A photographer's tips

By Bride and Groom 16 June 2016

Shepparton photographer Leticia Lopes has lots of experience behind the lens at weddings. Bride and Groom asked her to share tips on how couples can help their photographer capture the best images possible.

Do your research 
Visit, or “stalk”, all wedding photographer websites. Whose photos do you like best? Make a shortlist and then organise a time to meet your favourite photographers. 

Meet with a photographer face to face 
It’s a good idea to meet your photographer before making a booking. You want to make sure you “click” with the photographer. You are going to spend a lot of time with them on one of the most important days of your life. If you have a particular idea, feel free to discuss it with your photographer. Just bear in mind that if you are getting married in winter, no photographer will be able to recreate those summer photos you’ve pinned on your Pinterest board. 

Consider your wedding location 
Lighting! I say this to clients a lot! Sometimes a location is beautiful, but if it has bad lighting the photos won’t look good. If you’re booking a church, make sure you’re allowed to take pictures inside and check if there are any other restrictions. Some churches don’t allow flash photography, so please ask the church so you can let your photographer know. 

Time is of the essence 
To organise the timeline for your wedding day, ask your hairdresser and make-up artist an estimated time for their work. Then add at least another 30 minutes extra — just to be sure. 

Family portraits 
I always recommend taking pictures of family or groups (parents, grandparents or friends) immediately after the ceremony. I recommend making a pre-made list of all family photo combinations that need to be taken to speed-up the process and to make sure no-one is missing. As a rule of thumb, I usually allow five minutes per group. 

Creative portraits 
These are the photographs you will want to frame, give to friends and use as thankyou cards. Be sure to allow at least 40 minutes to an hour — the more time you give to these photographs, the better the results will be. It’s important to remember these portraits require a little patience and sometimes an adventurous spirit. If possible, it would be great if the photographer could get in the car with the bride and groom before the ceremony, after the ceremony, or on the way to the reception. This way, the photographer can capture some of the most intimate moments. 

Dance the night away 
Some couples can be a bit shy when it comes to the first dance. I know it can be daunting when everyone is watching — but it shouldn’t be. Enjoy the moment. Stare into each other’s eye and give your husband a hug. If you nervously shuffle around or talk all the way through it then your first dance photos will not be the best they can be.

Surprise, surprise! 
Planning a special surprise during the speeches? A performer? Fireworks? Please let the photographer know so they can be prepared when the moment comes. 

Keep it simple 
Let your wedding day be as simple as it can be. Do not let yourself be influenced by unforeseen events because they will happen. Keep an open mind and be ready for changes. 

Relax 
Relax and enjoy your day. Remember to smile and have a great time and you will have beautiful photographs. 

Unplug” or “device-free” 
Are your guests there to take photos or to be part of a beautiful day and enjoy the love between the people getting married? With the digital age, everyone owns a camera or at least a smart phone that takes photos. I find guests are often watching a wedding through their device’s screen instead of enjoying the moment and giving the professional photographer room to capture the images the couple are paying for. There is a growing trend for ‘unplugged’ weddings where a sign is placed at the door asking guests to turn off their phones, relax and enjoy the day while the photographer captures the ceremony and formal photos. If couples are uncomfortable with asking people to stay ‘device-free’, you may like to have your celebrant advice guests at the start of the ceremony to respect the photographer’s working space. This will avoid guests getting in the way when the bride is walking down the aisle or the couple is exchanging vows. People will often jump in the middle of the aisle to photograph the bride and the professional photographer can completely miss a beautiful shot because the back of someone’s head is all they can see. Too many times I have had to run down the aisle and ask people to move. 

After the ceremony 
Normally family and friends that aren’t in the photos stay to either side of the professional photographer snapping. But it gets very confusing to the people being photographed because they don’t know where to look, so photographers can end up with lots of photos with people looking at different cameras. A wedding day is very rushed and guests might be making our job harder and taking precious photography time from the couple. 

Let the photographer do what they do best 
Another thing that happens a lot is guests suggesting photos and poses to the photographer. I have my style of photography; the couple hired me because they like it. I am polite and try to make the suggestion happen, but I could have missed an important moment while trying to create a photo that will most likely be deleted.

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