August 30, 2023
The 13 years I’ve had in the Charlottesville wedding industry have lent itself to hearing many stories. Most of them are heartfelt, beautiful tales of love and friendships. But some of them send me to my knees. It happens; some brides look at their wedding photos and feel an immense sense of disappointment. Here are some common wedding photography mistakes to avoid.
Mistake 1: Not hiring a second photographer
Weddings are expensive and all couples want to save money where they can but your photography shouldn’t be one of those things. A second photographer is well worth the extra money as they are able to capture moments from a different point of view or moments that your primary photographer might miss altogether because they are busy taking other photos.
Mistake 2: Skipping the first-look
You can save a lot of time by shooting first-look photos as sometimes ceremonies run late and you need to rush through your couple portraits in order to get to the reception on time. The first-look photos are also very special in their own way and capture the raw emotion as you see each other for the first time.
Mistake 3: Waiting until the last minute to book a photographer
The longer you wait to book a photographer, the less chance you’ll be able to secure the photographer you really want. Most photographers are booked a year in advance so it’s never too early to book.
Mistake 4: Not picking someone to help organize your guests
Sometimes getting your family and wedding party together to take a few photos can be a nightmare, and this isn’t something that you should be worrying about on the day. I encourage asking someone in your wedding party (or even your wedding planner) to be in charge of making sure that the right people are in the right place for photos on the day.
Mistake 5: Stiffly looking directly at the camera all the time
Unless your photographer tells you to look at the camera, try and act as natural as possible and enjoy your day with your loved ones and your groom as these make for the best photos. None of my couples are professional models, and I quite like it this way! I have an unobtrusive way of working with my couples so you’ll feel comfortable while I offer gentle direction and step back to let natural moments flow. You’ll never feel forced into a cheesy pose.
Mistake 6: Not having a rain backup plan
The weather can change with almost no warning sometimes, so it’s a really good idea to have a plan for it if it rains, especially if your ceremony or reception will be held outdoors. You should also be emotionally prepared for the fact that you might need to postpone your engagement portraits if the weather doesn’t clear up. If you have a wedding planner, this should already be done for you for your wedding day. (I can’t emphasize how important it is to hire a reliable wedding planner!)
Mistake 7: Failing to arrange an engagement shoot
Not only is it wonderful to capture this time as a newly engaged couple but it gives you the chance to practice and get comfortable in front of the camera. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know your photographer so that you are completely relaxed on your wedding day. And, you’ll already know what to expect!
Mistake 8: Hiring an amateur
It’s great when a family member or friend offers to take the photos at your wedding, but choosing to work with someone who isn’t a professional photographer has its setbacks. If you have a few photographers in mind, be sure to go through their portfolios to ensure that their work is up to scratch before you pay a deposit.
Insider tip: If you don’t connect with them on some kind of emotional level, don’t hire them. Your photographer is the one person who will be with you longer than your own fiancé on your wedding day. You MUST feel supported and cared for – otherwise, your experience (and probably your final images) will suffer.