1. The famous 'Golden Hour'
If I had the luxury of full control over my clients wedding schedule I would always enter the portrait photography slot at this time. 'Golden Hour' is the first hour after sunrise or the final hour before sunset. Obviously with weddings it is impossible to opt for the sunrise hour, but if you can you should definitely make the most of the hour before sunset.
The light during this time is so rich, warm and golden and there is open shade everywhere! This gives your wedding photographer freedom to shoot images everywhere without the hinderance of strong, harsh light.
If it is not possible for your main portrait photography slot to be at this time you might want to think about scheduling in a small 15 minute window to leave your reception and go make use of this beautiful time of the day.
Put simply your wedding photos and video are the only things to live on past the big day for your family to treasure so it's worth investing in them and creating images you will truly love and cherish.
2. Engagement Shoot
This is a question I am asked frequently by wedding clients during our first coffee meeting, 'Do we have to have an engagement photo shoot?'. The answer is no, you do not HAVE to have an engagement shoot. However there is so much to gain from doing it.
Number one, it's great fun! Then of course you will get beautiful images to treasure, but more than that you build a rapport with your photographer. You learn how to feel comfortable in front of the camera, which translates into photos that capture real connections. Let's face it, it's pretty daunting for most people to have their photo taken, let alone be close and intimate with their partner whilst someone is snapping away. So use this as an opportunity for a practice run, to allow yourself to get past those nerves so that on your big day you can jump right in.
This time spent with your photographer teaches you how they work, what they are asking of you and it gives you a greater sense of confidence going into your wedding day.
I love to get to know my clients, their story, their lives and everything that makes their day, their day. The engagement session creates an atmosphere to do this. You truly get to build a relationship and connection that leads to an ease and comfort level on your wedding day. When you think about it, your photographer pretty much spends the most time with you on your wedding day, so developing a connection before the big day is important. You need to feel comfortable and relaxed around them.
By getting to see your engagement photos you also gain trust in your photographer. You know that they are able to capture what you are looking for, the style, approach and final vibe.
3. Think outside the box
There is nothing worse then having the exact same wedding photos as your sister, cousin and friend. Think outside the box and ask your photographer for a couple of pretty unique images. With the good old help of google it is no longer difficult to find inspiration and ideas.
Check out your venue and google wedding photos from that specific location. For myself I love to have one or two truly unique shots planned out, whether that be incorporating sparklers, driving an extra 15 minutes to a crazy cliff top or dancing in the rain.
On a side note only have a few ideas and talk them through with your photographer to see if they are truly possible and realistic. A lot of these type of shots require substantial planning and set up so demanding too many may be unrealistic with the time frame and lighting so have a couple of favourites and plan for those.