Tips for Prioritizing Wedding Photography

Planning a wedding can make your life feel even more hectic than it already is! When you are already juggling a life full of work, family, and social events, adding wedding planning to your to-do list can easily make you stressed. Take a deep breath, because we are here to help! We know that wedding planning can be  overwhelming, so we put together this list to help you prioritize photography at your wedding. 

Priority #1: What Matters Most?

Consider which photos will mean the most to you in ten years, twenty years, thirty years. Who is in those photos?

Start with a list and focus on the photos that will be most meaningful later. It doesn't need to be fancy! Just jot down the top five or ten photos that come to mind. Then, think about family and friends that you'll want included in those photos. Share this "VIP" list with your photographer so they can plan ahead. You don't want to look back and realize you missed a photo with a beloved grandparent or lifelong friend.


Give guests on your "VIP list" a heads-up that they are included in your photo plans. Tell them where they'll need to be and when- i.e. stay in the church, if you're doing group photos at the altar post-ceremony. If you plan on doing group photos pre-ceremony, we suggest telling these folks to arrive a few minutes earlier than you actually need them, because someone is always inevitably late. If everyone is ready for pictures on time and in the right location, this helps your photographer get group photos done much faster. And that means you can move on to the party you spent so much time planning!

Priority #2: Telling a Story.

Great photos tell a story and transport you back to your wedding day.

When you look at your wedding photos, you'll want to see more than just posed portraits or pretty details. You'll want to see candid, unplanned photos that show real moments and interactions- things that you may have missed in the frenzy that is a wedding day. Trust your photographer to capture all those magical moments. The best photographers know how to capture photos you can't plan for at your wedding. And those are always the ones you'll be happy to have ten or twenty years from now!


Explore the area around your venues during group photos or couples portraits. You likely spent a lot of time searching for the perfect venue for your wedding day, so be sure to capture this in your wedding photos. Cities in the DMV- from Baltimore to Washington, DC to Alexandria- are steeped in history and offer so many unique backdrops to incorporate into your photos to help tell the story of your wedding day.


Priority #3: Let there be light.

Lighting can make the difference between a decent photo and an amazing photo! Be mindful of when and where you are photographing.

Photographers love to work during the "golden hour," that magical time of day when the sun is rising or setting. Those times are fleeting, but they offer beautiful, flattering light that makes everything look gorgeous. Work with your photographer when you are creating your wedding timeline and ask for their advice. As experienced wedding professionals, they know how much time they need to orchestrate group photos and when they should start portraits to get the best outdoor light. 


Rainy or overcast day? No problem! A cloudy day can offer soft, even light that is also great for portraits.


Great lighting doesn't have to be just natural light either. A skilled photographer can give you ideas for staging lighting inside your venues to create better photographs and give them that magical feeling. Portraits don’t have to be done outside, so if your venue has some great indoor spaces and backdrops, chat with your photographer about how to light them for the best portraits.

No matter the situation, ask for your photographer’s guidance and seek their recommendations for your unique venues.


Priority #4: Just say NO to selfies.

Sounds silly, right? But it’s true. You’ll get much better photos when your friends (as fun as they may be!) don’t jump in with their iPhones. These days, technology is abundant at weddings. And there’s nothing wrong with that...until Instagram interrupts an emotional moment during your ceremony. Just be sure to decide how it will affect your photos, and if it’s important to you, make plans to kindly request that guests put phones away during key moments.

You've invested a lot of time and resources into wedding planning, so when the big day finally arrives, you don't want your photos ruined by guests, even though they meant no harm. Everyone will be excited to capture your wedding day, but it could get in the way of your professional photographer, especially if guests are jumping into their frame or flashing from every direction with their phones. (It's always a shame seeing a bright blingy iPhone case sticking out during a beautiful first dance shot, or an aisle full of phones during your recessional!)

On the other hand, your guests may miss out on exciting or emotional parts of your wedding if they're constantly checking their phones and staring at screens. After all, you want photos of your guests enjoying your wedding, not photos of them holding their phones. Plus, it's more fun for guests to be fully immersed in your wedding festivities and soaking in the details you worked so hard to put together.


If you'd like your wedding to be more "unplugged," you can kindly ask guests to keep their phones in their purses or pockets by placing a note in the program, having your officiant or DJ make an announcement, or even posting a simple sign at your venue. There are tons of ideas for signs on Pinterest and Etsy that can fit every wedding style.

Our team understands how hectic wedding planning can be- that’s why we created this blog post for you! If you’d like to learn more about how to prioritize photographs at your wedding, check out our Tips to Capturing Wedding Photos you Can’t Plan For on the blog.