Ok so you’ve spent hours trawling the internet, you’ve found a photographer whose work you like. Gone through the process of meeting them, booking them and are happy with your choice. But, you want to know what you can do to ensure you get the best wedding photos that you can, right? Here’s my guide to getting the most of your wedding photographer.

Don't give them a shot list

I’m starting off with a “don’t” simply because I see it suggested quite often in wedding groups on facebook. While it might be handy for someone just starting out, there’s a huge problem of giving your photographer a list of every shot you want on the day.

And that is that your wedding photographer ends up so busy chasing the list of shots, that they focus on that and miss everything else that’s going on throughout the day. The real moments get lost while the day becomes a box-ticking exercise for the photographer.

The only exception to this, is the formal family shots that you want, that does need to be prepared in advance and if there are any family heirlooms you might want specifically captured, that the photographer would otherwise not know about.

To get the most out of your wedding photographer, you need to give them the freedom to work in the way that they usually do.

Keep the number of group shots to a minimum

Group photos are an important part of the day, but you don’t want to be spending too much time standing around having them taken. You’re not getting the most out of your wedding photographer if they’re just arranging groups of people rather than capturing moments and telling the story of your day.

I always suggest keeping the number of groups to under 10 if possible, and, rather than have the photographer round people up. Enlist the help of a friend or relative, who knows who everyone is already. It makes it go much smoother, and you can spend more time enjoying your day, not standing in a line for photos.

Trust them

Sometimes we might stand you somewhere, or ask you to walk somewhere, that makes no sense. It might not look like the most attractive spot that we could be taking pictures at. But there will be a reason, either the light, an object that will be used to frame you or if using flash, something more creative.

How the scene looks to the eye, may be very different to the vision in the photographers head. So if they ask you to do walk somewhere or they say “I have no idea if this will work, but let’s just try…”

Then if you want to get the best out of your wedding photographer, trust them.

Consider the light

My view on photographing the weddings, is that I’m just the photographer, I’m just there to capture the day, not dictate things and it’s not a photoshoot where I can ask for a certain amount of time.

But, if you want those lovely portrait shots in the evening during golden hour, or a shot with a beautiful sunset in the background then not only do you have to keep your fingers crossed for the weather. But you also need to consider the light when planning your timings.

If it’s a winter wedding and it’s dark at 4pm, then you’re going to need to make sure there’s not something uninterruptable at 3pm. If it’s the height of summer, you need to make sure you’ve booked your photographer to stay late enough to capture it.

If you’re eating dessert, I’m happy to come and drag you out, but if someone is mid-speech at that time then there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Let your photographer know of any surprises

This goes for best-men and anyone doing a speech too! If there’s something unusual going to happen, then we want to be able to capture it. I missed a best-man doing a backflip mid-speech because I was shooting guests reactions and I didn’t know anything about it.

If something is over in the blink of an eye, and you know it’s planned, then letting us know means we can ensure we’re in the right place at the right time.

Relax

I know, it’s hard to do, it’s your wedding day, everyone is looking at you, and there’s someone pointing a camera at you. But if you can relax, and this is why it’s important to book a photographer you can have a laugh with, then this will come across in your images.

The more fun you can have on the day, the more you’ll get out of your wedding photos.

If anyone else has their own tips, I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!