I want to take the best possible images on your wedding day. I will always try my best in every situation we're in. However, there are some tips that could help the outcome of your photos. It may not seem like much in the moment, but in pictures it makes a world of difference. Light is the number one priority to the photographer, so here are some tips that could help us out!
Natural light is key, try to get ready in a room with windows that let in a lot of it. Also have your makeup artist place you in front of a window for optimal pictures! It creates a clean look without any harsh shadows, and it is the most accurate representation of how you looked that day. The room you get ready in should hopefully be free of clutter, at least for a portion of the time there! Light coloured walls and tidy rooms photograph so much better than a dark basement with clothes all over the floor. Editing can only do so much!
If you want to take some of the pressure off the day and spend some time with your hunny in the morning, that's ok! It gives you more time for photos, more time with your partner, and more time to relax before all your guests arrive. You don't feel as rushed trying to fit in all your bridal party photos, plus your family photos, and the photos of just the two of you in an hour and a half window! If you do it because you want that moment to be between the two of you, then do it, it's your day and you can choose who you spend the most time with (aka your significant other, and your photographer!). There's not right or wrong way to have your wedding.
There is no right or wrong time to have a ceremony. You can have it at 3pm, or you can have it at 8pm and plan your wedding however you'd like. I will recommend that you don't have your ceremony outdoors during the hottest time of the day at high-noon in mid-summer, but it's ultimately up to you. Sweat, squinting eyes and harsh shadows aren't usually considered flattering, and your guests usually don't appreciate waiting in the heat for the ceremony to start. Also those pesky iPhones in everyones pockets usually creep out during the ceremony, even with signs being put up. I get it, everyone wants to preserve the memory, but if you're paying for a photographer, wouldn't you rather have your friends and family watching everything as it happens, and being emotionally connected to your union? There's nothing more disheartening then receiving your wedding photos and having everyone starting at a screen.
I try not to use my flash, it's not that I don't like it, but I'd prefer to capture the feeling of your day as well. If you have a candlelit set up for your first dance, and I'm using flash to capture it, it's not going to look like the first dance you remember. But this is where you can help me out, plan to have some ambient lighting, candles, string lighting, lanterns, etc. It photographs well and gives you the feeling of romance, and you avoid having to turn on whatever overhead fluorescent light is above you! I think every girl learned in high school that those lights are not your friends. Also, if you have a dark space, use that ambient light to fill it up! Or else I will have to resort to using my flash!
Sneak away at sunset for a few minutes if your timeline allows for it, you get some time to have a relaxing moment with your new spouse, plus it gives us some time to get some portraits during the best lighting of the day. You have some time to reflect on the day thus far and really enjoy it with your significant other. Golden hour is typically an hour or so before sunset, and it really creates the ideal situation for flattering photos.
All this being said, your wedding is about you. If something on a typical wedding timeline doesn't resonate with you, don't feel obligated to include it. Tradition is great until it constricts you from having that day you've dreamed about and planned together. There is no rulebook you have to follow, that's the beauty of your own wedding.