Planning & Pre-Wedding
Think about REVERSING your wedding. Weird, right? NO, it’s not! It’s awesome. Walk down the aisle, hook up with your betrothed and FACE THE AUDIENCE. Let the officiant’s back be toward your guest – not yours! I see this happen a lot at destination weddings out on the beach…it’s beautiful. And it’s a great photo…the couple looking at all their guest.
Again, planning and practicing will help with the photos! Practicing the ring ceremony is a huge one – I will describe how to do it below. And yes, practice the kiss as well… (that’s the fun part)
Pre-wedding / getting ready photos is mostly candids and pretty simple… You can always do a champagne toast with your bride’s maids or grasp hands in a circle and do a small prayer. This is also the time to get all the detail shots of the rings, garter, etc… Your photographer is gonna have a style and a list in their mind of what they normally capture. Not much you can do here to help the photographer, except be on time, that is always helpful. J
Here’s where you can really make a difference.
The officiant is my first step. I try and pull them aside before the wedding and give them some photo advice. Some officiants have been doing this wedding thing for years, some for a few weeks. Some will be open to your ideas and helpful, and some think they know everything (Ugh).
If the officiant is going to be holding the rings, especially up, so the audience can see them, I ask him/her to hold the band to the side of their head. That way I can get a photo of the ring in between their fingers, but NOT with their face in the background.
Steeping to the side is a huge one. Again, asking the officiant to step to the side on the ring ceremony and the kiss makes for a MUCH better photo. If the officiant is on a step above the bridal couple and they do the ring ceremony – his crotch is most assuredly the background. Having him take a step to one side makes a HUGE difference, and it’s the same for the kiss… If he/she stays in the center – then yes, they look like a creeper watching the couple kiss. Again, a simple couple of steps to the side and the photo will be so much better!
The ring ceremony is actually REALLY tricky and there is a lot going on. Do it one way – and it will look great, the camera and your guest will love it – do it the other way, and and no one will see anything. And yes, this is why you practice.
The groom’s hand is easy, it is already facing the photographer and your guest. All he has to do is lift it and angle the BACK of his hand slightly toward the guest. The bride needs to hold the ring between her fingers and slip the ring on him, HER PALM should be UP. So she is putting the ring on from underneath – this lets the guest see the ring go on. To the camera, it gets his finger, the ring, and the tips of her fingers.
The bride’s hand is a little more tricky, since it is on the back side, it has to be lifted up and the back should be turned slightly toward the guest. The groom does the same as the bride…slip the ring on her finger from below – his palm should be up. Everyone gets to see the ring go on.
GLITCH! Sometimes during a wedding, especially at high altitude, hands like to swell. If the ring doesn’t want to go past the knuckle, leave it, and let the other person deal with it. It’s not pretty watching you try and cram a ring on a finger that is swollen.
The unity candle ceremony or ANY ceremony for that fact…water, sand, oil, tree, dirt, washing the feet, jumping the broom, and whatever else floats your boat, should be done FACING your guest. SO when you setup the table for the candles…make sure you have room to step behind it, turn to your guest and the camera, and light the candles. People want to see your beautiful faces, not your hair (or bald head in my case).
And why do we practice kissing – SO WE DON’T DUCK LIP IT! WOW, have I seen some good ones… People leaning in and trying to make their lips reach 6 inches is just not pretty! Trust me. Practice kissing – hold the kiss for a few seconds…no pecks. And don’t crush each other…a flattened nose isn’t much prettier than duck lips. A nice dance dip and kiss is always gorgeous.
Definitely a couple of things here that can increase the photo quality of your reception, they are very simple and very effective.
The toast is a beautiful ceremony during the reception. Sadly, it’s not really much of a photo op. a few people giving a speech. SO, before the best man and MOH give their toast – I tell them the most important part of the toast –HAVE EVERYONE raise their glass to the bride and groom. THIS is the photo op for the toast. And not just right before you drink. Have the guest raise their glass, say a few lines to give the photographer a chance to photograph the guest, the speaker and the couple with glasses raised.
The cake cut is pretty straight forward…photos of you and your new partner cutting a cake. What I like to do is after you cut the cake…bring you from around the table and position you, so your guest can see you feed it to each other. I have the couple take a small amount in their hands – I avoid using dishes or silverware for this. Count down and feed…snapping pictures as I count.
When it’s time to throw the bouquet – I have the DJ do a FAKE count down so I can get the Bride throwing the bouquet without actually THROWING the bouquet. Then, on the second and REAL countdown, I get photos of the girls lunging and tackling each other for the flowers.
The garter is done the same way… However, and this is a biggie. When it comes time to remove the garter form the bride’s leg, I love using the best man as a chair. He is a better photo op than any piece of furniture. If he is capable, I drop him on his hands and knees in the middle of the dance floor and have the bride sit on his back. And I always tell the groom NO HANDS when getting the garter. J This makes for a great photo… Sometimes I will have the bridal party stand behind the couple for a better background and a lot of times you have to tell the best man chair to keep his head up. LOL
That about covers my tips and tricks for making a wedding more optimized for photos. Simple stuff that will make a huge difference in the photos and memories.