6 Tips That Avoid Cookie-Cutter Wedding Photos

Want to avoid cookie-cutter wedding shots?

Prefer to get unique meaningful photos of your wedding instead?

Warning: This is not the kind of information you’ll ever see written in a bridal magazine! These are insights of my own – honed as a working wedding photographer from photographing hundreds of brides and grooms in the NYC area (and sometimes elsewhere). I personally saw how couples reaped benefits from following this advice, so I know it works – just as it will work for you too. And it’s so simple too…

Be “Camera Unaware”

Have you ever felt the best photos of you were when you didn’t know there was a camera there? So it is on the wedding day. Ignore the camera. Seriously! When you’re involved with your real life moments, having a great time at your wedding, feeling emotions, laughing, crying, interacting with your closest friends, celebrating this amazing day with those you love… you’re not only living your life to the fullest (as you should be)…

…Your photographer is then free to capture all the natural moments you’re experiencing, getting genuine expressions, reactions of you and everyone and as a result, getting your real memories for you to remember your day with always. But if most of your photos are of you stopping what you’re doing to look at the camera and smile, pose or mug for it, then real moments are being interrupted, missed, overlooked – or worse, stopped from ever happening. And so, in every case, never documented. Forget the camera’s there and get real moments of you enjoying your wedding!

Your Attitude’s Showing In Your Photos

Be sure you’ve given yourself permission on your wedding day to relax, let go, and have fun so you can take in and savor all your great moments! I photographed a wedding where the bride seemed like she was floating on a cloud all day long. She really was! I asked her about it and she told me she was “taking in every second – and loving every moment.”

The more you can do that the more you’re going to experience an amazing day, have amazing memories – and have the photos which capture it all.

Tip: You can assign someone else to handle anything which needs to be taken care of so you’re free to have fun, enjoy great meaningful moments, and to be yourself, on your day.

The Photographer’s Style Matters Too

Make sure to hire a photographer whose work, style, and personality you connect with. That rapport is key because when the photographer is more like a familiar face, you’re relaxed in front of their camera and free to be yourself. As you look at photographers, check their photos for proof of their ability to capture spontaneous “height-of-moment” interactions without stopping the action or interrupting or making people to pose, to get their shots.

Having trust in your photographer that they’re truly unobtrusive (and not just saying so!) frees you from having any concerns about what they’re getting, second-guessing them or feeling like you need to check on them – which in turn means you’ll be enjoying your wedding more… while your photographer documents great moments.

How to avoid this major cause of cause of stress on your day

Poor scheduling of planned photo sessions creates stress and undermines the best efforts so allow some additional time – just in case it’s needed. This is one part of the day you shouldn’t rush through or try to squeeze in. Your photos will show it if you do. Also the time of day, season, climate and location have an enormous impact on your how your photography turns out. Keep in mind that because “cameras don’t take pictures, people do” and that “all photographers are not created equal,” one photographer’s ability to create stunning images under less than ideal conditions will differ from another’s. So Here’s What To Look For: When you look at their portfolios, you want to see the photographer consistently creates exceptional imagery under many diverse situations, and no matter the type of wedding. The best way to do that is make sure to see different weddings from the same photographer, not just their best shots from their best wedding.

When you’re relaxed and freely comfortable, you’ll enjoy your day, your feelings – and they’ll show in your photos!

How to Guarantee You Look Gorgeous in Wedding Photos

Just as you’d do a trial run with your hair and makeup to determine how you’ll look to everyone in real life, schedule a Pre-Wedding Session with your photographer to see how you’ll look in your photos. I often do that with my bridal clients. Contrary to popular thought, great makeup, great hairstyle, and even great genetics are not the biggest factors to looking amazing in photos because when it comes to how you look “in camera,” it’s not so much about being photogenic. It’s really up to optic principles.

The three big optic principles are:

[1] Highlight and Shadow Contouring,

[2] Camera to Facial Angle Selection,

[3] Lens Compression Optics

A photographer schooled in classic training knows how to use these to have you look stunning in your photos. Knowing up front you’ll look incredible means you can have confidence in your photographer on your wedding day, and be free to be relaxed, natural looking and be yourself in your wedding photos.

What Makes A Wedding Photo Great?

The best wedding photos aren’t mere snapshots. Guests can take snapshots. But the best wedding photographers make photos that tell a story. That’s because the better photographers don’t simply “aim and shoot” but purposefully picture sequences of how your day unfolded. Looking at your photos is a richer experience for you every time you view them for the rest of your life when your photographer tells stories with them. I know this for a fact because I still get thank you notes years later from couples because looking at their wedding photos again on their anniversaries and family get-togethers, they’re moved – and so they write to thank me yet again.

They mention “story telling” in their photos as a big reason they’re touched.

Wedding Photo Album Versus Wedding Photo Book

Following many threads on social media and wedding forum web sites, I repeatedly have come across the question of where to go with your photos if you want to make your own wedding photo album. One common advice is to go to blurb, Shutterfly or other photo book makers. Also, it is often noted that many wedding photo album makers, like Queensberry, do only business with photographers. But should you really get a photo book for your wedding photo album? This article is trying to highlight the pros and contras of photo books in comparison to proper wedding photo albums.

Pros

There are several reasons in favor of photo books. For starters, they are easily available. You can chose between a multitude of different providers, they come cheap with prices starting from 10 Dollars and they are delivered very quickly with e.g. blurb delivering most books within 7 to 10 business days after ordering. Proper wedding photo albums on the other hand are much harder to get your hands on. It is true that a lot of firms do only business with photographers and other wholesale customers. Prices are considerably higher and delivery times vary from 2 weeks to 6 months.

Also, if you want to make your own design, photo book companies often provide a design software, which allows you to put together a simple album layout within minutes. Often the software has an integration into the ordering process, so after designing it is a piece of cake to upload your photos and submit your order. Wedding album makes usually don’t provide this feature for two reasons: often the companies are too small to develop their own software and in most cases those programs are not sufficient to create the sophisticated layout design required for a real wedding photo album.

Contras

While all the points mentioned so far are more or less in favor of getting a photo book, there are also some pretty good reasons against it. As said earlier, wedding photo albums are more expensive, but their still are good value for money, if you consider what you get. You get a proper heavy cover made of real or faux leather, which has a substantially better feel to it than the hard or soft-paper cover of a photo book.

The photos in your wedding album are developed with a chemical process. Their resolution is perfect and their colors never fade. This might be true for some high-quality photo books, but the majority of them uses laser-jet printing resulting in a notably lower photo quality. The pages in a proper wedding photo album are made of solid paper or carton (true only for flush-mount albums). Again, this leads to a much nicer feeling when flipping through the album, than the floppy thin pages of a photo book.

And finally regarding the design, if you really want to design your own wedding photo album, it is not at all a bad idea to use a professional software for it like DG Foto Art, Photoshop or Gimp. This requires some practice and skill, but only pro software provides you with the sophisticated fading, transparency, shadow and photo touch-up effects you will need to make a state-of-the-art album layout. The simple self-design software of the wedding photo album makers gets you only half the way.

Conclusion

A wedding photo album is one of the most important safekeepers of the memories of your wedding day and you will look at it again and again, possibly for the rest of you live. Therefore, all the money you invest in it is invested very well. Therefore, I would advice you to go for a wedding photo book, only if you don’t care too much about all this “wedding day fuzz” or, if your budget simply does not allow for more. Otherwise, get a proper wedding album, because on the long run it is worth it!

4 Useful Tips for Perfect Wedding Photos

Many of the things organized for the wedding day will be quite short-lived, such as the flowers, the cake, and the music, but the photographs can be kept as a treasured memory for the long-term. For this reason, you want to put in the effort to get the best possible wedding photos. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect photographer:

Start early

The process of finding a wedding photographer should start early. If planning to use one of the best photographers you may need to start the search about 12 months before the special day. A search can start by asking for recommendations from friends or relatives, or browsing online sources like blogs and websites. Make sure to take a careful look at the portfolio of each photographer to get a complete idea of the style and quality offered. Also, when short listing the potential candidates, it is useful to see a greater selection of photos from multiple weddings to get a real sense of the service.

Think critically

When it comes to reviewing the portfolios it is useful to think critically. You want to make sure the photographer is able to capture your wedding in a style that matches your personal preference. The photos should have guests looking relaxed and not spooked, the people and images should all be in focus, and the portfolio should include the type of shots you want.

Organize a meeting

It isn’t practical to decide on a photographer by looking at their online presence only. Once you have been able to shortlist the most promising two or three candidates who are within your price range, you want to look at organizing a video-chat or in-person meeting. In addition to the quality of service offered, you also want to find someone who you are comfortable with because they will be there on your wedding day and mixing with your guests.

Compare packages

A typical question to ask the potential photographer is details of the standard package to make it easier to compare the different options. The number of hours worked can vary significantly with the different packages. The preferred working time is in the region of eight hours, which is enough to take shots throughout the day, from the morning getting ready to the reception at the end. It is worth investing in the right package from the outset to avoid the risk of needing overtime, which a likely to be charged at double the normal rate.