Your big day is coming up. You’ve been preparing for what seems like (or very well could be) years. You’ve spent countless hours deciding on a date, a venue, a wedding dress, a caterer, whether or not to invite that one cousin, among many other things.
And most importantly, you want to make sure you get the perfect pictures of your special day.
We’ve asked Susannah, a professional wedding photographer based out of Tucson, Arizona, to give her thoughts on how to make sure your wedding pictures come out perfect.
Here are 10 questions we asked followed by her answers as a wedding photographer.
1. What are the different wedding photography “styles” and which one is best?
There are lots of different styles of wedding photography both in the style of shooting and the style of editing! I think the most common ones are traditional posed and photojournalistic. Traditional are the photos that you would have seen from your grandparents weddings were every image is carefully put together and posed. Photojournalistic is where the photographer is more of a fly on the wall! I personally mix the two styles! I think that makes it so you have the best of both worlds! Take the cake cutting for instance. I start with the posed style and take a photograph of the bride and groom smiling and looking at me! Then I transition into photojournalistic and capture the moments as they happen! Once that meant the bride catching the cake slice in her hand!
2. How much time should we allow for taking photos after the ceremony?
This is a great question! And it depends on if you do a first look or not! A first look allows you to spend time with your future husband before the ceremony and get bridal party portraits and family portraits done first! Then after the ceremony you only need 15-30 minutes for some romantic husband and wife portraits! If you don’t do a first look you will need time for bridal party portraits (30-45minutes), family portraits (30-45 minutes), and husband and wife portraits (30-45 minutes). To see an example timeline and learn more about first looks you can check out these guides!
3. What parts of the wedding are the most important to capture?
That will depend entirely on the bride and groom! I personally think the ceremony is the most important part of a wedding day! This is why your family and friends have gathered around you! The ceremony is such a beautiful moment, and a surprisingly intimate one even with 200 guests. When I got married the only other person in the world was my soon-to-be-husband. So during the ceremony I make sure to capture photos of the hugs when the bride is escorted up, the parents and guests, and the first steps as husband and wife. These are memories that are so special because the bride and groom may have missed seeing them and will definitely want to remember their smiles!
4. What’s your favorite part to photograph and why?
It’s funny because my favorite part of a wedding day to photograph isn’t actually what I consider the most important part of the day! My favorite part to photograph are the first dances. I cry 99% of the time during this moment. Those dances are just filled with so much love, joy, and transition, and it makes me realize how truly blessed I am to be invited to capture that emotion.
5. What’s your biggest challenge as a wedding photographer?
When the timeline gets behind is for sure the biggest challenge! I want my couples to have the most wonderful stress-free wedding day experience, but when the hair and makeup takes longer than is scheduled then everything else gets behind. Unfortunately, there is only so much time during a wedding day, so if one thing runs late it affects all the other parts of the day. So that’s also one of my biggest pieces of advice to my couples for a stress-free wedding: make sure your hair and makeup is done on time (or better yet a half hour before you think it should be you can always do touch ups!).
6. What’s a wedding day “secret” or “hidden gem” you’ve come across?
Oh my goodness, this sounds like such a simple answer but communication! It is everything. Communicate with your vendors. Communicate with your future spouse. Communicate with your bridal party. It is way better to over-communicate than to have people wondering.
7. When it comes to photographing the wedding, what are some things that some couples don’t think about?
To hire a videographer! It might seem odd that I’m saying hire a videographer when I’m a photographer, but I think it’s so important! My husband and I watch our wedding film all the time. It takes us back to that moment in a really emotional way. Don’t get me wrong, our wedding album is our first heirloom and we cherish it, but having the video is so precious to us too.
8. What is the ONE SHOT we have to get during our wedding?
A photo of you and your spouse smiling at the camera. Seriously. I know it seems obvious, but our world is full of trends and sometimes that traditional portrait can be overlooked. Trends come and go, but a classic portrait is timeless. Take one.
9. If you could share one piece of advice, what would you share?
Don’t stress about your wedding being “picture perfect!” With Instagram, Pinterest, and countless wedding magazines showcasing the most beautiful weddings it is easy to compare. Don’t. The wedding will come and go in a matter of hours, but your marriage needs to stand the test of time. And starting that marriage, no matter what it looks like, is why you’re doing this in the first place! Continue to make time for one another, even with all that needs to get done both in wedding planning and in marriage.
10. Describe one of your favorite wedding photos you’ve taken. Why is it a favorite?
My favorite wedding photo I’ve ever taken actually wasn’t of the bride and groom. It’s from my sister’s wedding, and it’s of my grandparents. They were sitting on a bench waiting for family portraits to start, and I just took one of the two of them together. I think this one is my favorite because sometimes we can forget to appreciate the in between moments, and the things that happen while we are waiting. It reminds me to find beauty in every moment instead of just the obvious moments.
There are many more questions you can and will think about as your wedding day approaches. Your photographer should be more than happy to answer and discuss all of these questions with you and your partner. A good wedding photographer will put your mind at ease so you can focus on preparing the rest of the day while they capture the memories!
Answers courtesy of Susannah Lynn.
“I’m Susannah a natural light photographer, dreamer, and believer. I’m based in Tucson, Arizona, and I love to travel. Grab a cup, pour yourself some tea, and let’s get cozy. The first thing you should know about me is that I mean it, when I call you friend. I genuinely care about you. Yes, YOU, that I may never have met. I want to get to know your story, and I hope you’ll take some time to learn more about mine.”