Wedding Tips For Beautiful Photos

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with the fabulous Michelle Girard of Michelle Girard Photography.  Michelle photographed a beautiful wedding with us over the summer and was kind enough to share a photo book with us to help our future clients envision their special day!  (Check out her photos in our wedding album!) After looking through her amazing book of work, we got to chatting and had a wonderful time sharing stories about our experiences in the wedding industry.  As we were gabbing, she mentioned a few things she’s learned about photographing weddings over the years and I felt our future couples would really appreciate hearing some of her expertise!

With years of experience behind her, Michelle has shot weddings all over New England, focusing mainly on CT and MA, and her focus on capturing the synergy and chemistry between couples is clearly executed in her work.  In doing this for clients in a variety of settings, she’s picked up on some wonderful tips that can make or break a photo and they’re things I never would have thought about!

Don’t let your table décor overshadow you and your spouse! (pun intended)

With all of the inspiration on Pinterest, Instagram, and other social platforms, the ideas and possibilities for table décor and centerpieces are truly endless.  It’s so fun to look through photos and design your theme but when we get caught up in color schemes, varying heights, sentimental pieces and so on, we can easily forget that our bridal party will not only be engaging in conversation at these tables but will also be photographed at these tables!  Tall centerpieces and floral arrangements are beautiful but they can actually make it difficult to communicate with one another and, as Michelle pointed out, depending on the lighting they can create shadows on faces, leading to undesirable photos. You don’t want to find out later that you and your spouse are literally overshadowed by your centerpieces, but don’t fret!  Michelle suggests that couples can definitely keep their tall centerpieces but might consider shorter arrangements for the head table, or to request that they are moved out of the way for photos during speeches. This way, the photographer can focus on capturing the natural love and joy between you and your spouse…and less time worrying that your centerpiece will literally come between you in photos.

Themes with Props should be timed with photos in mind.

Wedding themes with props to match the decor can be adorable and fun, so if you have an idea and a vision we encourage you to go for it! One thing Michelle does recommend considering is the timing of when props are given out. This can be key in helping ensure you have photos from before AND after those elements take over.  For example, if you have props for the dance floor, or you’re using a photo booth equipped with costume jewelry, silly glasses, feather boas, hats, or other items, these may change the “look” of your wedding during cocktail hour, toasts, or out on your dance floor. Give some thought to when and how items are incorporated into the evening so that you aren’t left with a book full of photos where you’re wearing Mardi Gras beads over your family heirloom necklace…or grandma has a feather boa on in every image that evening…or guests wearing broken plastic shades all night. (This also goes for dropping confetti, which is SO much fun but you may never realize got stuck in your hair! )  When in doubt, consult your planner, photographer, or DJ for their advice on timing so that you have an agreed upon game plan for the experience and memories you’ve dreamed of.

Avoid Makeup Transfer

Keep an eye out for makeup transferring to your partner or guests during your ceremony and reception. The best way to avoid this is to invest in quality makeup and/or a professional makeup artist.  (You can likely ask your wedding planner or photographer for recommendations if you don’t have any in mind).  Airbrushing or properly applying foundation can work like magic and can truly last all day. Unfortunately, not all makeup is created (or applied) equally and often makeup is transferred throughout the day with each congratulatory hug or smooch.  This is especially noticeable on suit jackets or dark colored clothing.  That being the case, it’s great to have some wipes on hand, think Shout or a makeup remover wipes, to give the smudge some quick attention and keep the suit from wearing the stains for the rest of the day.  Bear in mind though! Before using any wipes that may have chemicals, consult the vendor whom you bought/rented suits from to make sure the product is safe and recommended for use on the material.  Lastly, remember to blot after makeup touches as brightly colored lipstick can stain your spouse’s cheeks or lips.  It can be cute at first but you don’t want that as a common theme in your photos either!

Your emergency bridal kit can keep you Photo-Fabulous all night!

This last one is mine but one I feel I must include based on my own personal experience.  If you’ve spent as much time on Pinterest as we have, you’ve probably seen countless “emergency bridal kit” lists available.  The ones that prepare you for the unexpected and the inevitable life moments that might sneak up on your special day.  I encourage you to review a few and find the list that makes the most sense for your style and venue, but I definitely encourage you to include my person favorite- a tide stick.  My sister got married 5 years ago and had a gorgeous outdoor ceremony on a Connecticut lawn in mid-May.  The green grass made for a beautiful ceremony but when we got together for photos afterwards, she realized she had a big grass stain on the back of her dress. As a dedicated MOH, I whipped out my handy Tide Stick from my emergency bag and she was photo-ready in minutes!  Even if your wedding is taking place indoors, tide sticks are a life saver for men and women when it comes to food, dirt, or makeup stains so make sure someone in your bridal party has one on hand!  On a similar note, I’ve also read that dryer sheets can be used to deter bugs and fight static!  Tucking them into your dress, suit pocket, or belt will help keep pesky bugs away so you can focus on the ceremony rather than swatting them away! Honestly, I don’t know how people figure this stuff out but I’m so thankful these tips are out there!

Keep the energy alive!

Michelle has some incredible photos of guests dancing at her client’s wedding receptions and over the years, she’s compiled some insightful tips for how to keep the energy up and the feet moving! From the right DJ to a strategic itinerary, she has outlined some outstanding advice for keeping the dance floor alive and the party going for the camera all night long. Read her full blog on this here.

The important thing to remember is that, even if things go differently than you planned, your wedding day is going to be the best day of your life – because it’s the day you’re committing to being with your partner forever.  That being said, it always helps to be prepared!  Remember that your vendors can be a HUGE resource when it comes to planning logistics and their experience and expertise can help keep everything running smoothly.   Don’t be afraid to ask their thoughts and coordinate logistics with each of them to make sure your vision really comes to life!

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