8 Secrets to Make Your Wedding Photographer Love You

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I love shooting weddings. Scratch that. I am absolutely obsessed with weddings. I also understand that planning a wedding can be a daunting task; I myself am planning a wedding and am still surprised by all the decisions that need to be made and I work in the industry!I wanted to create this list so that you can be ready to celebrate each and every moment of your wedding day. I want to make sure that the dream that you have of your perfect day is clear to me so that I can create an amazing memory for you. I hope that you will like these tips of some things you can do that will make your wedding photographer be giddy, heart-eye emoji in love with you, which will result in the best photos possible.

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1. Ask for help with your day-of timeline Every photographer works differently, from how they believe the day should flow and at what pace. To keep things flowing smoothly and to get the best photos possible, work with your photographer on what time things should take place.  If you have a pretty good idea of how you want things to run in your head, but need help with how long things are going to take the photographer to capture, just ask! Please ask.

As an example, formal photos do take longer than you think. For every photo pose that you want, you have to factor in at least 3-4 minutes. Say your list includes, bride & groom, wedding party, bride's family, groom's family, that will take at least 20 minutes, depending on number of people. The more people you involve, the longer it will take. Plus, if you choose indoor photos, your photographer may need time to set up a lighting system.

And even though your posed photos may be done, your photographer may have a good idea of reception timelines as well. Typically reception timelines should be made through your venue/DJ, but if you haven't received one, ask your photographer for help! You want to keep the party going, without a lull! Scheduling an hour between speeches and the dance can be lengthy at times and some may leave before the party kicks off. Don't be shy, ask for help!

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2. Skip the Pinterest "must-haves" You hired your photographer because you love their style. Trust that they are going to photograph your wedding in a way that will capture all the magic and love there is that day. When you hand your photographer a list of photos to copy, it limits them being able to observe what is around you and if you are copying other photos you have already seen, you aren't giving yourself the chance to maybe be the next viral post of amazing photo that no one has seen before!

This doesn't mean you can't show your photographer what inspires you, though. Schedule a meeting before the big day with your photographer to answer last minute questions, and show him/her your ideas and you can talk about what is the most important to you and why.

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3. Sneak away at sunset    Trust me. You say sunset photos and your wedding photographer will possibly do a happy little jig. Your wedding day is going to be a whirlwind. From the start of the day through the last dance, you will be surrounded by your loved ones. laughing and enjoying the day. After the dinner and speeches, duck out of your reception for 10-15 minutes (after you have informed your DJ) to be present in the moment.

Your photographer will take you to a location and in those 15 minutes, create the photos you will love the most; the golden hour photos. 90% of the photos you love on Pinterest most likely happened at this time; not in the harsh noon sunlight. When you get away for a second, you get to look at your new husband/wife; just the two of you. You won't realize how loud everything has been around you all day, until you are standing in the sunset light with your arms around each other, just taking a second. Just stop and reflect and really take a moment to soak it all in before you hop back into the party.

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4. Formal portraits don't have to be at the altar    This is your wedding. You can make it as custom as you like. As I was planning my own wedding, there were certain things I didn't really want to do and then I realized this wonderful thing. You don't have to. Just because something is a tradition, doesn't mean you have to include it in your wedding. Don't want to do a cake cutting? You don't have to! Aren't in love with the idea of a veil? Don't wear one! It's your wedding, and you can make it yours, including the photos.

Family photos are important on a wedding day, but they don't have to be stuffy, or formal, or even indoors at all! If traditional is your style, and you like the formal look, that's great. Don't let anyone talk you out of something you truly want, but don't do something just because you feel you have to traditionally do. By taking your photos out of the church and into an outdoor relaxed setting, your photographer won't need to set up lights and everyone feels more relaxed and natural, resulting in even better photos!

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5. Think ahead about your getting-ready location You've pinned tons of photos of the dress hanging in a beautiful window, the silhouette of stepping into your dress, you and your bridesmaids all gathered around, etc. These types of photos can all happen at your wedding, BUT there is a catch. The gorgeous photos you see are not typically shot in a dark room.

While getting ready in a church basement/someone's basement might be great logistically, if getting ready and detail shots are high on your list of photo wants, consider another location.  Maybe get ready at someone's home that has large sliding glass doors or big windows, look into local bed & breakfasts, or even see if your bridesmaids will chip in to spend one last sleepover together and get an awesome suite at a hotel and get ready in style. Your photographer will be smiling ear to ear, when they walk in and see gorgeous light pouring into the room.

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6. Think about what is canvas-worthy Your wedding day has come and gone and you've gotten your photos back, only to realize there are only a handful of photos of you and your groom alone. You love all the bridal party shots, the formal photos with your family, the candids from the day, but you wish you would have taken just a few more with just the two of you.

I love when my couples tell me what their priorities are when it come to photos. Family and bridal party are always at the top of everyone's lists, but brides and grooms often forget about photos with just the two of them. Your wedding day can quickly turn into making sure you are doing what every one likes, to please this person or that person but remember that this is YOUR day. As the bride and groom you are the reason the whole day is taking place in the first place; it's your love story. Schedule a little bit longer for couple photos, and cut down on some of the formal, traditional photos and you'll end up with a whole gallery of photos you will want to put all over your walls.

7. Communicate with your photographer You've chosen this person to be in charge of capturing your entire day and turning it into something you can look back on for years and years, and share with your children and grandchildren and beyond. So it is important that you tell your photographer what you want to and how you hope to have it captured.

Answer these questions for your photographer. - What is the feel of your wedding day? Romantic, rustic, artsy, shabby chic. It's even easier to discuss this before you've hired a photographer, to make sure you have someone who has a similar style that matches what you are hoping for.

- Are there special items to take photos of? A grandmother's ring, a special pin, a date sewed into the dress, special DIY decor made by the couple. Your photographer won't know these things are at the top of your list, unless you tell them.

- Will there be any special ceremonies or traditions? Chinese lanterns, sparklers, foot washing, hand blessing ceremony; these are all things to make sure your photographer knows about ahead of time! Are you planning a surprise choreographed dance? Let your photographer in on the secret *I won't tell I promise!* so that they can be prepared and be in the correct spot so that the moment isn't missed!

8. Print your photos We live in a digital age, where our memories live within screens and printing photos seems like a strange act. Don't let your walls in your home be bare, let them tell a story...your story. Create an album that your grandchildren can look at, just like the way we can still enjoy photos from our grandparent's weddings.  Digital images of your photos on a disc or flash drive can be great! But don't let them live there, as technology can corrupt and you don't want to lose your photos due to a glitch. Print your photos, because in 20 years the CD may be the next floppy disc. Plus your photographer is itching to see which are your favorites!

It’s your love story. Brag a little.™

Bethany Melvin Photography is a Sioux Falls, SD wedding photographer who specializes in capturing love stories. Bethany Melvin Photography is based in the Midwest, but is available nationwide and for destination weddings. Have a question or want more information on booking? Contact Bethany today at hello@bethanymelvin.com or visit bethanymelvin.com