16 Tips for great wedding photos


Formal Portraits

The formal photos are important and I am more than happy to take the time to photograph you, your families, & bridal party, in a more traditional. I simply want to give guidance on how to make them as efficient as possible. The formal photos are most easily photographed in one chunk of time. This could be before the ceremony (if you are planning on seeing each other before), or right after. During that time, I can do as many groupings as you wish, just make sure to add enough time on the timeline for this to happen. If we have time before the ceremony or first look, fun casual photos with your closest are always possible as well. The month of the wedding you will have the opportunity to let me know, via questionnaire, exactly which groups you are interested in having captured. Generally speaking the best working environment for me to document your wedding is when guests try to ignore me. Don’t be afraid to flag my second shooter or I  down when you would like extra photos though! I will also be taking a ton of candid shots of everyone at the wedding, especially the ones closest to you. These recommendations come with the idea that I don’t want to disrupt any beautiful moments that happen naturally.

groomsmen with bolo ties

Editorial Photos

When it comes to setting the scene of your carefully curated style the best piece of advice I can give to brides is to allow time for everything to be photographed.
Have your details ready and out when we arrive, everything from your invitations, jewelry, and shoes. After the dress is put on I like to take 5 to 10 minutes photographing the bride alone by a nice window. Just before the ceremony and during the cocktail hour (before guests have entered) are the best times to photograph your wedding ceremony & reception site. The best look is when candles are lit and the waitstaff is standing by in another room. Scenic room photos of your beautiful reception can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size, so have your planner create the timeline accordingly.purple flowers for ceremony site


I definitely understand wanting to have your wedding documented in as many ways as possible. Just make sure that you hire a videographer that is able to work alongside us as a team. If it’s someone that I haven’t worked with before, please put is in touch before the day so we can discuss working styles. I want you to have your day captured as beautifully as possible. Here is a list of a few of my favorite videographers to work with.

Guests With Cameras

I’ve been experiencing a lot of “guests with cameras” at weddings lately, so I have started asking couples to ask some of their guests, in advance, to please refrain from becoming wedding photographers on the day. It’s a hard day if we have to compete to capture your beautiful day. If you have friends who like to take a lot of photos, tell them to be mindful of the professionals and stay in their seats during the ceremony. Here is a great article about unplugged wedding ceremonies.

Creative Portraits

If you want to get the portraits like you see on the blog, make sure to plan enough time to create beautiful portraits that you will be proud to hang on your wall. I need at least 30 minutes with just the two of you in addition to 20-30 mins for family formals. My goal is to have you two feeling relaxed and comfortable so you can be yourselves and sometimes  that takes time. I will be there to guide along but a couple tips for now would be to stay connected, bring the emotion, be patient, adventurous, and have fun!

Expect Hair & Make-Up to Take Longer Than Expected

There are many great hair stylists and make-up artists out there but it doesn’t hurt to have some extra cushion time in case things don’t go as planned. Always add an 30 minutes to an hour to however long you think hair and  makeup will take – especially if you have a large bridal party!

See the Light

If you’re getting married outdoors (or in a church!), try to visit your venue at the exact time you’ve planned your ceremony to start so you can see how the light falls around where you plan to stand. Bring along a friend or your fiance and look at the light on their face. If they’re squinting because the sun is in their eyes, then they’ll most likely be squinting in the ceremony photos, too. If their face has spotty shadows from dappled light through the trees, you might think about moving to a spot with more even light. Remember…while I have lots of experience in lots of different lighting conditions, I can only photograph what’s really there. By checking out the light before your big day, you give yourself the chance to make minor changes in the timeline that could make a world of difference for your photographs!

Consider doing a “first look” bride and groom session

I will start by saying that whatever you two decide, beautiful photos will be made. If you are having a wedding in late spring, summer, or early fall, or an early Catholic ceremony, (i.e. really long days with plenty of light for portraits) it’s not always the best option; in which case please feel free to discuss ideas if it’s something you’re still interested in. When the days are shorter or you’re interested in having a sunset ceremony, or even a ceremony an hour before sunset, we highly recommend doing a first look an hour and a half before the ceremony so we can knock out all the family formals and some of the couple portraits. Then, after the ceremony I will take a few beautiful sunset portraits (depending on when the sun sets) and head straight to the party!

Reception Lighting

The more the better! I love the look of string lights and colored uplighting it gives outdoor receptions and indoor ballroom receptions more a pop! Blues and purples look especially great.

persian wedding decor at night green pastures red


Getting ready

The best spot for photos getting your makeup done is 3-4 feet in front of a large window (not in direct sunlight). In my experience, I have found the worst spot is a corner of a room as your makeup artist/hair stylist will block you in each shot. For the best photos, I recommend you mention this to your hair and makeup artist beforehand. I know it can be hard to keep tidy but having a room void of clutter is hugely beneficial, for your peace of mind and for your photos.

-Dress – Putting on the wedding dress is one of the biggest moments and the look of utter joy of your bridesmaids seeing you in the dress is what I want to capture. I ask to be in the room during this time.  Don’t worry, I have been doing this for awhile so I am always discreet. :)

– Groom – I like to show a parallel scene in your wedding album of both the bride and groom getting ready. So for the gentlemen, I like to get detail photos of the suit/tux, watches, cufflinks, groom shaving, groom putting on jacket while being assisted from best man, and a groom portrait.

First Dance

My personal recommendation is to do your first dance after dinner and after the father/mother dances. Your guests will want to get on the dance floor ASAP when they see you two starting the party.

Thomas Bennett house wedding reception first dance

Special People/Customs

I will be candidly photographing the important people and special moments throughout your day. If there are specific people who are particularly important (and who might not be as involved throughout the day), who you want us to pay special attention to, please let me know. Similarly, if there are any special/unusual traditions or customs that I should know about, please us the questionnaire to let me know. Again, this is all in an effort to give you the best possible coverage!

House rules

Talk to your officiant or church about rules for the photographer and videographer and understand our limitations if there are any. While I maintain respect for the ceremony the less regulations the more angles and coverage I will be able to get.


My style is candid so you do not have to worry about me too much on the day of, I might tell you to put the dress on here and help organize your first look but I want you to think of me as flies on the wall who want to be there for everything! I will try to take transportation with you whenever possible, I want to be there the moment your dress is being put on, when your father gets to see you before walking you down the aisle, etc. :)


My goal is to always provide the best photographic coverage of your wedding but honestly I do need fuel to continue shooting your big day. The contract states that me & my second shooter need to be provided two hot meals during dinner time. I also request to eat at the same time as the bride and groom, this is so we can assure that we are ready and back to work when you are mingling with your guests. Try to go over this with your caterer or planner where we will be eating on the day of, in many resorts the vendor room can be a 10 minute walk away. The closer I am to the reception, the closer I am to the moments happening on your big day.

Last but not least, enjoy yourselves!

In the end remember that this day is your day with you and your new husband/wife. Even if something goes unexpectedly I want you to look great in your wedding photos and nothing is more beautiful than a happy couple.




If you're looking to have your memories artistically captured in a natural way, contact me to see if we're a good fit for each other.
T. 424.645.7293
E. howdy@CarolinesCollective.com