7 Essential Tips for Great Wedding Pictures

7 Essential Tips for Great Wedding Pictures

When planning a wedding, it’s important to plan for the wedding pictures as well. Wedding pictures are how you will cherish the memories of the big day, so you’ll want to follow some of the tips below to ensure they turn out great. Here are 7 essential tips to ensure you have great wedding pictures:

Hire An Experienced Day of Wedding Coordinator

wedding coordinators at a wedding

Left: Owner of Uniq Engaging Events; Right: Assigned Event Coordinator at The Grand Atrium in Arlington, VA.

Even if you don’t have a full-service wedding planner, a day-of-wedding coordinator is important to help organize everyone when photos are being taken. As excited as some people will be to see you, those who will not be taking photos can be a distraction during the process and cause confusion between which lens to look a and makes it difficult for your photographer to get the perfect shot. A wedding coordinator also helps in gathering all of the important people around. Every minute spent waiting or organizing people will take time away from the bride and groom portraits. Your wedding coordinator will also be the one to take the worries of the day away from you. You should be focused on what’s most important, and keeping a positive attitude instead of operating the day.

Instead of hiring a wedding coordinator, you might think that you can enlist the help of a family member or close friend. I strongly advise against doing that because this is not professional help. When you are paying someone to do something, they are more likely to take the tasks assigned more seriously than a family member. Aside from that, you should allow your family members to enjoy themselves. Who will be the one to coordinate and get people out of they way when they are in the photos?

Have an Emergency Kit

wedding day emergency kit

As much as we hope this doesn’t happen, it is possible that on the day of your wedding, your dress won’t fit the way it did during the fitting. Have an emergency kit that includes a thread and needle, bleach stick, sticky pads, etc will ensure that nothing falls out of place in photos and you are prepared for any eventuality. You should be able to focus on looking fabulous instead of adjusting your wedding dress or bowtie.

Have Flat Shoes Ready To Wear

wedding day shoe options

Those 6″ strappy stilettos that you purchased are oh so beautiful but hurt oh so bad. If your dress is long enough, having a pair of sandals is essential to get through the wedding photoshoot pain-free. If there are photos where your feet need to be shown, you can easily swap back to the heels. The best option of all is to have shoes that are comfortable to walk in.

Have A Makeup Essentials Pack for Touch-Ups


If your timeline has your wedding portraits scheduled during the reception or you cried during your wedding ceremony, having powder, eyeliner, or lipstick nearby is a must. For my wedding, my makeup artist gave me a tube of lipstick to use throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential makeup artist if they include any freebies for the wedding day.

Have A Hair Kit for Touch-Ups


For the same reasons that you need makeup, you also need travel size hair essentials. If you’re getting married during the hot humid months your hairstyle may have the tendency to fall out of place. Not all brides will use spritz in their hair but if you have a looser hairstyle, ensure that you have tools to maintain your hairstyle.

Rent Out A Photoesque Wedding Venue


Notice how no matter what angle I took a photograph from during the ceremony the background scenery was photo-friendly. This becomes very important when making a photo album layout for you.


Weddings held in nature usually make for a nice surrounding. Just ahead of Tamika & Aaron’s wedding ceremony was a beautiful garden where we could take formal portraits. We did not have to go off-site to find a place to take photos which helped save time on the wedding day timeline.

Having your wedding at a venue that is visually appealing to the eye ensures that no matter what angle photos are taken at, the overall scene will make for the perfect backdrop. If you are going to have your wedding at a venue with little pizazz, look into having pipes and drapes or decor that will not be a distracting element in the pictures. In addition to this, make sure that you have a venue that can comfortably accommodate all of your guests. It is better to have bigger venue so that people can move around comfortably. In having an unobtrusive photographer, it’s important that the room is sizable for them to move around in. Without that, it can make for missed moments. The same can be said for the shape of the venue. You want to be able to have a clear distinction as to where people can and should be during social segments. This helps your photographer capture as many people as possible because everyone is in the same vicinity. If people are scattered in corners of the room, your photographer will less likely photograph them for fear of intruding in on a private conversation.

The last note to add is that you should select a wedding venue that matches the theme or of your wedding. Even if you do not have a theme, your wedding venue should match casualness or opulence of what you plan to wear. The photos will come out a lot better if everything is cohesive and in sync.


If you love other elements of your wedding venue but it does not have a photoesque area to take photos, think about having a go-to- location for photos. Instead of allocating one hour towards photos you may now need 1.5 to 2 hours to account for travel time.

Maximize the Time to Capture the Style of Photography You Like Best

I ask all of my clients to allocate at least 1 hour to couple portraits and family photos. You want to ensure that your photos do not have to be rushed. Unless you allocate enough time for formalized photos, the majority of the photos you receive will be candid in nature. When searching for a photographer, if you find yourself veering more towards photos where the expressions of people are natural, then you just might love the photojournalistic aspect of photography.   If that is what you like, having more candid than traditional posed portraits in the final photos you receive should not be an issue.

traditional wedding portraits

Think about having a first look, or taking family portraits before the ceremony starts. That will cut down on the time it takes for photos after the ceremony.

traditional wedding portraits

The photojournalistic style of photography is often marked by the photographer having no influence nor any manipulation of the event but only documenting what was naturally occurring. Advantages: natural looking photographs, low stress, real memories of real moments instead of contrived ones, and the photography happens around your event timetable rather than as an interruption of it. Disadvantages: unpredictability, you won’t know beforehand what your favorite photo will be or even what will be taken, you may not ‘look your best’ in every photo.


The reception is where more candid photos can be captured. It’s the time when people are more social and less likely to pay attention to the photographer. If you segment out more time for dancing, then you will increase the quantity of these photos. Of course your guest must also be willing to be action oriented.

On the flipside, if you want more formalized portraits than hiring a traditional portrait wedding photographer is your best option. Traditional wedding photography can be recognized as formal photos where people are posed and looking toward the camera. It is characterized by lots of direction, involvement and control from the photographer. It has a lot of pre-planned ideas and ‘magazine style’ posed images as well as artificially set-up ‘romantic’ portraits. It’s all a derivative of  studio-type photography and can be obtrusive during social segments of the day because the photographer has to ask people, “Can I take a photo of you?” Today any photography that requires setup and direction, (planned time for photos) stems from the traditional. Advantages: predictable & repeatable results (i.e. cookie cutter) pre-planned, easy to execute. Disadvantages: time-consuming, uncomfortable posing, imposition on event timeline, can be fake looking and not real.


This is an example of more posed and traditional portraits. If you like this style, be ready to allocate a significant amount of time for photos because it cannot be rushed for satisfying results.

Before hiring your photographer, it’s really important to have an understanding between the styles of photography that exist because it will impact the body of work provided to you by your photographer. If your key family members have a different style preference in photos, you might want to consider providing a segment throughout your special day for them to get the style of photography that they want. Or you can just decide that your wedding day will be about what YOU want.

I offer a mix between the two, but I lean more towards the photojournalistic style of things and prefer to focus on candid moments in life.