don’t always go to plan. So we thought who better to offer tips and advice on how to truly make your day as perfect as possible.
Here we ask some of our favourite photographers in Montreal to share their thoughts on how to make your wedding day as amazing as it should be…
Be in the moment!
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the day and want everything to be perfect. The secret that no one tells you is that something probably won’t go exactly as planned and that’s ok. The key is to assign someone to take care of the day-of details. If you have a wedding planner, done! If not, you can task a member of the bridal party to be the point person for the vendors. The most important fact of the day is that you are marrying the person you love. Focus on that and soak up every moment together that marks the beginning of the next chapter of your lives. The day goes by quickly, so BE IN THE MOMENT and experience everything! Connect with them and to those closest to you that you have chosen to surround yourself with. Your photos will reflect that authenticity that shines through when you are really taking it all in and not distracted by all the details. You’ll treasure both the memories and the incredible photos that will be created by BEING IN THE MOMENT!
Pinterest has been a huge help when creating mood boards for weddings.
Many of my clients ask if they can send a board to show me how they visualize their shoot or wedding photos. The board includes many things from pose ideas, editing, to general mood. While this is accepted, I would love it if clients limited Pinterest Boards and lists to favourite poses/specialty moments, or avoid it altogether.
As a photographer, I like to think that clients hire me because they relate to the gallery on my website, not other photographers’. There are many factors involved in each shot that we don’t always have control over; lighting, location, attire, props, subjects, so a lot of the time it’s not possible to recreate a Pinterest board in it’s entirety. It can also be time consuming. Time isn’t always something we have plenty of. Photographers need to adapt to a setting and think quickly. That time is best used for us to see what’s possible with what we have, get creative, and shoot. Referring to list of photos that someone else took to recreate can definitely get in the way of that flow.
The best thing you can do is research the photographer you hire, make sure they have experience, quality and a style that speaks to you. This should let you feel confident that they are doing their best and you can enjoy your day!
As much as we love creative bridal party photos we can’t forget about the family formal portraits. These are the photos that your family will have in a frame in the house. It can be easily overlooked, but a little preparation can prevent an easy headache.
Prepare a list. A very specific list with the names of each person in each group photo. This will allow your photographer to provide a good estimate as to how long the session will take. Now here is the key part. Have a friend in charge of the list. Not the photographer, they don’t know everyone’s name. Definitely don’t put yourself in charge of the list. Nothing can be more stressful than yelling across the room for Uncle Bob to get in the photo. Get your loudest, most bossy friend or family member to do it. Yes, use that name that just popped into your mind. That’s the person for the job! When group #1 on the list is getting their photo taken that person will be collecting group #2 to jump right in.
LOVE your photographer. Ok, not in the mushy romantic way… But what I mean is this. Really get to know them. If, after the meeting, you could totally see yourselves hanging out again, over an extended period of time. Say…12 hours…say… on your wedding day!!! Then it’s a pretty sure bet you’ve just chosen your photographer.
Every single client I meet ( or shall I say ‘potential’ client ) I always explain this as it’s a huge and very important part of the choosing process. While most brides and grooms assume that booking your photographer boils down to the style of work as well as price point. I feel that the connection with your photographer is equally as important as the above mentioned. That way you’ll be so comfortable with your photographer, and feel like you’re hanging out with a long lost friend. That’s a surefire way of making sure you get not only killer photos, but a memorable experience.
CHELSEA – BLUSHING BRIDE STUDIO
My tip for brides is this: Grab your mother and take a quick picture with her at some point during the reception. This is the ONLY PICTURE REQUEST I EVER GET the day after the wedding. The reception goes by with the blink of an eye, and the mother + father of the couple are often caught up hosting the guests all night, so this photo is so incredibly cherished. I’ve had many sad Mommas calling me the next day so avoid it by getting the pic at the start of the night!
Wedding photographers all shoot differently so doing couple’s portraits will probably differ a lot for each photographer. I’ve done weddings where I have over an hour for portraits, and weddings where I only have 10 minutes or less to shoot because timings almost always run late.
I recommend two time slots for couple portraits: some time before the meal is served for maybe 20 minutes, and then around sunset for another 20 minutes. This means we get tons of great photos in different light but without taking you away from your guests for too long.
My favourite time to shoot portraits is at sunset because it’s when we get the best light. By this time you’ll also feel more relaxed after the speeches are done and you’ve had a little more champagne!
Forget that I’m there.
Sometimes the best images happen in the unexpected and in the unplanned. Surprising, genuine moments simply cannot be manufactured or staged. It is your job to immerse yourself in your day, go with the flow and live out the events that are happening. Be present and enjoy. As your photographer, it is my job to always be looking for great light, anticipating those authentic expressions, and to compose them in images that retell the story that is unfolding. Trust that your photographer is constantly hunting for the best capture. All you have to do is be yourself, and forget that I am there.
Make it personal.
It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding industry when planning your own love celebration. I see too often couples that celebrate their wedding in a manner that doesn’t represent them. We know family politics can sometimes be a burden but it’s your wedding, it’s your way. The biggest tip that I give to all the newlyweds is to make the wedding a personal affair. What I mean by such words is that if you are foodies and like sharing food experiences with others than splurge on the food and make it something that reflects you and your values.
The more your personalities are reflected in your wedding, the more the imagery will be timeless and unique to you. So make it personal!
We hope this helps you enjoy your wedding day to the max and have the best photos possible to remember it all by.
Thanks to all the photographers for their invaluable insights.