This is a re-post from over a year ago, but I am publishing it again to renew my commitment to my ‘How-To Have Incredible Wedding Photos’ Series.  I hope you enjoy, and will feel free to email or comment with any questions or suggestions for future posts!

The importance of wedding photography has reached new heights in recent years.  With the explosion in popularity of sites like Style Me Pretty, WedLuxe, The Wedding Co., and others, couples have a plethora of resources for wedding inspiration.

As a wedding photographer, I have benefited so much from these sites.  My couples are motivated to achieve incredible images on their weddings days.  They are inspired by the gorgeous light of Southern California.  They are in love with the outdoor ceremony and reception under the stars.  They are planning hard to make sure that every detail of the day is thought of, and executed to perfection.

As much as wedding websites make my job more and more beautiful every single wedding day, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating these stunning events.  Over the next month or two, I will be posting a few of my thoughts on how to help your photographer make the best possible images for you.  I want to help to ensure that the ‘look’ you have worked so hard to achieve is consistent and well-executed from the first image of the morning to the closing image of the evening.

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Prep on the Morning-Of ::

The ‘Prep’ time of day is one of my personal favourites to photograph.

The nerves are palpable.  The coffee is strong, and the energy is high.

Prep can be fabulous or so-so depending on a variety of factors.  To make sure your prep is magazine-worthy, consider the following ::

a)  Have you stayed in the hotel room the night before? If so, arrange with the front desk the night before to have housekeeping come to the room early in the morning to make the bed and expedite any room service items.  I often arrive at hotel rooms and spend a good 15 minutes bringing half-eaten trays of food into the hallways, and making beds.  I sure don’t mind tidying up for you, but I suspect that you’d prefer that I take pictures instead!

b) Light!  Light!  Light! If you are prepping at a hotel, ask the front desk for a spacious south- or east-facing room with lots of windows.  If you are having your hair and make up done on-location, ask your artist to work on you near a window (they will likely do this anyways, but you never know!).  If you are prepping at your venue, ask ahead of time whether there are windows in the room.  Many venues in the GTA provide a ‘bridal suite’, but they are window-less.  In order to achieve the dreamy and warm tones you see on your favourite wedding inspiration website, we are going to need some light.  Don’t be shy to ask your on-site coordinator if there is a better-lit area for you to get ready.  (Palais Royale couples, this one’s for you!)  A little foresight in this area will pay off – I promise!

c)  Are you getting ready at home? If so, employ your best ladies and gents to come over a day or two before to help you clean – even if it’s just the main room.  If this feels like too much of an imposition, ask for a professional cleaning service as a wedding shower gift, and use it the day before the wedding.  Open the blinds and let the sun shine in!  I know it’s been a crazy couple of weeks leading up to the wedding, so use a spare room as a collection area for all of your miscellaneous items.  Clear the space for you (and me).  Get ready in the biggest and brightest room available.  You will be more relaxed if you have more room to move, and your photographs will be airy & bright.

d)  I love your bridesmaids. They’re hilarious and helpful.  But they’re messy.  Have ‘em store their exploding suitcases in a closet, or in the darkest room in the house (because we probably won’t shoot there).  If you are prepping in a hotel room, have them store their suitcases away in the closet.  The last thing most couples want is their best friend’s bra hanging from a lampshade in the background of their prep photos.  (Yes, this has happened.)

e)  Plan ahead and communicate. Who will have the rings the morning-of?  Tuck your shoes, something old/blue/new, trinkets, wedding invitation, and anything else that is important to you in a space that is easy to locate.  As soon as your photographer arrives, we can grab these items and start making magic.  (Rather than going on a scavenger hunt for your left shoe!)

f) Groom Prep?  If you’re marrying a fella who is ‘meh’ about having his prep photographed, consider booking him in for a straight shave at a classic barber shop in your area.  If you’re in Toronto, consider Truefitt and Hill, Crows Nest Barber Shop, or Garrison’s on Queen West.  This is a great way for the guys to fill their morning with photogenic moments, and you’ll enjoy a smooth face on him all day long.

g)  Trust us. You have hired an amazing wedding photographer (I hope!).  You have planned and prepared as much as you can.  You have communicated your needs, dreams, and desires for the day-of.  There are no secrets between us.  Now is the time to relax, enjoy, and let your wedding photographer do his or her thing.  Forget we are there.  Have a blast with your friends and family while you get ready for one of the biggest days of your life!P.S.  Any and all of these suggestions are not meant to suggest sterility.  In fact, every photographer loves and craves individuality and quirkiness in all aspects of a wedding day.  Be unique!  Be yourself!  Just be smart about it.

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Coming next in the ‘How-To’ Series ::

The Reveal

The Ceremony

Portraits

Family Photos

The Reception

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Tara