STARTING WITH THE "DON'T'S"
DON'T: turn your back on the photographer, change in to clothes that blend in with your guests, go light on the make-up, or keep your photographer for the party too long!
1. Turning your back on your photographer
This is a no-no! Chances are you have paid a lot of money to have your photographer capture all of the special moments of your day; so give a helping hand and make sure your face is towards the camera 90% of the time. (of course there are moments that you will not be as flexible to shift your face towards the photographer - like on the alter - but your photographer should be experienced enough to get those angles!) otherwise, during the dance (turn, turn , turn), bending to speak with the flower girl (shift her towards you), cake cutting, etc. make sure you do your best not to turn your back to the camera. 30 years from now you will appreciate that you allowed us to capture your facial reactions!
2. Change in to clothes that blend in with your guests
This is another no-no! ESPECIALLY if you have a large guest list coming to your celebration! Again, you (or a loved one) paid a lot of money to have your special day photographically documented - it is your one day to shine and show up in almost every image. so take a deep breath and BE PRESENT. Purchase that stunning white party dress; NOT a black tank top and shorts (yes, I had a bride do this once). Enjoy every moment - focus on the love surrounding you, and pop out of the crowd as it is YOUR day!
3. Going light on the make-up
I cant tell you how many times Ive watched a make-up artist say they "know best" with make-up application - just to let your zits become center of attention. There are ways to cover it up and look AMAZING in your images. I totally understand that there are those that prefer the natural look; but trust me, in a photo "natural" makeup can make you look like the ghost of 'no thank you, grab that girl some coffee, she looks like she hasn't slept in two months'.. and by all means, with the stress of the wedding day you might NOT have slept well for a few weeks - but that doesn't mean it should show up in camera, on your wedding day! USE cover up and all the special tools. Check out Bailey Sarian on Facebook for a skin coverage example. Am I saying you need lips and eyes that dark? NO - but COVER YOUR SKIN please. TRUST ME.
4. Keeping your photographer for more than an hour when the dancing starts
Just don't do this please; especially if you have access to a bar at your reception. It goes down-hill FAST when alcohol is in play. Not only that, but most weddings people don't seem to want to "boogy" the entire time. Chances are it's a massive reunion and catching up is more important to most. So here is my recommendation: get EVERYONE on the dance floor for a group photo. Then start with group dances like the cupid shuffle, or the YMCA, or Shout (you get the gist) to get in the spirit of dance. This will be a great opportunity for your photographer to get some great shots of everyone dancing together and mingling in the same area for hopefully an hour. Then from there dismiss your photographer because:
a. if there are booze it goes downhill fast and,
b. I have found there are only so many photos a photographer can take of people dancing, trust me
ON TO THE "DO'S"
DO: Smile ALOT, make sure the bridal get ready room has a lot of space and NATURAL LIGHT, make sure your photographer knows how to get the candid's (which are actually very much so POSED), be very communicative with your photographer about your expectations!
1. Smile ALOT
Any moment during your day that you deem important make sure you attempt to smile, closed lip or with teeth. It doesn't matter. What matters is that during these irreplaceable moments you are going through on your wedding day you have a pleasant face on so you actually LIKE your photos.
2. Make sure the bridal get ready room has a lot of space and natural light
There is this venue (I will not be sharing the name out of respect of their privacy and also I don't want a defamation lawsuit on my hands, lol); this venue, has two get ready rooms - one for the guys and one for the gals. The room for the guys has a ton of natural light and is quite large. The room for the gals, however, is a shoe box. It has zero natural light and is about THREE times smaller than the guys room. Every time I am there photographing I ask myself, WHY?! Why would they put the guys in the best get ready room? The result is that the fellas images look extra-ordinary and the ladies photos look, meh... why, you ask? Because shouldn't a great photographer be able to make both areas look extra-ordinary? Well, it's very basic, the ladies usually have a LOT more stuff than the guys to get ready - so this tiny, poorly lit, shoe box room not only casts a gross color of light on the skin of every person in the room - but it looks like a junk yard no matter what angle the photographer is shooting from. the more room there is - the more organized we can make it look, and we want clean photos - not chaos; and the natural light, over off camera flash OR overhead lighting, provides a soft look where everyones skin looks ten times better. As it is the brides day, truly, we want to make sure the lighting is conducive for creating gorgeous looking skin tones.
3. Make sure your photographer knows how to get the candid's (which are actually very much so POSED)
Most of my brides emphasis that they LOVE the candids. However, the secret here is most candids of the couple are not candids, they are very much posed. An experienced photographer will know this and have the tools in their bag to direct you in to these flattering, natural, happy, gorgeous looking images. Literally, if you look at my portfolio page you may think a lot of them should be candid, when in fact they are 110% posed. so trust me -I know what Im doing and if you want the style of images I am providing - please allow me to direct you in to them - my job is to make you look as in love and as HAPPY-in-love as possible. And I know how to accomplish this if you let me.
4. Be very communicative with your photographer with your expectations!
I cannot stress this one enough! Your photographer can't capture the images your are imagining - I dont know a single one that is a mind reader. So be sure to articulate, in as much detail as possible, the images you are expecting to see in your final gallery. Are there specific people you want in an image: tell your photographer. Are there specific poses you LOVE and know you want taken: tell your photographer. Is there an angle you HATE of yourself: tell your photographer. Is there a side of your face you favor: tell your photographer.
Please note - a good photographer will send you a questionnaire before your wedding day to ensure they gather this information - but if you have a photographer who has not done this - be sure to reach out and clarify so they know. Theres nothing worse than expecting your photographer to "just know" then getting your gallery and being disappointed.